In 2013 when the vision of ten or more Olympic gold medals by the year 2024 was announced by the Olympic movement, there were those who felt it was unrealistic. However, in 2014, a sports sentiment survey commissioned by the Olympic Committee (TTOC) found that 76 per cent of the population believes that winning ten Olympic gold medals by 2024 is achievable with proper planning and implementation.
In August 2013, Solutions by Simulation (SBS) was approached by the TTOC to conduct a nationwide survey to guage the opinions and perceptions of the public concerning sport and the TTOC. The survey sought to provide a quantitative evidence base to allow for data driven information for the TTOC’s strategic plan.
The survey found that a significant per centage of the population support sport with 85 per cent of the population saying they were sports fans. Some 76 per cent of the population view corporations that support sport favourably. Another 77 per cent support the use of public funds for sport while 79 per cent indicated they enjoyed playing sports.
While surveys may represent the populations views at a particular point in time, they can also provide critical information. Certainly I am a proponent of surveys and polls and hold the strong view that without necessary research be it surveys, polls, focus groups etc, decision making can be flawed and biased.
The 2014 survey found that 92 per cent of the population believe that young people should be encouraged to pursue sport as a career and 78 per cent consider a good sportsman and woman a hero. Some 89 per cent of those surveyed believe that sport can have a role to play in the fight against crime while 79 per cent feel that success in sport is necessary to be considered a great nation.
Ninety-three per cent felt that a village or town is not complete without a sporting ground. Just over 80 per cent think that the Olympic rings symbolise excellence, respect, hope, optimism. Ninety-seven per cent believe sport can teach important skills that can be used in other aspects of life. It is not far fetched to believe that there is a national consensus that sport matters.
What the surveyed made abundantly clear is that national sport organisations—the TTOC included—have the opportunity to be significant contributors to national development through sport. The public is on the side of sport and wants sport to be well led and governed. It is also clear that weaknesses aside the challenge is to seize and build on the opportunities.
As we acknowledge as a nation and people, the 53rd anniversary of Independence, it is essential that we sharpen our focus on sustainable development and nation building. Sport matters to Trinidad and Tobago. We must remain ever vigiliant and focused. Acheiving great things and greatness is not beyond our capabilities or our capacity.
We are a talented,creative, resourceful and inventive people. Sport is no exception. Trinidad and Tobago be brave, be fearless, let’s believe in ourselves. We are a great nation. Let us believe in ourselves and a bright future. No matter the obstacles, challenges or failures, together we can achieve greatness.
Brian Lewis is the President of the Olympic Committee. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Olympic Committee.
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