In the second part of his Olympic review, Tom McNab analyses the pole vault, long jump and distance events
Let’s start by recapping where athletics is positioned. It is not a developing sport, except for in nations coming from a low base. Therefore, if British athletics wishes to improve it must change outlook and look to other sports for example. That will mean better deployment of existing resources and use of experienced coaches.
Equally importantly, we can’t continue to offer at club-level a service relying on an uncertain voluntary force. Much of the income has been spent indirectly on networks or development officers instead of performance, but that must change. We must re-examine our competitive structure and try to maintain more of the vanishing youth athletes.
SWUP is a term I created as an immediate reaction to Renaud Lavillenie’s conduct in the Olympic pole vault final. It stands for Strategic Wisdom Under Pressure, summing up the Frenchman’s superlative effort. Rain had lashed down pitilessly on the vault runway and he decided to wait until it had subsided, entering on a dry runway as late as 5.75m, by which time the Canadian Shawnacy Barber had vanished.