Socialist Worker

Buying Olympic gold medals

Issue No. 2115

The bosses’ Financial Times newspaper is very clear that “Team GB’s” success in the Chinese Olympics shows “you can, literally, buy gold metals”. Britain’s Chinese haul of medals has come in what the paper terms “elite sports”.

Britain has trebled its funding for the Beijing games, spending £235 million. Rowing, swimming, cycling and sailing each got over £20 million. The National Lottery has been providing much of the funding for these four disciplines. The Treasury will now fund them with £100 million a year ahead of the London 2012 games.

Sports funding has already been siphoned away from community schemes to fund the Olympics. Olympics minister Tessa Jowell has declared, “The big challenge is to be ruthless in funding success and not funding failure. Sport at that level is ruthless.”

Now athletics, archery, shooting, judo and others are seen as earning diminishing returns and can expect to have funding cut. So much for sports for all.

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What We Think
Tue 19 Aug 2008, 18:36 BST
Issue No. 2115
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