The Lesson Of Rio

It is always nice to get a bonus which you have done nothing to earn and Mrs May is entitled to feel pleased at the boost to national confidence given by Britain’s astonishing haul of medals in the Olympics. It is true that, even when buttressed by 23 silver and 17 bronze, 27 gold medals is not going to re-establish the country’s reserves of precious metals, but they represent an extraordinary achievement. After all, go back twenty years to the 1996 games at Atlanta, the nadir of British achievement, and there was only a single gold out of a total of 15. Lots of things have improved since then. The lottery has put funding on a surer footing; there are incomparably better facilities; and a much more professional approach, but there is a bigger picture than that. British sport was in a disreputable state, something had to be done and by the combined efforts and initiative of many people it duly was done, not just in Olympic sport but in rugby and cricket as well. British sport was brought from its culture of amateurism to something altogether more up to date.

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