This month we’ve been reading, Unexpected-The Autobiography by Greg Rutherford with Sean Ingle, Simon & Schuster, 2016. Greg Rutherford is two-time Olympic medalist in long jump. He was Olympic Champion at London 2012 and won the bronze medal at Rio in 2016. While we in India have grown quite accustomed to hearing about inefficiencies in the Indian sporting systems, this book by a two-time Olympic medalist highlights similar refrain in Britain, particularly the British Athletics system. This just goes on to show that irrespective of sporting success no bureaucratic sporting structure in the world is 100% efficient or free from its internal problems. In situations like these what really matters is the response of an organisation to such problems, ability to accept some of its errors and its willingness to adapt quickly in the interests of a larger sporting goal.
An excerpt has been reproduced below:
On the inefficiencies at British Athletics
“I was pretty annoyed that British Athletics had refused to release my lead therapist, Andy Burke to come to Beijing in time for my arrival, instead keeping him at the team’s holding camp in Japan to work with the athletes who weren’t really medal hopes.So I had no one to help keep my body in one piece, until Andy was finally allowed to fly in the night before I was due to compete.This is such bad practice for an elite sporting organisation.seeing and being in constant touch with your therapist is an important part of preparation for a major competition. They are the people who keep your body, and indirectly your mind, in the right place to compete. And yet I only got to see mine on the warm-up track before the start. I was genuinely outraged. It seemed that the unwritten hierarchy within British Athletics was at work.As I put it at the time, it’s ‘as if your national governing body is more of a hindrance than a help’.I cannot see why an athlete should have the perception that they have to fight British Athletics; but the decisions of the powers-that-be often made me feel that they didn’t believe in me.”