I confess that I have had taken a little more pleasure in the Olympics than I predicted -- although I still admire the achievements more than I want actually to watch them. But I have become more interested, once again, in the background of these elite athetes. Who are they? Where do they come from -- and how?
I decided to have a look, not entirely at random, at the Olympic squad of 19, including reserves, that gave us our gold medal winning women's hockey team. Let me underline that I am not knocking these young women who have trained and practised beyond what most people could contemplate and -- as a quick google will turn up -- have obviously done a load of outreach events at schools and clubs, spreading the word about sport. Hats off to them.
But their background (again I am relying on google here) is not exactly ordinary. Out of the 19, I reckon that 10 went to independent school (and 3 to one independent school alone, that is Repton). 11 read Sports Sciences at university. Only one (a woman of Asian origin who, for what it's worth, went to an independent school) seems anything other than white British. Several have a family background in sport. The excellent captain is not only married to another team member, but her mother is a sports academic, her sister a professional hockey player in Holland, married to a Dutch male hockey international.