Select few can show us all how to win
Like millions of Scots, I have been delighted by the success of Team GB’s athletes at the London Olympics.
However, I was less surprised by the recent comment of Lord Moynihan, chairman of the British Olympic Association, that he felt it “wholly unacceptable” that half of Team GB’s gold medallists in Beijing four years ago were privately educated.
So far at London 2012, 32 per cent of Team GB’s medals have been won by privately educated athletes.
London 2012’s mantra has been to “inspire a generation”. Private (independent) schools have been doing this for years.
The Scottish state education system’s attitude to sport seems to be in turmoil, turning full circle, back to basics yet again. It was not long ago that many Scottish state schools banned all competitive sport.
Only 4 per cent of Scotland’s school pupils are independently educated. So far, a staggering 13 per cent of Team GB’s medals are from Scottish athletes (yes, Sir Chis Hoy was privately educated).
Is it not about time the Scottish Government’s educational gurus learned from the opportunity and excellence in competitive sports in Scotland’s private schools?
Gone are the days of waddling 50-something sports coaches reliving their youth. Private schools now employ professional coaches who have been at the very top of their game.
At Loretto School, there is a former England and Warwickshire and Scotland high-performance cricket coach, a PGA golf coach and Scotland’s number one hockey coach and former South African rugby player, among others, on the coaching staff.
This creates an environment in which educational excellence extends beyond the classroom onto the playing fields, in the shooting range, the gymnasium and martial arts hall three or four times a week.
Let us drop this “‘exclusive” and “privileged” idea of a private education. Like many Scottish private schools, Loretto prides itself on the inclusive nature of the education offered.
Sports scholarships, supported by means-tested bursaries (providing financial assistance where it is most needed) ensure as many children as possible are able to be inspired and introduced to new sports, thus creating a culture of achievement for future Scottish Olympians.
Director of external affairs
Musselburgh, East Lothian
Is the proposition of the ranks of Unionists featuring in your letters page that if team GB were not doing well at the Olympics we would not be better together?
This is desperate stuff but it is in line with the barrage of infantile Unionist political argument, much of which merits no response.
I have yet to hear an compelling case made for the maintenance of the Union. Its supporters would be far better served if they focused their minds on providing arguments that stood up to intelligent scrutiny.
In the absence of these, I look forward to 2016 and Team Alba, led perhaps by a piper or two, marching out, between Saudi Arabia and Senegal, into the Olympic arena in Rio de Janeiro. What a welcome awaits us from the rest of the world.
Dave McEwan Hill
Bruce D Skivington (Letters, 7 August) remarks rather disparagingly on Andy Murray’s reserve after winning “two excellent medals”.
That was normal British behaviour up until the time when our press whipped up the “Diana hysteria” in order to sell newspapers to an increasingly gullible public.
Looking at the state that the country has sunk to since that time, I think that Andy Murray’s quiet reserve makes him a role model that should be enthusiastically emulated.
So, the SNP and its pro-separation members do not think it is right to make political capital from sporting achievements in the Olympics. I wonder why.
Probably because they will make every bit of political capital they can from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.
Thus I took great delight in seeing Sir Chris Hoy lead out the UK team while proudly waving the Union flag and even more so to see the photograph on your front page (6 August) of Andy Murray wearing a Saltire-style tracksuit while wrapped in a Union Flag.
The latter, particularly, to my mind strengthens the view of the current significant majority of Scots that although we are rightly proud of our Scottish achievements, with the other countries of the United Kingdom, we are “better together”.
Braid Farm Road
As A former athlete, and a mother of three sons, each of whom has represented Scotland, I have been struck in recent days by the one thing that unites all the athletes competing in the Olympics, whatever country they are from. If they are lucky enough still to have mothers, those women will be the proudest people alive.
South Learmonth Gardens
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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