Team GB chief says winter sports not elitist

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  • Team GB chief says winter sports not elitist
  • Premier Icon aracer

    I may be a step ahead of most, as I’ve actually competed rather than just participated in XC skiing (I’ve also skied with Posy Musgrave, and possibly with some of the other Olymians when they were kids – but that just emphasises how small the sport is in this country!) When I was a kid I also took part in grass roots level ski race training at the local dry slope – I’d suggest there weren’t too many working class kids at that, though neither was it full of posh kids and we weren’t exactly that well off.


    What’s wrong with elitism?

    Without it we’d have no champions. It encourages excellence. The drive not to come second should be encouraged. We’re a soft nation of ‘well done for trying’ rubbish. Yay, British athlete came 17th, which improved on their previous performance of 32nd, or similar. Wow, well done.

    Premier Icon Digby

    To my mind, I think there is a difference between ‘Elitism’ and being an ‘Elite Athlete’ for example …

    The former being a belief that a select group are intrinsically of a higher prestige, value or worth than other people (and often to the detriment or exclusion of others) and the latter being someone who has performed or competed [successfully?] at a high level.


    I think in this case it means you need to have money to participate and therefore it doe snot get a cross section of society participating at grass roots level [ what a wonderful metaphor to use with snow sport]

    Whether you want to get as excited by competition as glasgowdan is another debate entirely- I have never heard it described as the drive to not come second rather than the desire to win


    We spend millions on football. We rule the world at it…don’t we?

    Premier Icon thetallpaul

    I specifically chose Sheffield as my preferred University town because of the SSV.
    There was a total cross section of ages/abilities/class present on the freestyle nights. As the article above says, it made those sports much more accessible.
    I swear some of those kids wore anti-gravity boots. Can remember jumping a Lada on the Snake one day. Happy days.

    I was on the original snowboard lessons in approx 1990 (even ended up on the promo material for lessons), and I think it was a great place to learn. Not such a good place to crash though 😥
    The Moritz Pass (IIRC) gave unlimited free skiing/riding for about £30 per month.
    Moved away just before the Millenium and still miss being able to go for a quick blast.

    Used to live just around the corner from the ice rink too, and had many a Wednesday night bombing round. Usually helped by a half time bottle of dog.

    All sport at the top level is by definition elitist. Only a very small number of participants and a tiny population of the population can be involved at that level. What’s the story?

    Should limited funding be given to those who work hardest and who are most likely to succeed? Would you give a Stradivarius to a beginner violinist or to an accomplished player?

    I am waiting for grass skiing to make a comeback. Used to do it at Troutbeck in the lakes as a kid? also had to be elitist as only nut cases could put up with the pain!!!!

    Premier Icon MSP

    Should limited funding be given to those who work hardest and who are most likely to succeed? Would you give a Stradivarius to a beginner violinist or to an accomplished player?

    How about instead of buying 1 really expensive violin for 1 person you spend that money giving thousands of beginners lessons so that a few dozen of them can become accomplished players.

    Success is only partly about hard work, it is also about opportunity


    I recently read that for the participants of the Olympics the ratio of public school to state school education is 1:6

    Premier Icon simon_g

    The funding from UK Sport for Olympic cycles is there to elevate British prospects from also-ran to medal contention, partly to fund excellent coaching and support teams and also ensure the athletes get the time and facilities to train unencumbered by financial pressures.

    Without it, the competitors need to be self-funded, which usually means people getting generous support from their families to fund many years of training without needing to work for a living. Hence a much higher barrier to entry if you don’t have rich parents.

    The grass-roots stuff to nurture younger people who show interest is from separate funds entirely. I believe UK Sport’s annual income from the lottery (70%) and government (30%) is about £340m a year, much of which is spent on that stuff. The winter olympic spend was £13.5m, over 4 years.


    I’m working class, and I raced DH and Super G for a good few years.

    I left the UK when I left school and went to live in the mountains.

    I did whatever jobs I needed to so I could stay and keep racing.

    Never made the grade for the ‘lympics though sadly, wasn’t because of a lack of money or privilege though.

    Premier Icon scotroutes

    If Jamaica can have a bobsleigh team then adverse climate isn’t always a showstopper.

    Premier Icon Northwind

    Emma Carrick-Anderson started out at Hillend didn’t she? That’s where I started skiing too, school trips from a frankly slightly skanky school in the middle of a council estate.


    We had trips to ssv once every half term with school (about 40 miles away). Used to drive back via Northern General normally 🙂

    Premier Icon bruk

    Growing up in Dundee I learnt to ski at Glenshee/Aviemore. Swapped to snowboarding once I started to abroadfor holidays. My dad still curls at 73 years competitively and I have had a few goes at it. My sister used to ice skate competitively too.

    It is easier if you have facilities close by but we probably travelled more for my Judo when I was. Kid as we would go to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and even down to England for competitions.

    I think it is always about people’s perceptions. Some people think skiing etc is for rich people. I think snowboarding helped to introduce more people to snow sports and the job of the Lottery funding is to open up the avenues or more people to try these sports and then cherry pick the ones that show real talent and push them to excel.

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