You did good.
Despite Boris Johnson acting the clown, despite David Cameron trying extract PR benefits from the reflected glory (all PMs do this, but Dave did it spectacularly badly), despite the seemingly nonsensical assertions of the Tory far right that kids don’t do competitive sports in schools, despite the 69% cuts in school funding that has resulted in a 60% reduction in school sport hours and despite free school swimming being axed by the government.
Make no mistake, you did all this for GB, for yourselves and from your own efforts. But let’s not forget that in 1996 in Atlanta, Team GB came 36th in the medal table. Then miraculously they came fourth in Beijing and latterly third in London 2012. This is a tremendous revival in the fortunes of our nations athletes and it is all down to the organisation, application and sheer grit and hard work of the athletes and sports organisers. So how did this happen?
In 1997, when Labour took office about a quarter of all school children did two hours of sport, by time Labour left office this had risen to 90%. More than this, Labour invested £600 million in UK sport. As the increasingly statesmanlike Ed Miliband said this “did not happen by chance”. It was planned. He didn’t claim credit for it, but left us to draw our own conclusions.
The truth is, if you leave these things to chance and to the efforts of our superb athletes, we will fail. Add a bit of planning and dash a bit of cash and we allow Team GB to shine. And shine they did.