08/08/08 and what would be a better time than 08.08 to start what I am sure will be referred to as ‘the greatest games of all time’ at the closing ceremony? The Olympic Games are upon us again and if you are anything like me it is hard to believe that it has been four years since the last time in Athens. Or that it is only four years to go to the London games. And of course it hasn’t really been four years as there was the Winter Olympics in between. But with no disrespect to those games, it is difficult to compete with the summer sports.
As I watch the Olympics more and more I realise what a fantastic example of creating synergy they are. One of my colleagues likes to use the TEAM acronym quite often. Together Everyone Achieves More. I think that is exactly what the Olympics are about! There are 28 sports (and many of them include several different disciplines) in the Summer Olympic Games. Individually many of these sports would draw very limited public attention and media coverage. More in certain parts of the World and more when it comes to some of the sports, but still as a whole very limited. Put them together in the Olympic Games and the entire globe goes crazy!
Of course Pierre de Coubertin thought about this long ago and in today’s financially driven sports world there is no doubt that this is what keeps a lot of these sports going. It is absolutely brilliant and I wonder what other synergy effects might be out there that we have not yet discovered? Do you remember the times when a coffee shop used to be a coffee shop? It is not anymore. Thanks to synergy thinking I can now have a coffee, work on my laptop on the wi-fi connection and read a book or a magazine in the bookshop where the café is located. I know for sure that somebody is making more money because of this synergy!
Another aspect of the Olympics that I can’t help thinking about is how these games used to be for amateurs only, but have followed the development of sport and from somewhere in the 1970s it is each sport’s International Federation that decides who is eligible to compete. Even though some of the participants may have jobs, long gone is the era when athletes got disqualified for making money on their sport. The only amateurs nowadays are the boxers but the amateur regulations only stipulate the rules in which the sport is played (or fought!) and nothing about winning prizes and making money.
This kind of brings me back to a non-Olympic sport that I know fairly well. Isn’t it interesting that we in golf still become worse as a country when players get better? Chris Wood had a fantastic Open week at Royal Birkdale last month and over night he is disqualified. He has turned professional and by some he is talked about as ‘lost’ to the paid ranks. Clearly what we should do in clubs, counties and nationally is to pat ourselves on the back and say well done everyone – here is another great player on the way forward. And when the Eisenhower Trophy (World Championships) is played in October Chris should of course be one of the possible players on the team. I am not sure he would have time to play but why on earth do we need to disqualify him? I think we can do better than that! But while we wait for that to happen we will just have to stick to following Chris’ professional debut in the Scandinavian Masters this week.
Hoping for both medals and birdies,
“In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities.”
– Janos Arany