Finweek English Edition - - INSIGHT: ECONOMICS - THE MAIN IS­SUE Gold 8 Sil­ver 4 Bronze 5 To­tal

is to un­der­stand the core driver of Olympic Sport, which will re­main the coach. A coach’s pro­gramme de­liv­ers the ath­lete’s re­sults. Seems ob­vi­ous but most times it’s over­looked or not val­ued. A large per­cent­age of the South African Olympic ath­letes are priv­i­leged to have an NOC that’s pro­vides sup­port. The ath­letes also have the fa­cil­i­ties and com­pe­ti­tions re­quired to qual­ify and if re­quired are al­lowed to travel to qual­ify for the Games. This isn’t the case for many other coun­tries both in Africa and fur­ther afield. We also need the SA pub­lic to un­der­stand the mag­ni­tude of the Games and level of ac­com­plish­ment when ath­letes win medals.

Fi­nan­cial sup­port is not a guar­an­tee on ac­tual re­sults. A large per­cent­age of Olympians at the Games achieve qual­i­fi­ca­tions with very lit­tle or no sup­port. As an ex­am­ple Ethiopian track and field ath­letes ranked in the world Top 10 are not re­ceiv­ing NOC or NF sup­port and yet de­liver fi­nals and medal per­for­mances at the Games. Re­sults/per­for­mances are largely at­trib­uted to ath­letes’ de­sire and be­lief in their abil­i­ties and the sup­port of their per­sonal coaches. Usu­ally th­ese guys are not fi­nan­cially sup­ported. Fi­nan­cial sup­port has mul­ti­ple ben­e­fi­cial as­pects but what it di­rectly al­lows is ease of mind and op­ti­mum plan­ning. To fi­nan­cially sus­tain ath­letes in Olympic Sports with­out cor­po­rate part­ner­ships is rather chal­leng­ing.

An elite ath­lete’s “sup­port Sys­tem” would in­clude the ser­vices of med­i­cal staff (doc­tor, physio, chiro, etc), fa­cil­i­ties (sports spe­cific), in­ter­na­tional and na­tional com­pe­ti­tions, train­ing camps, ac­com­mo­da­tion (most fol­low a suc­cess­ful coach) and ed­u­ca­tion. The main sup­port sys­tem is, how­ever, the fam­ily. Cost-wise, this would be an an­nual av­er­age of R300 000 to R800 000 per ath­lete. 46 38 29 24 13 11 11 8

3 29 27 17 26 8 19 11 9

1 29 23 19 32 7 14 12 11


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