Letter: Assessing achievement at the Olympics

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The Independent Online
Sir: Guy Hodgson took issue with the American Olympic basketball 'dream team' (Sport, 10 August). He implied that sport was the loser. True, the American team romped home in great style, but at the same time they showed the rest of the world the gap they have to close.

Inequality of achievement is nothing new in the Olympics. The early ice hockey tournaments were dominated by Canada. Scores of 16-17-18 to 0 or 1 were common. No one complained. Other nations learnt from Canada and the standard of the game improved markedly. In recent years, the former Soviet Union's full- time 'amateurs' have dominated the minnows and prevailed against Canadian youths. However, if the Winter Olympics were ever held in the southern hemisphere, outside the normal domestic season, Canada would send its own 'dream team' to contest the championship on a 'level field' for once.

Sorry, Mr Hodgson, 'dream teams' can only serve to excite interest in the Games and spur the competitors to greater heights of achievement.

Yours faithfully,


London, NW8

12 August