Saturday, 10 January 2009

Is he really writing about cycling?

I watched ‘The Flying Scotsman’ the other night. It’s the inspiring tale of Graeme Obree, the world champion cyclist from, yes you guessed it, Scotland. If the movie is to be believed he possessed such raw talent he could achieve the seemingly impossible on little more than determination and the most basic of improvised preparations. All of which sits in stark contrast to the ‘aggregation of marginal gains’ that powered Team GB to so much cycling glory last summer. And this has got me thinking.

It seems Britain now has a system of producing winners on two wheels. If all goes well this should mean medals for years to come. A winning philosophy, along with knowledge and expertise, are being passed on. This may not make for a dramatic movie plot but it is building for greatness that is bigger and more lasting than one talented individual.

Every generation needs its heroes. One-man-against-the-world can be compelling but it is an unrealistic expectation for everyman. We must champion exceptional individuals but we must not overlook those who through careful coaching will exceed far beyond their wildest dreams. One person can change the world, but one winner could be a fluke, a freak of nature. However, a team of winners can change the outlook of a nation.

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