British Olympic Association answers your questions



Dear Burnet News Club,

I am Jan Paterson from the British Olympic Association. We select and lead Team GB at the Olympic and Olympic Winter Games and promote Olympism and the Olympic Values – excellence, friendship and respect – in Great Britain. Earlier this year, at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, Team GB secured a record-breaking five medals on snow and ice and at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Team GB became the first team in history to get more medals at the Games that followed their home Games, which in our case was London 2012. In Rio we secured 67 medals.

Q: Do you agree that a football competition is dangerous if held in Russia?

From: TigerTeam | Elaine Primary Academy

A: I think it is important that major events such as the Olympic Games or the FIFA World Cup are held in new and different countries. Before every major event there are often stories that focus on problems or issues facing the host nation – the same could be said of the London 2012 Olympic Games for example. However, the reality is that often when the event is actually held a lot of money and time are spent to make sure t that they are managed well and are very safe. Of course, we hope that will be the case throughout the FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia. Hosting these events and with many thousands of fans coming into the country from many different cultures and backgrounds can often help with that nation’s development and expose the population to diverse elements of society that otherwise wouldn’t happen. The Olympic Winter Games that took place in PyeongChang in South Korea in February was seen by many as a catalyst for North Korea to start rebuilding its relationship with South Korea. This has led to ground-breaking talks with the USA and a new found hope for peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.

Q: Do your Team GB athletes find it hard to voice their opinions while playing sports?

From: KaraokeKat | Elaine Primary Academy

A: The Team GB athletes have a representative body called the British Olympic Association (BOA) Athletes’ Commission made up of 12 current or retired athletes who are voted in to represent them. The Commission makes sure that the athletes’ voices are at the heart of everything the BOA does. It was formed in 2010 and meets every 2 months. Olympian and former GB Hockey player, Ben Hawes is the chairman. He is responsible for feeding the views of the Commission and its athletes back to the BOA Board. Many of the athletes on the Commission are currently competing in their sport, but for some athletes it is more important to them to concentrate on their careers. It is important that athletes are engaged on important issues in sport such as anti-doping and welfare, and it is equally important that we listen to their views.

Q: What are your views on people trying to stop politics being involved in sports?

From: LoopyLama | Elaine Primary Academy

A: Politics and sport should be separate and sport should always take place on its own terms. That said, sport also plays such an important part in society that is often necessary for sport and politics to meet. In the right way this can be incredibly powerful, especially where it impacts the health , education or unity of society – things that politics and Government have at the heart of their thinking. When it comes to the field of play, sport is sport,. This was shown most clearly when Dick Palmer, the then Chef de Mission of the British Olympic team, carried the Union Flag into the stadium alone in 1980 in Moscow when a number of other high profile nations had boycotted the Olympic Games for Russia’s actions in Afghanistan. In Britain, the Government had spoken to the British Olympic Association about withdrawing, but the public supported the athletes who wanted to go.

Q: Are events like the Olympic Games and the World Cup only awarded to countries for political reasons?

From: Pip:Wip | Graveney School

A: I think they are awarded for multiple reasons. It isn’t always obvious straight away, but huge sporting events can leave a lasting legacy. Sometimes, the lasting legacy is a big reason why a decision is made. London is a great example of this. Huge strides have been made to deliver on the promise to regenerate the part of East London where the Games was mainly held. The Get Set education and youth engagement programme has been one of the clearly successful legacy achievements after London 2012 with over 25,000 primary and secondary schools registered.

Q: Is amateur sport the only form of true sport?

From: Pip:Wip | Graveney School

A: Every athlete in the world, in every single sport, started as an amateur. We see most of them carry the same aspirations and values through into their professional lives, resulting in some wonderful competition. Millions of people around the world watch these major professional sports, leagues and athletes, and do so for the drama of the sport, but crucially the commitment and sheer endeavour of the athletes. Great sport is great sport, whether you are taking part in a local park with your friends or competing at the highest level – it is about participation, it is about aspiring to achieve personal bests, it is about playing the game in the spirit in which it is intended and about creating friendships and having fun.

It is about playing the game in the spirit in which it is intended and about creating friendships and having fun.

Jan Paterson

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