With the Olympics 2012 over for nearly 2 weeks Ireland has settled back to normal very quickly. I wonder has the euphoria totally dissipated. It is expected that those with a casual interest in sport will settle down very quickly and move on to the next event. But what are the lasting implications of Ireland’s participation?
Do we as a country have to decide what level we wish to participate in the Olympics at?
If it is possible to decide on that then we can decide on what funding is needed to achieve our aims because the Olympics has taught us if we needed to be taught that success requires investment.
The British cycling team are to be admired for setting out their stall, committing to the plan and bringing home the medals. None of this could be done without the massive funding they got. Still their achievements are magnificent.
The Irish Boxers success is a tribute to the clubs that organise boxing, train youngsters and bring them to national standard. The next step requires serious funding for the high performance team. We have all enjoyed their fantastic success and hope that the money can be found to continue it.
OK money is tight and it is worthwhile spending money on high performance in sport. The evidence of increased participation in sport and the trickle down effect is poor. What can’t be quantified is the feel good effect in the general population and the national pride generated by success.
The country needs to continue to invest in top level sport. This needs to be targeted to sports where we have a realistic chance of success and sports with some general appeal.
Sports organisations and individuals can tap in to the feel good factor by offering something to companies in the way of sponsorship deals. This is something that has a lot more to offer. Sports people need to be innovative in seeking sponsorship from small businesses that now may look favourably on small, niche deals. The private sector can and is willing to help high performance sport in Ireland.