Thursday, August 2, 2012

Warning ... Olympics rant approaching!

I love sport as much as the next guy - especially when my country wins. (And now I have two countries so the chances of that happening are increased).

But, isn't it time that we had a rational debate about sports funding in Australia. I mean, the figures seem a bit out of whack don't they. We have one of the largest teams at the games (from a pretty small country), the government funding that the athletes get would make any state school principal or overseas aid coordinator green with envy and our results aren't that great.

But even if we were winning a whole bag of gold medals, would it still justify the ridiculous amount of money that gets spent on elite sport? I think not.

There are those who say that success at the elite level encourages grass roots participation and therefore public health - but I think that is a myth that as been debunked. If you want to increase grass root participation, put the money into grass roots sport. Come to think of it, if you want to increase education and "smarts" in the community, put the money into schools and universities.

While we're on it - how come I have a HECS debt that I have to pay off, while someone who goes to the AIS doesn't? (and I reckon they have a better chance of endorsing shampoo or nutritional supplements that I do!)

I wonder if a sensible debate about sports funding can be held in Australia with out the "this will cost gold medals" argument dominating the headlines. I guess my response to that is "Ok - maybe it will, but does that matter?"

Rant ends. (apologies)

1 comment:

Rob Woof said...

No need to apologise, Pete. We see the grassroots funding disparity coming home to roost for the NRL. The AFL ploughs huge amounts into grassroots development, and they are now reaping the rewards in interest and participation at the higher levels. NRL has spent much less at the grassroots level, and is watching AFL "take over" grounds in traditional league heartlands because of lack of participation in league.

Build the base of the pyramid, and the tip will rise higher.