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The country's Olympic chief has said that too many of Britain's top sportsmen and women were privately educated. Lord Moynihan has spoken out saying it is "wholly unacceptable that more than 50% of medallists at the Beijing Olympics came from independent schools". This means that half of Great Britain's medals come from just 7% of the population who are privately education. He is calling for an overhaul of school sport policy so that Olympic sport has the same ratio of state to private school pupils as football.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, one third of Team GB went to independent schools, they included multiple gold medallists Sir Chris Hoy and Ben Ainslie.
Private schools can normally afford to devote more time to sport and have better facilities and often top-class coaches. This is especially the case where taking part in expensive sports such as equestrian events and sailing.
Rowing has already taken action to address the imbalance; over a decade ago a programme was launched to pick teenagers from comprehensive schools who had the necessary physique to become elite rowers. This years games saw the results with over 50% of the rowing team coming from state schools.
Amateur sports clubs and charities are key to helping those from less advantaged backgrounds. Richard Harrison, director of research at CAF, has said that the last eight years have been a real challenge for them due to the financial pressures: "We need people to keep backing local sports clubs and charities as well, to ensure they can continue to support grassroots sport, and all the other causes we care about."
Read the article here: Olympics 'dominated by privately educated'
on 03 August 2012