Sean Ingle has a delightful article in the Australian Guardian online today.
In it he discusses Norway’s performance at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
The sentence that struck me forcefully was:
They stress the importance of the umbilical link between grassroots and elite sport … local sports clubs are a core part of their success. (My emphasis)
Elsewhere in the article:
Before you are 12 you should have fun with sport. … we are very focused on getting children into our 11,000 local sports clubs. And we have 93% of children and young people regularly playing sport in these organisations.
Norway’s sports federation has an annual budget of £13.7m for summer and winter sports. To put that into context, UK Sport has a budget of £137.5m a year to fund elite Olympic sport, of which £8m is ploughed into winter sports.
it is also not uncommon for … top athletes paying poorer ones to come along to training camps.
we believe … that success should be from working hard and being together.
I think these are very powerful messages at a time when Australian Olympic sport has an identity problem in policy and governance.
We must address the umbilical links in our sport system. I am not proposing a Norwegian model but believe that many share some of the messages in Sean’s article.
We will flourish as a connected sport system in which we care for everyone. We can do this ethically, without lottery funding … and extensive use of asthma medication.