In Alessandro Artini
Yesterday August 4 the Olympic medal table saw Italy finish eighth with six golds, the last of which was to win a stunning track cycling event, where the Italian team led by Filippo Ganna made an extraordinary recovery against the Danish with negative predictions, one in the lead at the start. After the double victories of Jacob and Tambery, the sixth gold, which comforted us as “the fastest man in the world and the highest jumper”, made our national pride even more satisfying. . We face many, including French cousins, “frugal” Dutch and “strict” Austrians.
However, behind Great Britain, which is in fourth place with fifteen gold medals, is three times more than our gold loot. Great Britain seems to stand by itself against big countries like China (32 gold) and the United States (25), although it is a country comparable to ours, for example in terms of number of residents (against 68 million) our 60) and from regional expansion (Italy is slightly larger). It is true that Japan is third in the medal table (21 gold), but as the host nation of the Olympics, the country’s success was to some extent expected.
So where does English success (and Scots, Irish and Welsh) come from?
It is good to first remember the sporting heritage of the Anglo-Saxon peoples, the originators of certain sports, such as football, tennis, and golf. The passion for sports is so widespread that many English words are used internationally to refer to sports tools, rules, and even techniques.
Unlike what happens in Italy, English schools recognize that sports activities are essential to the educational process and that their methods are adaptable. This happens from primary school, unlike Italian schools, where such activities are usually entrusted to teachers and register the presence of specially trained teachers for physical education. Here, the most experienced teachers in the field have participated in some training courses …. In the case of psychomotor development, it is good to remember that a period of five to twelve years is the basis for the future maturity of the athletic attitude.
Great Britain, especially England, is a land of immigration, and many people of different ethnic groups are now an integral part of the population. Well, sports represent a very powerful integration tool. Open a brief parenthesis and move to the other side of the Atlantic. It is a basic component of the melting pot that acts as a social glue for various nationalities.
Returning to Great Britain, consider that some people are genetically predisposed to specific sports (think of Jamaican sprinters or Ethiopian cross-country skiers) and the British team was able to incorporate and improve the different genetic traits of athletes. To achieve such great Olympic victories.
However, in my opinion, there is another reason that explains the British successes, that is, in sports, a pure meritocracy works (at least in general so …), which is characteristic of the Anglo-Saxon mentality. Meritocracy is the essence of the sport that is needed, otherwise there is a lack of entertainment that activates it. Clearly, Englishmen like us are not immune to sportsmanlike attitudes: we had a lot of testimony right after the European football final, but football, in that match, celebrated for one of the best moments, commitment, defense and competition. Partnership. Despite the corruption and corruption, the sport remains, because its meritocratic spirit remains intact. It does not matter that Maradona comes from a humble Argentine family, but he impresses us with his enchanting and courageous ability. I have a feeling that this is exactly the fundamental difference between us and the British: in the Anglo-Saxon world of sports, we find fertile ground, because society is rooted in deep and far-reaching convictions of its characteristic meritocratic perspective. From there comes confidence in the sport, which allowed the momentum to reach 15 golds.
Roger Abravanal writes a beautiful article about European football (Corsera), where he examines the resumption of our national team from a previous “tragedy” that was left out of the World Cup. This resume went through a project based on risk and innovation (for example, not attacking and defending). In addition, Mancini was able to trust some “safe older people” (Bonucci and Chillini) and focus on the lesser known youngsters (Pesina and Locatelly) and select skills to put them in the right place. Mancini himself was the result of an election, and certainly did not enjoy special privileges.
We were very good – Abravanal concludes – we adopted merit based criteria, however, we are careful not to be hostile in other areas (schools, universities, companies …).
Perhaps this is the main difference between our medal list and the British.
Travel fan. Freelance analyst. Proud problem solver. Infuriatingly humble zombie junkie.