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Downing Street humbled by Mo Farah

11 August 2012

10:24 PM

11 August 2012

10:24 PM

The genius of Mo Farah was only underscored by the plodding stupidity of Downing Street’s statements about the “All Must Have Prizes” culture this weekend.

If this is the culture which produced Mo Farah then surely we should be celebrating it. But the truth is that it doesn’t exist and never has done. How does David Cameron think we managed to get 28 gold medals if not through the promotion of competitive sport in schools? Mo Farah attended an inner city comprehensive his talent was spotted and encouraged. What’s wrong with that?

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Considering the scale of the success of London 2012, it’s no surprise that there have been attempts from both ends of the political spectrum to claim this Olympics for their side. It is a rather pointless game to play. Are team sports more socialist and individual events more capitalist? Who cares? One rather obvious thing is certain – if you want to win, you need to find the best talent and encourage it – lessons could certainly be learnt in other areas of public life. But the Olympics are not the moment for politicians to give lessons on how to encourage sporting excellence. Quite the opposite.

The flatfooted Downing Street statement on school sport is no real surprise from this increasingly weary government.

Here’s an idea – why not send underperforming cabinet ministers to learn about organisation, leadership and inspiration from our cycling, sailing, rowing, boxing, equestrian and athletics teams. A little more humility and a little less lecturing is in order right now.

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Show comments
  • http://www.poraora.com/ Bob Ulmer

    the fastest man i have ever seen in my life running in front of me was Farah..i wish him all the best.learning games children.

  • rndtechnologies786

    Good think.

  • http://twitter.com/43nursery david skerritt

    What a load of rubbish. Collective sport socilaist: then ManU on the NY stock exchange is definitely not capitalist

  • David Webb

    What a dense article! Farah’s running prowess reflects the East African dominance in long-distance running – probably genetic – and not the school system in the UK. He should have won gold for Somalia. His antics on the field after winning were forgettable.

  • http://twitter.com/danieljohnson85 Daniel Johnson

    I’m not sure a runner can be described as a genius.

    Usain Bolt’s trainer may be a genuis, though. Despite being at the centre of the BALCO drug scandal, he’s changed his name and almost no one in the media seems to have noticed.

    http://deadspin.com/5857439/what-do-usain-bolt-and-juan-manuel-marquez-have-in-common-they-train-with-the-same-admitted-steroids-dealer

  • anyfool

    The genius of Mo Farah.
    Really, how brainy have you got to be to run marginally faster than the next genius,
    most runners like footballers are usually on the lower end of the IQ scales
    as are journalists who sit down and write the first line of hyperbole that enters their tiny brain.

  • Alison

    “Genius”?

    This fawning is getting silly.

  • http://twitter.com/dangroveruk Dan Grover

    The US, with its mostly College-based athletics system, and China, with it’s state sponsored system, couldn’t be more different in their funding and mechanisms. Both produce tremendous athletes. I think more credit should be given to the individuals – both the athletes and their coaches – rather than the institutions that incubate them.

  • Eddie

    Lots of people are making Mo the multiculturalist poster boy of the London Olympics, but actually he is the anti-multiculturalist pro-integrationist symbol of how silly the ideology of misplaed Multiculturalism is: Mo speaks English as a native Londoner, has married a local girl, and does not go round wearing robes and a big bushy beard ranting about the Koran and infidels (well, he married one, after all).
    But number 10 is right: there has long been an ‘all must have prizes’ surreal wonderland of nonsense on our eductaion system, and there stil is, especially in inner London schools (where never forget ethnic minorities are 60% of state school pupils). I worked in the achingly politically correct grade-inflation system for years.
    Most medallists came from good state schools outside London, like the one I went to which produced sportsmen who played for England. Grammar school ethos, innit?
    Mo Farah owes his success to one man – a generous teacher who spotted talent. In the former communist countries and China they talent-spot kids aged 5,6 7 and send them to special sports schools if they have innate talent; and really, one can even accurately judge which kids are brainy and which are thick at that age too. Should we start doing that in the UK perhaps? Then we can have more gold medal winners.

    • Yersenia

      At 5,6,7 kids can be both bright or sporty or both or neither so please let’s not have a system that channels only one aspect of their development from such a young age just to get us gold medals as we could be missing out on a Nobel prize!

      • Eddie

        Yes, and I did not argue for any system that channels only one aspect of kids’ development. But really, one can see in kids aged 5 which are bright and which are dim, and which are sporty/agile/with good motor skills – one can also accurately predict which will end up in trouble at school and getting into crime. Really.
        My point is that we need selective education at a young age and, above all, to be REALISTIC. I can assure you that some inner city kid aged 8 who can’t read or write and is academically very slow will not win a Nobel Prize! The best he can hope for is learning how to read and write andf count and to stay out of prison. Boys especially like to do things at this age – non-academic boys are given nothing to do, so should be given sport (boxing etc) to give them focus and tire them out so they are too knackered to go out mugging!
        Most sporty types are not brainy at all – or are ‘non-academic’ or ‘dyslexic’ or have ‘learning difficulties’ (to use the modern monika for ‘thick’). Now, perhaps people can study why that is – but it is, for sure.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=506540706 Michael Simpson

      China has been doing this with basketball players and footballers and has yet to produce anything close to a competitive team in either sport, so the system has its limitations and, as you’ll note by taking a brief glance at the medal table, still led to the country ranking lower than the United States overall. It isn’t a hard and fast rule, is one simple conclusion you can draw.

      On his talent – again if you took the time to do a little research, you’ll have found a Mohammed Farrah (may as well be polite and use his full name, might’n we?) who a few years ago was a competitive if not exactly world beating athlete. He drove on, changed his coaches and moved to Portland, working hard to develop both his physical shape and tactical finesse to the point where he was capable of winning two Olympic golds. It took a little more than one enterprising PE teacher recognising he had talent, is the point.

      As to the multiculturalism thing – well he remains a Muslim who prayed once crossing the finishing line, so he hasn’t quite fully embraced the Peter Hitchens-esq Albion of Christendom fantasy just yet. And a final point. London, with its majority ethnic intake, now has one of the world’s best school systems. It’s a solid gold fact, and you can thank Labour for that.

      • Eddie

        “London, with its majority ethnic intake, now has one of the world’s best school systems”
        Sorry while I wee myself laughing! London state schools are shite – practically all of them.
        Funny, ain’t it, that when anybody says something is a FACT it is usually a LIE.
        London has the worst education system in the whole of the UK: I would never send a child of mine into schools that are 60% ethnic and so dumbed down and ruled by mediocre failing teachers (like you perhaps?).
        Mo Farah was spotted by one man who gave him the self-belief to be a world class athlete; the school system should have done that, but it never does. He had the right heritage and genetics, then worked with top class coaches, but without that one man spotting him we would not know his name,. The London school system deserves no praise at all for his success: he succeeded despite it, not because of it – and I suspect he is possibly rather illiterate and innumerate too after having gone through years of lessons in shite London sink schools: so many are.
        And no, integration does not mean abandoning your religion – it means acknowledging the values of this country and abiding by them, and respecting its religious traditions, As an atheist, I do not get much respect from Muslims or Christian immigrants actually: they really don’t get this pluralism/tolerance lark, in general.

  • Bye

    Why have you censored my post about the shooting sports? They are part of the Olympics, you know!!!

  • Bye

    I hope the sudden whim of promoting sports at schools includes the SHOOTING SPORTS. I doubt it, because they made absolutely sure that there would be no legacy for them from the Billions they took for us from. So glad I’m emigrating…

  • anyfool

    Mr not to Bright state schools only had a marginal interest in the athletic achievements at the Olympics, that a tiny minority of Gold medalists attended state school does in know way support your case against Cameron, why do all socialists twist, distort and lie about almost everything as long as it suits their current obsession.

  • Ru

    Mo Farah came to England when he was eight in 1991. For the next 3 years he floundered academically and no sporting talent had been identified. In 1994 he had the luck to be spotted by his P.E. teacher who trained him outside school hours and sent him to external coaches. By 2001 he was full time at a newly built specialist sports centre. In 2005 he took up full time training with an Australian and a group of Kenyans. In 2011 he moved to America.

    So really what did the state school system have to do with it?

    • Eddie

      Yep, true: Mo Farah was very lucky.
      Primary school sport teaching is and always has been utterly terrible – usually done by middle-aged women who hate sport themselves. Mad!
      And now, for convenience and sexist reasons (because girls like it) they do lots of dancing in PE lessons. I don’t think dancing is an Olympic sport yet, is it?
      But most athletes flouder academically: it really is not uncommon for the winners of everything on sports day to be in the remedial class. Footballers have brains in their boots, and most other athletes are not really book-reading types.
      I am a big fan of promoting sport in deprived areas though – stuff like boxing and martial arts, to teach a lot of boys (esp ethnic boys) discipline and focus – because otherwise their lives are just drugs and mugging. Max Bygraves used to be big on that too, I think…
      It works. Boys need to work off energy and have a structure to their lives: nattering women comprehsive school teachers trying to teach them anything is a joke.

      • Sarah

        Hi Eddie, could you point me at your evidence regarding how many P.E. teachers are middle-aged, female and hate sport,

        Also your evidence for how much dancing they do in classes and that they do this for convenience and sexist reasons? Thanks.

        Also, your evidence for the statement that most athletes flounder academically and how many are in the “remedial class”. Oh also, while you there, could you dig up the stats on how many schools still have remedial classes?

        Regarding the comedy value of nattering women trying to teach ethnic minority boys anything, could you point me to some evidence for them a) existing and b) being a joke?

        Thanks.

        Sarah

        • Eddie

          Oh dear – illiterate Sarah the manhater returns.
          I did not state that most PE teachers were middle aged, female and hate sport. I stated that
          ‘Primary school sport teaching is and always has been utterly terrible – usually done by middle-aged women who hate sport themselves.’
          PRIMARY SCHOOLS, Sarah – where most teachers are female, and crap at sport which they hate usually. Maybe many are young now, but most were middle-aged when I was at primary school (I remember being taught football by a 50 something woman with a glass eye! OMG! She made us all stand still and we were not allowed to move until the ball came within a few feet of our spot!!! It looked mor like little boy skittles than football!!!) Primary school sports teaching should be done by professional sporst teachers – serving several schools perhaps. Not old women teachers with the motor skills of a 2 year old who hate sport and don’t want to teach it either!
          40 years ago half of teachers were male, now it’s 29% – education and secondary schools have become massively feminised. Now, regards sport, that is harmful because men tend to be much more into sport than women. The feminisation of secondary schools is a joke, yes – though at grammar schools one still finds lots of male teachers (sink comprehensives are usually 70-90% female teachers, 100% in subjects like English).
          You have NO EMPATHY, Sarah – do you seriously think a 14 year old black boy wants some nattering fan of Jane Austen and Sylvia Plath to teach him? Boys need madle teachers, and non-academic boys need action and deeds, not sitting in a class with Miss.
          All former teachers will know what I mean when I say sports day winners were in the remdial class: usually a small number of black boys win all the races (but they are thick as gravy). That’s the real world, Sarah, love – not Planet False Equality where your strange silly mind lives.

          • sarah

            “You have NO EMPATHY, Sarah – do you seriously think a 14 year old black
            boy wants some nattering fan of Jane Austen and Sylvia Plath to teach
            him?”

            Well no, seeing as both of them are dead and neither of them were known for nattering.

            My bigger fear though would be that they had a teacher like you. They’d never get any sport done with you constantly droning on and spitting about how much you hate all the straw people you’ve invented.

            • http://twitter.com/WholeLottaSusie Sue Ward

              Well said Sarah. Eddie makes some good points on occasion but his patronising way of answering anything raised by a woman is insufferable. Any slight deviance from the Gospel According to Eddie and you are a lefty, a lover of wimmins football, a man hater. If anyone has a massive chip on their shoulder it would be him.

            • Eddie

              If you’d had a teacher like me, you wouldn’t be a pig-ignorant ill-educated runt moron spraying your mentalist bint-juice over everyone like a mental patient, love.
              Tell yer what – why don’t you go and hug a copy of Dworkin or Greer and throw darts at pictures of men – you know you want to, love.
              I truly pity any man who has to speak to you – let alone have sexual relations with you.
              Just as well you’re a hairy-lipped ugly mutt lesbian really.
              There is a god, after all…

        • Eddie

          Read the educational press, dear: TES, for example and education pages of newspapers; listen to relevant radio programmes (even the feminist flagship Womans Hour has had features on the lack of training and interested of primary school teachers in sport, and how to get girls interested in sport (ie introduce dance to schools and dump proper sport – which they see as a positive thing, of course).
          The poor level of sports teaching in primary schools (by women teachers who get a day or 2 on their PGCE training courses dedicated to sport) has been debated a lot lately because of the Olympics. I am sure you watched the wimmin’s football – maybe you caught some of that debate?
          Men tend to be far more interested in sport than women – watching and playing. For example, women watch all TV programmes more than men (they have way more free time to do so of course); only 3 types of programme are watched more by men than women: porn, new movies and sport.
          ‘Remedial classes’ still exist under another name, dumbo.
          Maybe study hard and get a degree, then do teacher training and teach in 3 different countries in both state and private sectors for many years.
          Only if you do this can you match my knowledge of the education system.
          What EVIDENCE do you have, love, that what I say is inaccurate?
          None. Ergo – buzz off, know-nothing, and don’t come back until you stop talking tosh.

          • Sarah

            So in summary, you don’t have any.

            Wot I thought.

            Have a good day.

            Love Sarah xx

            • Eddie

              No, lovem I have plenty. You are too ignorant to know that, silly bint Sarah.
              The vast majority of Primary school teachers are female – they get no more than 2 days’ training on how to teach PE on a PGCE.
              71% of secondary school teachers are now female – so in comprehensives, the vast majority of teachers are female in certain subjects.
              All those stats are verifiable via the TES and department of education.
              That is evidence, manhating bint Sarah – of which you have posted none whatsoever (you just claim I have said whatI haven’t and then argue against that). Read it and weep.

        • http://twitter.com/danieljohnson85 Daniel Johnson

          Evidence, evidence. I’m a lefty and I demand evidence! (I shall never provide any of my own but never mind – I’m a lefty, so it’s “do as I say, not as I do!”).

          Anyway, when I was at primary school, our first outdoor lesson was in “how to run” (from a middle-aged female teacher – total bitch, once took a vote on whether a pupil should receive corporal punishment from the *other pupils* !).

          First of all, she told us not to make fists with our hands as we ran. Then she told us not to hold our hands like a “karate fighter”. A pupil then asked “what shape are we supposed to make then?” She didn’t know, “just hold them loose”.

          That ended the lesson and after that we were left to do laps of the school perimeter. No further instruction in how to play sports was ever received in primary school. I’m not sure why she thought the hands were so important while running – something to do with aerodynamics, perhaps?

          • Eddie

            Yep, it really is a joke, innit. I remember being taught football by a 50 something woman with a glass eye! OMG! She made us all stand still and we were not allowed to move until the ball came within a few feet of our spot!!! It looked mor like little boy skittles than football!!!
            Anyone who succeeds at a high level in sport does so thanks to sports clubs and parents (and natural genetic aptitude) – definitely not because of UK state primary school teaching! Some secondaries teach sport well – mostly private schools and grammars. London state comprehensives are an utter joke: Indian dancing counts for sport mosty, it seems, at those catastrophes of crap schooling.
            A shame really, because all those energetic boys would be much better behaved and less criminal if they were given the chance to do boxing, martial arts, running, physical challenges at school.

          • sarah

            “Evidence, evidence. I’m a lefty and I demand evidence! (I shall never
            provide any of my own but never mind – I’m a lefty, so it’s “do as I
            say, not as I do!”).”

            Not sure if that’s aimed at me, as I’m not a leftie.

            Nor do I need to provide any evidence as I haven’t made any claims. Eddie has, and does.

        • Ru

          I’m not able to find any statistics on the number of male vs female PE teachers in Britain or the UK. So I suspect Eddie hasn’t either. I’m afraid “listen to the radio” or “read the papers” is not evidence Eddie. People filter information they receive in a particular way to suit their own prejudices.

          But from what I’ve read it looks like the problem is under-participation by girls in sport, sports lessons geared towards male priorities and a shortage of female teachers.

          One interesting comment I read was that girls like to know how the game is played before starting, whereas as soon as boys see equipment they dive in, and it takes them losing games to realise the importance of developing technique. That they are more motivated by competition and winning points and will scorn their opponents, whereas girls are motivated by impressing/helping their team mates.

          • Eddie

            Ru – you know nothing about this subject, clearly and are talking crap. Let me enlighten you:
            Most Primary School teachers are female and most hate sport, do but 2 days of training in it, and concentrate on music and movement style nonsense because the teachers themselves hate all sports. Som ENLIGHTED schools have male sport teachers coming in: that is what we should do.
            Re secondary schools – well, there is a fair old contigent of manly female PE teachers, true – but these days, the agenda is to get girls doing PE, so lots of schools do dancing – and count that as a sport. So the push that has been going on for years in schools to get girls into sport (an illogical one because it is boys and men who like sport mostly) has led to this over-promotion of dancing in PE lessons.
            Needless to say, in boys only schools (grammar and private schools) the boys sport is excellent; in the feminised state sector mixed comps, it is dire.

      • Ru

        “Yep, true: Mo Farah was very lucky.”

        Fatima Whitbread was also lucky, she was not only coached by a female teacher to become an Olympian, but was adopted by her as well.

    • Eddie

      Yep, true: Mo Farah was very lucky.
      Primary school sport teaching is and always has been utterly terrible – usually done by middle-aged women who hate sport themselves. Mad!
      And now, for convenience and sexist reasons (because girls like it) they do lots of dancing in PE lessons. I don’t think dancing is an Olympic sport yet, is it?
      But most athletes flouder academically: it really is not uncommon for the winners of everything on sports day to be in the remedial class. Footballers have brains in their boots, and most other athletes are not really book-reading types.
      I am a big fan of promoting sport in deprived areas though – stuff like boxing and martial arts, to teach a lot of boys (esp ethnic boys) discipline and focus – because otherwise their lives are just drugs and mugging. Max Bygraves used to be big on that too, I think…
      It works. Boys need to work off energy and have a structure to their lives: nattering women comprehsive school teachers trying to teach them anything is a joke.

  • frankch

    Just as an exercise, a random web-site sample of sport in independent schools demonstrated a strong emphasis on the sports ethos and an impressive range of

    sport types, facilities and coaching offered.

    But unfortunately judging by the published sports results for the top tier of independents at least, few, if any compete against state sector schools.
    Presumably mutual suspicions, funding issues, negative social attitudes, entrenched political positions, inadequate resources and coaches etc.,prevent communications developing. Both sectors need a strong nudge forward so that we can all see how big the gap is.

  • andagaian

    “How does David Cameron think we managed to get 28 gold medals if not through the promotion of competitive sport in schools? ”

    By spending several hundred million pounds training Olympic atheletes.

  • TomPride

    How about ending the ‘All Must Have Prizes’ culture for top bankers?

  • Shazza

    I believe Mo has relocated to Oregon – why has this not been mentioned by the MSM? Is he going to represent the USA in Brazil? Just wondering…………

  • Daniel Maris

    I’m even more angry now – since I’ve found out that sh*t Mervyn King has been using Mo’s fantastic performance to shore up his pathetic, useless stewardship of the economy.
    Will none of these b*stards leave Mo’s fine performances to stand alone…they are not the preserve of p*ss-poor politicians and bumbling bankers.

    • rosie

      Nor of comp-loving columnist Martin Bright.

    • rosie

      Nor of comp-loving columnist Martin Bright.

  • Charlie

    I’m going to enjoy sending letters to the despicable Nick Griffin using a stamp with Mo on it

    • Eddie

      Shame they don’t make some stamps featuring mugshots of the mostly black persons who started and spread last year’s riots eh?
      Then the rozzers might catch a few more of the vibrant ethnic rioters (all whilst celebrating their diversity and pondering just how much immigration has enriched all our lives, eh…)

  • Daniel Maris

    To me athletics is pretty sacred. I really object to the way you keep trying to appropriate the efforts of people like Mo Farah to prop whatever trite, boring, predictable political view you want to put across. I would say the same if a Tory tried to make something of it. Please stop.

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