Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Olympian thoughts

Last week I heard three Olympians speaking at different events. George Weedon was a gymnast who took part in 1948 in London. Sharron Davies, the swimmer, competed in Olympics over three decades and Jo Pavey, a runner, who has been to three Olympic Games and hopes to compete in 2012.

Most of the talk was about the differences between then and now. Today the training and medical facilities, the physical and mental coaching and the numbers of elite athletes have changed completely since the last time the Games were held in London.

Nowadays sport is viewed as entertainment and many elite athletes are paid via the lottery to allow them to train full time. Athletes are interviewed by the media and some are household names. Until the 1990s UK athletes wanted to be the best in Britain. Today they want to be the best in the world.

What doesn't change is the need to train every day. To be able to overcome injuries and disappointments. To be willing to re-train and take part in another discipline as rules are altered by the sporting bodies or the IOC.

I can only admire their dedication and the sacrifices that they make as young people. Nor was it surprising to hear that neither woman is pushing their children to become elite athletes. They know how hard it is.

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