Olympic grace, will and misdirection

The Olympics should be great to watch on TV, the draw of the medals giving significance to sports that are usually ignored.
The ethos should be great too – wars to be stopped to allow the games to take place, taking part doing your best, boosting public health.
Then the drama.
Three standout moments for me.


The British trampolinist who broke down when she knew she’d win a medal and she hadn’t expected it, and she’d been poorly in 2012.   The Chinese world champion trampolinist who came behind her and you could just see that she thought the scoring was wrong – and yet after that moment’s bewilderment, she regained her grace.  And the Chinese boxer’s scare stare into the camera – she was to lose to Adams, but what a look.
And of course you need good opponents – even when you were sick of that Argentinian who kept coming back against Murray even though he had a dead leg.
You might even need good losers – the grace with which the British epee finalist, invited to complain about some of the judging decisions against him, said, that’s the sport. Sports broadcasters across the developed world are praying that will not be picked up as a trend – just how would they fill their schedules?
The emphasis on the Olympics medal table by the BBC is getting tedious. Yes,we’re second but we are 65 million people and we’re the world’s fifth largest economy  – sorry, sixth, post Brexit.   There is though a bit of payback here – for years Team GB suffered when we obeyed the amateur code while others didn’t, and then there’s the doping – which we  British never do (er, I’m sure that’s right).
The coverage too is getting tedious too.  Failing to accurately describe what’s happening; or to properly develop our understanding of some of the sports covered.  (Yeah, sweeping.)   Wanting competitors’ emotions rather than understanding.
Repeating the myth that it’s about the will rather than ability, capability and knowledge – and training, investment and access to facilities.
The Guardian has an article suggesting that at the current rates, we’ve invested GBP5.5m per medal.

The article also explains that sports that could use investment are losing out.
And gives an honourable mention to Derby City Council for acting to keep facilities open to support the swimming club for the GB swimmer who won gold.
The Meadows has a swimming pool that Rebecca Adlington once used, and in fact was the base for the Rebecca Adlington of the 1920’s – Constance Jeans – who at one stage held 5 world record times in swimming. Yet, the pool was nearly closed cos of the cuts in public services expenditure.
Meanwhile, free sessions are being offered to kids, but the take up is not good – not clear why – have heard suggestions such as:
– kids suspect it can’t be free, or
– the emphasis on participation passes less well-off communities by,
– we don’t have the right kind of people trained to engage youngsters.
I don’t know.
But we know the spirit of the commitments made for London to win the right to host the 2012 Olympics has been lost and we could do better, especially if we did more to support councils in sports participation, for excellence, for recreation and for public health.

Notts County Football in the Community presenting Portland Leisure Centre

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Now an establishment of 50 staff, Notts County Football in the Community trust were keen to tell of their work in sport, education and health, to Lilian Greenwood MP and co-Councillor Nicola Heaton.
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Still serving Meadows residents in significant numbers, the establishment has increased by 20 since moving into Portland Leisure Centre.
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The Trust educates around 50 students for BTecs in futsal and 20 who need support having struggled in mainstream schools.

Project Sensible briefing

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Professor Julian Marsh, architect and green campaigner addressing an audience of 32.
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A briefing for some of the 40 odd households in The Meadows likely to be part of an EU financed project to find out how trapping energy thermally or in batteries, rather than exporting for a feed-in tariff, might help households with lower energy bills.
The project is also taking place in Germany and Portugal, but different tasks are being undertaken there.
The British leg is happening because of the University of Nottingham and Meadows Ozone Energy Services (MOzES).
Previous briefing was in December –
https://michaelmedwards.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/cheaper-green-energy-research-project/

Related tweets –
Project SENSIBLE ‏@SENSIBLEProject · Jul 15
#SENSIBLEproject is about storing & sharing localised energy generation within a community reducing costs for all!
Michael Edwards ‏@BridgeCllrMike · Jul 20
EU #ProjectSensible launching plan for more solar power with an evaluation of batteries in #TheMeadows #Nottingham

Parliamentary Hustings in The Meadows

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Around 70 people attended the parliamentary hustings in the Portland Leisure Centre in The Meadows tonight and it was a robust meeting.
Surprising remark of the night was the Conservative candidate saying that inn Nottingham people are intimidated about how they vote. When challenged, she said people were frightened to sign her nomination paper cos their windows would get done. Immature and disproportionate; just hopeless really.
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The UKIP candidate both wanted decisions to be more local and then complained about how ordinary working people in Cotgrave couldn’t afford to get on the property ladder – not least cos Rushcliffe keeps electing councillors who won’t allow more houses to be built.

Constance Jeans remembered

A champion swimmer from Nottingham, who trained at Portland Leisure Centre, who set national records and won an Olympic silver at Antwerp in 1920 and at Paris in 1924, a time when the Americans dominated swimming.
We wanted to celebrate her in the Meadows Story Poles, but couldn’t find a picture. Now we have, thanks to a French project that catalogues their national (photograph) library, and the Catalan version of Wikipedia.
France and Catalonia telling us our own history!
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She’s seen here, proudly and happily posing, and standing in front of the Union Flag and the Royal Standard.
She’s captioned as the winner of the 60 yards freestyle, in 1919, age 19 or 20, but the tournament is not named.
20140710-003449-2089225.jpgA plaque at the Portland Leisure Centre does however suggest that the photo was taken in recognition of English championships and 3 world records.
Thanks to Nottingham Central Library who helped find the photo on the internet.
Note, it’s not clear if she’s Nottingham’s first Olympic medal winner. Initial checks suggest her 1920 medal win was not reported by the then four-page small type broadsheet that was the Nottingham Evening Post.
It is clear that this is not the age of streamlined swimwear; she is even wearing a ribbon on her shoulder. It would be interesting to know what the badges and crests represent.

Portland Leisure Centre transferred to secure local swimming

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Portland Leisure Centre in The Meadows has been taken over by Notts County Football in the Community, in partnership with The Lenton Centre.
Councillor Dave Trimble signed the contract on behalf of the City Council at 2pm at the centre, flanked by Steve Hill and Richard Posner.
I’m pleased cos the change enables new investment for the centre and allows a plan to keep swimming in the community.
Notts County FITC has already secured investment amounting to £1.2 million from sources outside Nottingham, including anticipated funding from Sport England and the Premier League; further news due on Monday.
Facilities at PLC include a swimming pool, sports halls, squash courts, studios and gyms.
FITC will run the centre on a 25-year lease agreement which has already come into effect.
Steve Hill said: “We want local people to use PLC more often and benefit from the activities that are available.”
Carl Towner said: “In the centenary year of Portland Baths, we intend to continue to offer a fantastic place to swim and ensure the pool is sustainable, meaning people can say they learnt to swim at Portland Baths for years to come.”
The Nottingham Post report – http://www.nottinghampost.com/Council-hands-control-leisure-centre-charities/story-20587981-detail/story.html