Monday, August 13, 2012

The Home Of Sport

I've been a long term subscriber and fan of The New Yorker magazine. It has great writers, funny cartoons, great observations on what's happening in New York, and an eclectic view of the world.

In the middle of Olympic fever last week, I was intrigued to read that 26 sports were played in London with medals awarded in 302 events. To my amazement, The New Yorker went on to inform me that the majority of those medals were given in sports that originated, in their modern form, in the UK. Archery, Athletics, Boxing, Badminton, Field Hockey, Soccer, Rowing, Sailing, Swimming, Water Polo, Table Tennis and Tennis were all born in the UK. As, of course, was Rugby, my own passion, which is scheduled to become an Olympic sport again in 2016. No other country comes close. Three Olympic sports originated in the US (Basketball, Volleyball, Triathlon) and two (Handball, Gymnastics) originated in Germany. And for once, Britain did not live up to its reputation of inventing the sport and then losing leadership in it at these Olympics. Their athletes and their development programs did them proud, and as I write this, the UK were #3 in the medal table behind the US and China and level with Russia.

It's been a great Olympiad; brilliantly organized, brilliantly executed and full of outstanding performances. In what I now realize must be the true home of sport.



Mark Tanner said...

A great games indeed Kevin. I believe of as much importance as the sports, is what it did for the British brand/soft power globally. Between weddings, jubilees and now games, it has been a good run for Britain. Here's hoping they can retain the momentum.

Not to downplay the UK's contribution to sport, I think it is a bit of a stretch to claim boxing, even in it's modern form, originated in Britain. It is thought the Abyssinians were scrapping with their fists 6,000 years ago, from where it spread through North Africa and to the countries around the Med. The Greeks were boxing competitively in the Olympics as early as 688BC and it is thought the Ancient Romans introduced the ring. Although the Brits added a few rules, which they often do, I think boxing's founding credit lies further east

Lysanne Currie said...

So true and the effect the Games had on London was incredible - transformational. It's been a bit of a folorn place without the shiny athletes wandering around but the vibe lingers though and it's been a far busier week business wise than usual mid August. People seem to have a new sense of defiance and determination to rise above the recession. Long may it last!

chrisMsimon said...

Amazing. Thought majority originated in Greece. While the Beijing opening was spectacular, I thought London opening was unique. Crazy two weeks.