Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Couple of Olympics Bits and Pieces

Wow New Zealand! In terms of medals sorted via head per capita, New Zealand comes 3rd. 15th over all. This humble little country at the bottom of the world can be horribly proud of itself. Brilliant.

India, holding the world's second biggest population, ranked 55th with no gold medals, 2 silvers and 4 bronzes. What makes the difference? Funding.

Peter Miskimmin, Chief Executive of SPARC (Sport and Recreation New Zealand) and CEO of High Performance Sports New Zealand, has been on the news more than once talking about funding. It turns out that the government increased funding from $40,000,0000 to $60,000,000 per year for high performance sports from 2010. A lot of this funding went into swimming - an area where we've only ever won 7 medals - the last one being in 1992.

And apparently there are complaints about a funding freeze.

Let's put this into perspective.

The National government attempted to cut costs by cutting funding for technology teachers - something that would result in bigger class sizes (just to be really unambiguous, most classrooms are only really built for 25 students comfortably - 30 feels crowded) - something that would have been felt mostly in Intermediate schools.

In an effort to stem the National debt, National have made the incredibly unpopular decision to sell off state assets (higher electricity prices anyone? I have to point out the fact that they were horribly honest about the fact that this is what they'd be doing during the election).

Pacific Fibre, a company that would have provided important infrastructure, some much needed redundancy in communication channels to the rest of the world and competition, failed citing a lack of investment.

Christchurch suffered earthquakes in 2011 and 2012. The fundraising efforts left the country feeling a little skint and other charities missing out. There are still some very disgruntled people about asking about things we take for granted - like plumbing.

I don't know about anyone else, but I would quite gladly exchange a couple of gold medal moments for the welfare of people in Christchurch.

I had a bit of a laugh this morning when I caught Valerie Adam's coach being interviewed on "3 News: First Line". He wanted to talk about the time difference first. I have Uncles in Canada who do the same thing. Before you talk about anything else you have to talk about the time difference and the difference in weather. But then you could sense the puff piece going oh so very wrong. He pointed out that, while Valerie getting the gold was great, a drug scandal really isn't a good thing for the sport. I laughed loudly when I saw the presenter, Rachel Smalley, panic. Her headline puff piece could go off the rails into something a lot more serious! And then what would she do?!

Oh and the crap tonight! "Everyone suspected the Belarusian of being too masculine". "There was already suspicion of drug use". Let's face it. It's scary woman throwing iron balls about. They're all pretty masculine. Since when was the news about making rubbish up? Very.... little old woman gossiping if you ask me ... but you didn't hear that from me.

I've got to say that I was a little disappointed with some of the attitudes of some of the athletes.

My big Olympic moment of all time is when Hamish Carter and Bevan Docherty won the triathlon in 2004. Actually - it wasn't them coming over the line that made it the Olympic moment of all time. It was the guy who came in 3rd - Sven Riederer from Sweden. He jumped around, waved a Swedish flag about, got himself into any and every photo that he could, and was just so incredibly pleased with himself that I couldn't help but feel ... humbled by him.

So all in all, a great Olympics. But there is a reality to deal with...

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