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An Olympic Struggle

Training to win

By Simon CurtisPublished about a year ago 3 min read
An Olympic Struggle
Photo by Matt Lee on Unsplash

The IOC have announced that from 2036 all competitors at the Summer Olympic Games will have to reach athletic standards. Regardless of discipline everyone will have to prove they are an ‘Olympian’ by running and swimming 1500 m. There will not be a time limit but all must demonstrate this before being allowed to compete.

This has sent the BOA committee into emergency action planning and of the strategies proposed the most favoured is going to lead to huge changes in how training for Olympic events will be delivered and supported. The new plans will mean that every member of Team GB will not only have to be able to run the 1500 m, they will have to do so within a time limit of 6 minutes. Similarly the time limit set for the 1500m freestyle swim is a difficult 17 minutes. To ensure the best outcomes there are drastic restructuring plans in store which will change the face of UK sport.

In order to reach these targets all potential competitors will be expected to give 30% of their training time to running and a further 30% to swimming. This has thrown a new challenge to the already stretched coaching community as it is estimated that in order to facilitate this an additional 4000 coaches in each area will be required and they just don’t exist.

Speaking to an anonymous source the scale of the change is staggering.

“Can you imagine a young hammer thrower being told that instead of training to throw the hammer 60% of their training is going to be running, for heavens sake this applies to the equestrians and bowlers. There are great Olympians who just aren’t built for these disciplines. I can’t imagine they will persevere.”

Fears of the death of many popular sports as events Team GB can realistically provide Olympic competitors for are great. If these plans move forward it could end the ambitions of many potential heroes and see the halcyon days at the top of the medal table gone.

This is of course absolutely untrue and only an utterly perverse mind would contemplate such a ludicrous idea. In fact the outrage this would cause would see it overturned within seconds of the proposals being made public. The problem is, this is exactly how our education system is set up and nobody bats an eyelid.

Every child is expected to achieve levels of Maths and English way beyond those that are necessary for a successful life. In order to reach these levels they are committed to over half their school time to hit unnecessary targets that are beyond many of their natural capabilities. It is unsurprising that many lose motivation and give up on their broader ambitions as they are forced to focus on something they don’t really see any benefit from.

Imagine the crack shot air pistol star told they can’t go to the range until they’ve done four laps of the track and completed 10 lengths of the pool. There would be undoubtedly a little resistance and dissent. Are we surprised behaviour is becoming more challenging in the classroom.

How can you ever wish to have a well functioning economy when you exclude huge amounts of the potential workforce? Change is long overdue but will not happen without a brave Education Secretary. To date there has not been one.

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