Job search
Job Search

Have your say

Have you got a view on the state of the sports sector? A topic you want to discuss? An opinion on an article featured in Sports Management? Write to us at: sm@leisuremedia.com

Published in Sports Management Sep Oct 2017 issue 133
Read on turning pages | Download PDF of this issue

Obsession with medals has become unhealthy

David Pond,

Chief Executive,

Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby


UK Sport tells the industry that we need more Olympic and Paralympic medals because this inspires the nation to take part in sport and exercise. The data on this is far from conclusive. The 2016 Sport England Active Lives Survey shows that rates of weekly sports participation in England have fallen since 2012. This is particularly true for ethnic minorities, disadvantaged socioeconomic groups and people with disabilities.

The question of how to inspire individuals to regularly take part in physical activity is too complex an issue to be solved simply by achieving 67 medals (GB’s Olympic medal tally 2016) rather than 65 (2012). Different people are inspired by different things. While medals may inspire some, others will instead be inspired by human stories of struggle and triumph.

Inspiring stories
Stuart Robinson was on patrol in Afghanistan when his vehicle hit a landmine and he was blown into the air, losing his legs and suffering other life-changing injuries. His journey took him from battlefield operating theatre to GB wheelchair rugby squad.

Chris Ryan, a top junior professional golfer, broke his neck in a car accident and instantly saw his golfing career disappear. A quadriplegic, he is now the captain of the GB wheelchair rugby team.

These stories are the torches that ignite our humanity, and are not constrained by wealth, race, colour, age, gender or sexual orientation, and yet UK Sport has declined to fund such sports on the basis they have less medal potential than other sports.

Redefining winning
UK Sport CEO Liz Nicholl says “we know what it costs to win” – but cost is about more than just money and winning is about more than just medals. There is a human cost to disabled athletes who receive, on average, £400 per month in benefits to live, who find it near impossible to get a job and who, without support, struggle with day-to-day living, let alone with trying to be an elite athlete. For these people, simply being able to compete is a win, and this in itself is inspiring.

It’s natural that as a nation we should want to be successful. But the obsession with medal tally has, at best, become unhealthy and, at worst, ugly. In a time when we should be increasingly wary of widening the socio-economic divide, many of the sports that received the most funding for Tokyo – such as sailing (£26m), equestrian (£15.3m) and rowing (£32.1m) – are not sports that are accessible to the average British citizen.

We need to take a hard look at our priorities as a nation, and decide whether it’s the overall medal tally that inspires people, or the stories and personal triumphs that are showcased across a wide variety of sports.

Stories of human struggle and triumph can be more inspiring than medals / © Lynne Cameron/PA Archive/PA Images
Stories of human struggle and triumph can be more inspiring than medals/ © Lynne Cameron/PA Archive/PA Images
Sign up for FREE ezines & magazines
Sports jobs
Everyone Active
featured job

Swimming Teachers

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive hourly rate
Job location: Nationwide, United Kingdom

Sales Prospector

énergie fitness
Salary: Competitive
Location: Leeds, UK

Fitness Instructor

énergie fitness
Salary: Negotiable
Location: Leeds, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard) FTC

GLL
Salary: Up to £17,806 per annum
Location: Cambridge, UK

Apprentice Recreation Assistant

GLL
Salary: Up to £21,284 per annum
Location: Leyton, London, UK

Chief Executive Officer

Lincolnshire County Football Association
Salary: Generous salary & benefits package
Location: Lincolnshire, UK

Catering Assistant

GLL
Salary: Up to £7.96 per hour
Location: Rugby, Warwickshire, UK

Recreation Assistant

GLL
Salary: Up to £16,187 per annum
Location: Swindon, UK

Duty Manager

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, UK

Team Leader

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive salary
Location: Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, UK
recruiting with sports management

Casual Recruitment Day

Circadian Leisure Trust
Salary: £5.90-£7.83 dependent on role
Location: Bradley Stoke, Bristol, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £10.20 per hour
Location: Hayes, UK

Recreation Assistant - Hayes

GLL
Salary: Up to £10.20 per hour
Location: Hayes, UK

Regional Grounds Manager

Mytime Active
Salary: £35000 - £40000 per annum
Location: Kent, England, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Competitive Salary & Benefits
Location: Tadworth, UK

Team Leader

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive salary
Location: North Wembley, Wembley, UK

Multi Site Golf Operations Manager

Mytime Active
Salary: £25000 - £28000 per annum
Location: Kent, England, UK
recruiting with sports management

Apprentice Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £ 21.284 per annum
Location: Shoreditch, London, UK

Senior Recreation Assistant

GLL
Salary: Up to £18,471 per annum
Location: Cambridge, UK

Recreation Assistants

Parkwood Leisure
Salary: £7.10-£8.10 per hour
Location: Bristol, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £17,806 per annum
Location: Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

Leisure Assistant

Circadian Leisure Trust
Salary: £7.90- £8.45 per hour
Location: Kingswood, Bristol, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £17,806 per annum
Location: Chorlton, Manchester

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £21,284 per annum
Location: Wimbledon, South West London
training with sports management

General Assistant (Leisure)

GLL
Salary: Up to £7.96 per hour
Location: Swindon, Wiltshire

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £10.20 per hour
Location: Ealing, West London

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £21,284 per annum
Location: Ealing, West London

Apprentice Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £21,284 per annum
Location: Kentish Town, North West London

Duty Manager

Legacy Leisure
Salary: 18,000.00
Location: Cowbridge, UK

Assistant General Manager

The Gym Group
Salary: up to £20,000
Location: Stoke-on-Trent, UK

General Manager

The Gym Group
Salary: £competitive + Significant bonus
Location: Tottenham, London, United Kingdom
lifeguard jobs  swimming teacher jobs  apprenticeships jobs  recreation assistant jobs  Gymnastics Coach jobs  Gymnastics Coaches - Max Whitlock Programme jobs  Swimming Instructor jobs  duty manager jobs  Head of HR jobs  Leisure Assistant jobs  Manager on Duty jobs  General Assistant jobs  Centre Manager jobs  Regional HR Manager jobs  Brand and Campaign Marketing Manager jobs 
More jobs

Video Gallery

Myzone
Tracking your workout effort just became effortless.
Visit website
More videos

Company profile

Company profile: Charles Lawrence
Charles Lawrence Surfaces has been at the forefront of the artificial sports surfacing industry since 1975, making it one of the most respected and long established names within the sector.
View full profile >
More company profiles

Featured Supplier

Sport and Recreation Alliance set to launch child activity campaign
The 2018 Sport Summit, in association with Howden,will mark the official launch of the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s public facing work around children and young people.
View full details >
More featured suppliers

Property & Tenders

Location: White Rocks, Hastings
Company: GVA
Location:
Company: Gravesham Borough Council
More properties & tenders

Diary dates

28 Aug - 01 Sep 2018
tbc, Sao Paulo, Brazil
22-23 Sep 2018
Worldwide,
24-27 Sep 2018
Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, Carlsbad, United States
29-30 Sep 2018
SEC Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom
More diary dates