Posted: 28/08/2016 at 11:10
Firstly, I apologise to everyone for dragging this on but, Phillipa, yes your comment about funding did annoy me a little.
I have been fortunate to have two professions. A consulting engineer, for which I was paid for my services and before that, a professional sportsman, for which I was also paid for my services. The funding for my sport career was generated by people paying to watch and be entertained. No-one ever paid to watch me work as an engineer because it's not entertainment. Does that mean that the people paying through the turnstiles are hypocrites? Does that mean the same people are not entitled to their opinion regarding the use of public spending?
In 1996 our Olympic team managed only one gold medal. This was because the majority of our Olympic team were still operating on a more or less amateur basis but competing against professionals. This sparked the lottery funding of our young men and women and since then we have steadily improved our standing as a nation in the world of sport. We always had the talent but without the necessary facilities and the ability to train full time we would never have seen these young men and women reach their potential.
It's very difficult to quantify the benefit of a successful Olympic team, in monetary terms, but you only have to read all the posts on this thread to see how much pleasure and well being it brings.
As someone who had the great honour to represent his country I would never want to go back to the dark days and see the achievements of our young men and women diminish because of a lack of funding.