Dominance in certain Olympic Sports

While we hear a lot about the GB strength in Rowing and dominance in Track Cycling, we seem to be winning medals, including Golds, across a fair selection of events.

We are all used to seeing the combined Medal Tables, with China and USA way out in front. Obviously, the US has dominated in the Pool, where there always seems to be a plethora of medals available (do they ever have events taken out of the Olympics??).

Have just stripped out the swimming medals, to see what the "remainder" of sports would look like as a Medal Table (aware, we could do this to our detriment with Track Cycling), and makes interesting reading:

Full Medal Table

China G 31 S 19 B 14 Total 64
USA G 29 S 15 B 19 Total 63
GB&NI G 18 S 11 B 11 Total 40

Table without Swimming

China G 26 S 17 B 11 Total 54
USA G 13 S 8 B 6 Total 30
GB&NI G 18 S 10 B 9 Total 37

Conclusions? Should GB be putting in better coaching/support structure to our swimmers, with some 42 events = 126 medal opportunities? What can the swimming world learn from cycling, rowing, sailing etc.?

Big pat on the back to our GB Team for a superb effort to date (including the swimmers who reached finals in many events). Fully aware above figures are as at this morning (Tuesday 7th) and still a lot of medals for all countries to aim at, and no doubt the US Team will win many more.
 

asterix

Comrade Member
Location
Limoges or York
As I understand it, we have very few Olympic sized pools in the UK. Whilst it's all very well practising in a 25 m pool, it's not the same IMO. We have a 50 yard pool in York built the century before last, but the rest are half-size.
 
asterix, I hear that comment a lot, and understood that to be the case too (my son was a County swimmer in his teens). However, I now believe there are some 32 long course (50m) pools in the UK with a further 8 being built or re-furbished. However, I don't know to what standard these are.

I'm pretty sure that's several times more than there are Velodromes?
 

Arsen Gere

Über Member
Location
North East, UK
There is a huge college swimming programme in America, lots of coaches, college fees paid for as incentives. IMHO what we have in track cycling is a good management structure, focused coaching and training, regular all year round events, with talent spotting programmes.

We've just got a very nice 50m pool in Sunderland really nice place, but for anyone wanting to get in to swimming you need to join the club or go somewhere else. The place is inaccessable to joe public at weekends due to Sunderland football club being at home, rock concerts and galas. The life guards will chuck you out of slow lanes if you go too fast, but let fat folks float up and down in the fast lanes. I have no problem with overweight people using the pool, its a great way for them to have a support while exercising. But it ruins their day if you splash them.
If you join the club at about £25 per month you have to pay for public sessions too. If you pay a monthly subscription of about £32 you can swim for free but don't get access to the swim clubs. It needs a bit of joined up thinking.
 

mangaman

Guest
While we hear a lot about the GB strength in Rowing and dominance in Track Cycling, we seem to be winning medals, including Golds, across a fair selection of events.

We are all used to seeing the combined Medal Tables, with China and USA way out in front. Obviously, the US has dominated in the Pool, where there always seems to be a plethora of medals available (do they ever have events taken out of the Olympics??).

Have just stripped out the swimming medals, to see what the "remainder" of sports would look like as a Medal Table (aware, we could do this to our detriment with Track Cycling), and makes interesting reading:

Full Medal Table

China G 31 S 19 B 14 Total 64
USA G 29 S 15 B 19 Total 63
GB&NI G 18 S 11 B 11 Total 40

Table without Swimming

China G 26 S 17 B 11 Total 54
USA G 13 S 8 B 6 Total 30
GB&NI G 18 S 10 B 9 Total 37

Conclusions? Should GB be putting in better coaching/support structure to our swimmers, with some 42 events = 126 medal opportunities? What can the swimming world learn from cycling, rowing, sailing etc.?

Big pat on the back to our GB Team for a superb effort to date (including the swimmers who reached finals in many events). Fully aware above figures are as at this morning (Tuesday 7th) and still a lot of medals for all countries to aim at, and no doubt the US Team will win many more.
Effectively what we've done is concentrated our resources on areas with lots of medals which we can realistically win - ie cycling - much to the chagrin of the rest of the world, especially the French.

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/...-gb-cyclists-hiding-magic-wheels-8014735.html

Hilarious given Grégory Baugé's relaxed attitude to missing drug tests.

The whole thing comes down to money and "legacy".

1) Do we want to spend a load of public money on sport?
2) If so, do we concentrate on a few elite areas
3) Do we spread it more widely on facilities and coaches for children and the general public

I would argue we should spend money on sport for health and wellbeing reasons - sport and exercise being one of the cornerstones of a happy and healthy life.

I don't think we should use the Olympic medal table as a means of prioritising funding though.

We should get more people doing more sport generally, especially in state schools and employ more coaches
 

Smokin Joe

Legendary Member
To be fair to the swimmers, outside of the Olympics the sport is about as low profile as it gets. Cyclists have many other goals to aim at, both on the track and in particular the road. The games are all and everything to swimmers, the only time the media or the public ever take even the slightest interest.
 

Archie_tect

De Skieven Architek... aka Penfold + Horace
Location
Northumberland
I worked with a civil engineer who was an amateur swimming coach- he coached the teenage girl who was a medal hopeful at the Australian Olympics driving to Middlesbrough from Newcastle at 4.30am for training 5.30-7.30 most mornings, then back after work from 6 -7.30pm most evenings and then went with the team to competitions at week-ends.... he got his expenses.

He went out with the British Olympic Swimming Team. While he was there he was approached by an Australian coach to take a full time coaching job with really good salary, car and benefits.... he took it and has never looked back. Even with that level of dedication is it any wonder they can't do it for long as amateurs?
 
Absolutely Archie_tect. I know myself, from some 10 years of getting my boy to morning, evening and weekend training plus events, the dedication of parents in swimming is huge, and the dedication of unpaid or very poorly remunerated coaching is superb.

mangaman, good points. I wasn't arguing for medal tables to be used as a means of prioritisng sports funding, it's simply that I know the incredible effort put in by young swimmers around the country and the dedication of their support and coaching staff. The system just does not seem to repay that effort with turning the top girls and boys into the future medal winners of the future, as we have seen in other sports. Does such a change necessarily mean a vast expenditure, or could a careful analysis of what can be learnt from other countries and other UK sports, allow that groundswell of talent at a young age (that is there most early mornings and evenings, swimming their hearts out) be guided and nurtured? This should not, of course, stop funding into general sport, totally agree.
 
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