Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Athens "fiasco"

I have to admit I can think of no good reason why the Irish government should spend a single penny to boost the Irish Olympic team. Are people really that desperate to hear the national anthem at the Olympic Games?

Apparently Athens was a "fiasco" and required that the government pay €16,000 to analyze and report back on what could be done differently next time.
Agenda Consulting surveyed the opinions of athletes, coaches and organisations, such as the Irish Sports Council and Olympic Council of Ireland.

In its 13 recommendations, the report calls for more funding for coaches and athletes and talent scouting of young athletes with the potential to be future stars.

While work is already well under way for the Olympics in Beijing in 2008, Ms Keaveney said the sporting authorities need to be looking ahead to London in seven years. London will be a "cataclysmic factor" in Irish international sport, she said.
The report concluded that we (the taxpayers) need to spend more money on Olympic athletes. Why? What return is there to the nation for this investment?

The head of the Dail Committee looking into this "fiasco" said that
[a]fter the scandals of Athens and Atlanta, the main hope for future Olympic performances was that Irish athletes would not only be successful but tarnish-free, Ms Keaveney said. The important factor was not the number of medals won.

"Given that the last two Olympic Games were remembered for gold medals that became no gold medals, we would like to see is athletes performing to the best of their ability without any scandal. A clean Olympics, simple as that," she added.
Well, duh, if all you want is a clean Olympics the best way to guarantee that is to (a) remove all state funding for athletes – there'll be fewer Irish athletes competing and, therefore, fewer potential positive tests and (b) remove the tax breaks available to top athletes – these are furthering the incentive for athletes to cheat. It is better for the state not to be involved so that when a medal-winning athlete tests positive the state is not responsible for having encouraged the cheating.