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massive schools olympics

June 29, 2010

The sports Secretary Jeremy Hunt and the Education Secretary Michael Gove announced a new national Olympic and Paralympic ‘style’ sports event for schools. The plans at the moment seem a bit vague.  Schools will initially compete in regional leagues from which the best athletes and teams will be selected to compete in national finals. I guess this is so that if you’re a great cyclist in a school that’s bad at cycling, you will still get to go to the finals. I know that when I was 11 at the peak of my swimming career, this would have been the most exciting thing ever, but I can appreciate that such competitions tend to emphasise one kind of perfection at the expense of others. Hope there are ways for people who are good at other things to somehow be involved. There will be a more detailed announcement from the DCMS later in the year.

As it happens there is little evidence that staging the Olympics increases sporting participation. We made this point in this collection of essays I co-edited in 2004, which coincidentally contained a recommendation for an Olympic-style national sports competition in schools.

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