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Headmaster's Blog

2016-09-16

I wonder if you, like me, became enthralled with watching the Olympics over the summer.  Not only was I enthralled, but I became obsessed by the medals table and could hardly believe it when we overtook China in the standings and became the second most successful nation in Rio.  It struck me that as a nation we have been on an amazing journey since our dismal performance in Atlanta in 1996:

Year Location No of Medals Rank
1996 Atlanta 15 36
2000 Sydney 28 10
2004 Athens 30 10
2008 Beijing 47 4
2012 London 65 3
2016 Rio de Janeiro 67 2

Over the last two decades we have witnessed a consistent improvement, both in terms of number of medals and our rank in the medals table.  It is clear, though, that this can’t have come about as a result of us having more talented athletes now than in 1996.  It has come about because we have become better at identifying and then preparing those athletes who have the dedication to train like champions.  We have become more focussed in how we target our resources.  We have created an environment where athletes are able to train full time and receive the support they need to make the most of that time.  We have relentlessly focussed upon marginal gains.  And all this has borne fruit.

I am convinced that there is much for us to take away from this as a school.  I believe that our achievements matter and we should strive for excellence.  We should avoid complacency and recognise that being good can be a barrier to being great.  We should not be shy of ranks and tables and orders, but be clear about where we stand and search for ways to improve.  In the words of the Olympic motto, Citius, Altius, Fortius…

John F Gilmour
Headmaster

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