Looking at the medal table and working down, China, the US, Great Britain, France, Russia and Italy are all three times or more our size in terms of population. So they don’t represent useful comparisons. Even South Korea is twice our size. But there is clearly one stand out example of a country we can learn from. With 6 gold and about two-thirds of our population, Kazakhstan is clearly the country we can learn from for gold medal success.
Now, using Kazakhstan as our model, clearly John Coates is simply barking up the wrong tree. For Kazakhstani-style ‘gold medal’ success we want fewer kids having access to sporting facilities. None of that indoor stadium stuff either – make the little kids freeze in the snow while practicing. And do not promote sport or physical education. Details are here.
More seriously, there are three points here:
- It denigrates our sportsmen and women to downplay their amazing success because they do not get ‘enough’ gold medals;
- The soul searching from our ‘failure’ will result in numerous claims, like John Coates’ statement, that are unsubstantiated by any evidence; and
- I have seen such ‘failures’ before. They will result in a mass of lobbying and rent seeking by sporting groups post-olympics. So taxpayers beware – you are about to have your wallets and purses raided by sporting lobbyists who will want to spend your money to support ‘olympic glory’ – by backing their own pet projects.