From readers: Norway’s Olympic success raises questions about sports funding

Curlers (left to right): Millie Smith, Hayley Duff, Jennifer Dodds, Vicki Wright and Eve Muirhead pose for photos with their Olympic gold medals after winning the women’s curling final.

With the same population as Scotland, the Norwegians miraculously amassed a total of 37 medals with 16 golds, four more than Germany, seven more than China and eight more than the United States.

Unfortunately, and perhaps unsurprisingly given the poor performance of the UK in general, the BBC and most of the mainstream British media have provided little, if any, updates on the medal table, in stark contrast to coverage of the Summer Olympics held in Tokyo, Rio and London.

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More importantly, Norway’s significantly stronger results raise questions about financial support for British sport and, in particular, whether the limited and selectively targeted support provided through lottery funds is enough to go beyond helping win more medals. sports, but also to significantly increase the participation rate in all sports, especially in those sports where there is currently little chance of winning medals.

As we all want our planet to be more livable, and as we strive to become better and healthier as people, is it time for the UK Government to devote more of its resources to maximizing the well-being of all its citizens rather than maximizing the profits of wealthy friends and party sponsors? ?

Stan Grodynski, Longnyddry, East Lothian

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Winter Olympics 2022, UK women’s curling team: who are Eve Muirhead, Jennifer Dod…

Without the Scottish curlers that the BBC and others ignore when competing for Scotland in international competition, Great Britain’s performance at the Winter Olympics was on par with the usual Eurovision Song Contest ‘zero points’ (Letters, 22 February).

Without any national lottery funding (although an independent Scotland could run a lottery like Ireland and take part in the Euromillions prize pool), Norway again topped the medal table by some margin, but does not compete in expensive sports like bobsleigh. All young people are encouraged to go out in all weathers to enjoy sports in over 10,000 local sports clubs and as a people they are very proud of their nation. Norway excels not only in winter sports, football is a summer sport, and last week Bodo/Glimt, still in pre-season, beat Celtic in Glasgow.

However, the local Norwegian league receives twice as many commercial broadcasting rights as the SPFL.

Exactly 22 seconds after 10:22 pm yesterday, digital clocks around the world showed 22.22.22.22.2.22.

I remember celebrating a similar point in time, back in 2011 at 11 seconds after 11:11 am on November 11 (11/11/11/11/11/11), which was better (literally) having twelve 1’s in a row (as opposed to 11 2’s). ) .

The nearest time we will approach it again this century will be at 3:33 am and 33 seconds on March 3, 2033, at 4:44 am and 44 seconds on April 4, 2044 and at 5:55 am and 55 seconds on May 5 2055 – but each of them can dial only nine digits corresponding to them, and then wait a long time until 2111 and even longer until 2222, when there will be thirteen twos in a row.

I think it was only ever improved in human history at the beginning of the 12th century during the reign of Henry I, son of William the Conqueror with the corresponding number, when the digital displays of that era expanded to fourteen units – 11.11.11.11. 11.1111.

Andy Davey, Peebles, Scottish Borders

That an independent Scotland seek NATO membership is, according to Stuart Macdonald (Scotsman, February 19), a good and even necessary step.

The fact that Scotland has in the past provided one of NATO’s most respected Secretaries General, in the form of Labor MP and UK Secretary of State for Defense George Robertson (now Lord Islay), will no doubt help a lot in this endeavour. On the other hand, Mr. MacDonald’s predecessor Angus Robertson insisted ten years ago, as far as I remember, that NATO warships could only enter Scottish waters if they were not carrying nuclear weapons, would probably be a big obstacle to negotiations if will not be publicly rejected.

Then there is the cost factor. It is my understanding that no country can become a member of NATO without the approval of all member states. The deciding factor for membership was supposedly the two percent of GDP spent on defense. The failure of all but five (one of them the UK) of its 30+ members has been a sore point over the last couple of decades, with the US (without which NATO would have been greatly weakened) being particularly critical and unlikely to accept any new member without such guarantee. For Scotland this would mean around £3bn a year. This raises several questions. Could Scotland have found such a sum? Even if it could, having lost almost all local military production capacity, how long would it take, and from what sources, to provide an adequately equipped defense force acceptable to other major NATO nations?

The irony of all of the above is, of course, that as part of the UK we already have NATO membership and the UK Department of Defense spends enough of its budget in Scotland that our net defense contribution is close to zero.

Dr. A. McCormick, Terregles, Dumfries and Galloway

I’m afraid I won’t know the era of polite political discussion until the repulsive Scottish nations that Brian Wilson mentions in his last column (Scotsman, Feb. 19) came to power.

My political consciousness goes back to Labor’s unexpected triumph in the 1945 elections. “Now we are the masters,” they proclaimed, promising to take control of the “commanding heights of the economy” and, relying on the regulatory powers of war, to organize a revolution in society – a look at the promised land for many and a recipe for disaster for others. the opinion of others. So it can be said to be somewhat controversial.

When the promised land didn’t come close and people weary of strikes, continued austerity and austerity voted Conservative again, Labor was furious at the stupidity and ingratitude of the voters, with Nye Bevan characterizing those who had voted. Tori as “below the vermin”. Is there a touch of bile?

I would call misogyny the era of Margaret Thatcher, the “milk thief”. Yes, she was a divisive figure, but some of the opposition to her went far beyond her politics, even within the Conservative Party. What is different now, I would say, is that our society as a whole is much more rough. There is also the emergence of the Twitter sphere, which provides an anonymous platform to all those who gnaw at their low place in the world or are simply consumed by unreasonable malice.

Some historians believe that Russia and China pose less of a threat than Germany did after its invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938.

But, among other things, the United States was the emerging dominant power, Great Britain with the Empire was still of great military importance, China was relatively insignificant, and our enemies did not have nuclear weapons. There was no Russia/China/Iran or similar axis controlling Europe’s energy supply, most of its economic needs and growing influence in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and South America.

Do leaders of democracies now admit that not only did the West not “win” the Cold War, but that if our enemy was not only Hitler’s Germany, but all of the Nazi states, it would be premature to claim that we won World War II? Both wars simply paused while the totalitarians—whether red, brown, or blackshirts, secular or religious—were engaged in “reculer pour mieux sauter.”

With its rise and its capacity for cyber warfare, and our lack of leadership and self-confidence, this axis can salami the weaknesses of democracy to impose its Orwellian future on the world while avoiding major military operations against us.

John Birkett, St. Andrews, Fife

Like most people, at least in the West, I am disgusted by President Putin’s antics. However, I have a small problem in that (i) there is not much global outcry against Israel and the West Bank; (ii) Syrian tactics are largely ignored; and (iii) we did not have such hard-line views when we made the decision to invade Iraq.

There is also the question of how strong we feel, as I suspect that the extent of our “retaliation” in the form of sanctions is likely to be tempered by (i) the impact on our own economy; (ii) potential increases in gas and electricity prices; and (iii) not least the impact on some of our major football teams!

We count on the Ukrainians to stand up and reckon. Will we “vox populi” be equally willing to “pay the price” and will our media, now so outraged so much, stand their ground or, as in the case of Covid, follow what makes good headlines ?

James Watson, Dunbar, East Lothian

Boundaries tend to be places where differences show up sharply. As an exile living south of Berwick-upon-Tweed, I have already witnessed different regimes on both sides as Boris Johnson has unveiled different versions of his Covid-19 “please yourself” policy.

But now it turns out that showing signs of a runny nose could result in me acting illegally by not isolating myself when entering Scotland! Will the police in Scotland – instead of checking the breath of travelers heading north for excess alcohol – now resort to random rapid flow tests and force us to stick swabs up our nostrils instead? Or maybe I just get a questionnaire to fill out?

John Rhind, Bidnell, Northumberland

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