Posts Tagged ‘Olympic Games’

Never Take the Dream out of the Child

March 3, 2014

ellis cashmore

It doesn’t matter how far fetched a child’s dreams may be, or how much it seems to distract them from their schoolwork, their dreams are vital to their growth and development.

A child’s dream is indicative of where their passions lie, and too many of us suppress our passions in favor of the socially acceptable and mundane. Not every child can become a pop star or gold medalist, but there is nothing wrong with aspiring to be either.

When I was a teenager I wished to be involved with movie making. I didn’t have to be the star or the director, I would have settled being the personal assistant to the editor.

Fast forward to adulthood and I may not be in the movie industry as such, but my desire to make it in movies was particularly helpful and instructive. It made me aware that what I really wanted was to make a difference. Just like the movies I watched as a child made a difference to me, I wanted to find a career that would allow me to inspire others.

That’s why I am completely at odds with the academic that spoke against allowing children to dream big:

Focusing on sporting success is a waste of time because ‘very, very few children’ are going to make it, an academic has said.

Ellis Cashmore, a professor of culture, media and sport at Staffordshire University, says there is little proof that the Olympic Games create any kind of meaningful sporting legacy.

And he believes it is high time parents realised children are more likely to make the finals of shows like The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent than become sporting heroes of any sort.

‘We shouldn’t be trying to channel all of our energy into this pursuit of excellence in sports when very, very few children are going to succeed at any kind of level at all,’ he said.

‘My answer to parents who tell me their child might become a leading footballer or athlete is that they are putting them at risk of serious injury or closer to the world of performance-enhancing drugs.

‘I ask them: “Are you happy about that?” and they say: “It won’t happen to my child”.

‘To which I reply: “But it goes with the territory”. The cheats are very often those at the top.

Ellis Cashmore says there is little proof that the Olympic Games create any kind of meaningful sporting legacy

‘Do we want to churn out one-dimensional characters who leave no stone unturned in pursuit of excellence?’


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Token Gestures Devalue Women

July 23, 2012

She may claim to have been joking, but here ‘joke’ clearly had a serious overtone. When volleyballer Natalie Cook claimed she would protest if a woman wasn’t given the honour of being the Olympic Games flag bearer, she was trying to influence a decision that should never be made on gender lines.

Australian beach volleyballer Natalie Cook says she won’t take part in the opening ceremony of the London Games unless a woman is chosen the carry the flag.

The 37 year-old says its about time a female was named as our flag bearer and is prepared to stage a protest if another man is selected as the flag bearer.

If a female is chosen to be flag bearer, Cook’s comments have the potential to devalue that athlete’s achievements. It could be seen as a decision made out of political correctness rather than merit. That wouldn’t be fair to the athlete.

If a male is chosen, they would have to face unnecessary guilt at depriving a woman from getting the honour. This too would be completely unfair.

Token gestures are disrespectful. Australia’s female athletes are exceptional. Should one of them be given the honour of holding our flag, they shouldn’t have the honour diminished by a feeling that it was bestowed due to political correctness rather than merit.

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Who Would Want This Athlete Representing Their Country?

July 3, 2012

27-year-old athlete Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad from France had just won gold in the European Championship’s 3000 metre steeplechase in Helsinki on Sunday. Guess what he did next?

a. Congratulate his opponents

b. Acknowledge the crowd.

c. Burst into tears of joy.

d. Walk over to the 14-year old championship mascot, smack a gift bag out of her hands and push her.

I’m afraid that if you answered a, b or c you are incorrect. It probably wouldn’t surprise you that it’s not the first time he has picked on a mascot.

Disgraceful behaviour! I hate to think how he would have acted had he lost the race.

I wouldn’t want him competing for my country.

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