Posts Tagged ‘Olympics’

Nature, Nurture and all things Equal

February 9, 2014

Men's 100m final Usain Bolt

All of the finalists in every men’s Olympic 100 meters from 1984 onwards have been black. Not only that but all have had their family origins  in sub-Saharan West Africa, whose inhabitants are genetically programmed to run fast.

Speed over short distances comes from fast-twitch muscle fibres, which contract twice as fast as slow-twitch. Calf muscles of elite sprinters have 75% fast-twitch. Half milers have 50-50 fast, while long distance runners mostly slow. Although slower they can endure longer, which might explain why Jamaica produces elite sprinters such as Usain Bolt but no long distance stars.

The fastest Jamaican 10,000 meter runner would not have qualified for the London Olympics.

The Sports Gene David EpsteinI was fascinated by the subject matter in the review of a book by David Epstein called “The Sports Gene” in a magazine called Oldies, on our way to Munich. (Oldies !! I know what you are thinking – what was Greg doing reading that? It just looked like the most interesting magazine on the shelf at the airport newsagent. Some fabulous articles in it.)

One of the central themes in the book was: Are we purely a product of our genes or can we shape our destiny by dedication and hard work?

This is a difficult topic as it forces you into areas such as race, genetics, gender in our politically correct world.

There are definite conclusions in the well researched book such as  “sporting prowess is in fact, usually down to your genes plus plenty of practice“.

Michael Shermer in his review of the book in the Wall Street Journal commented  “it was bound to put the cat among the pigeons with the blank-slate crowd who think we can all be equal as long as we equalise environmental inputs such as practice“.

There are things that some people due to race, gender or genetics are just better at and instead of fighting this we should understand it, appreciate it and even embrace it.

Whether it is sport, work or life instead of arguing and getting all riled up about the imbalanced percentages we should try better to understand why this is the case and explore if it is nature causing the differences and nothing else.

The most important thing for me is that if I want to run the 100 metres, become a ballet dance, operate a crane, play the drums, become a nurse, become a politician, or start a new business I can.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin

Katie Frenzy

August 10, 2012
Katie Taylor - Frenzy !

You just “have” to win Katie

Like the rest of you the Fuzion crew ended up ducking out of work early and headed to Sober Lane (great name for a bar!) to watch Katie Taylor’s Gold Medal Winning Olympic Fight.

I must admit that I had never seen her box before these Olympics but my heart was in my mouth for that really close, nerve racking match as we all watched on the edge of our seats.

Of course it was fabulous for Ireland to win a Gold medal and it was extra special that such a special young girl did it for us, but I did feel there was an extra dimensiongoing on.

To me it felt as if the whole country had funnelled all of our hope, our depression about the recession, our frustration about the lousy weather and even our disappointment about the Euro Championships onto the shoulders of this girl and really “needed” her to do something great – we really, really needed her to do this, maybe in a disproportionate way? After the fight was over I saw a tweet by someone who declared the “recession to be officially over” – I knew what she meant!

The match was really strange with both boxers being very cagey and slow to engage – it had all of us quietly biting our nails but then I listened to the Irish crowd in the stadium and they were literally in a “frenzy” lifting the roof off with their sheer noise. I wondered were they even watching the match? – if they were as nervous as we were, they would have been in near silence. I worried at one point that they might pressurise Katie into launching right in there too quickly, but she kept her focus and did her job.

Were we watching more than a contest for an Irish gold medal – I wonder?

Well done Katie & thank you! 

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Blaming Twitter – Tom Daley

July 31, 2012
Tom Daley - Olympics Twitter

What will I tweet?

An insensitive fool sends a tweet to British Olympian Tom Daley telling him “he let his dad down” , after Tom and his synchronised swimming partner, Peter Waterfield narrowly missed out on medals at the Olympics yesterday.

Tom’s dad Rob passed away in 2011 from Brain cancer. How dumb was that tweet? ….then again, how often do we hear people saying dumb things?

The tweet is dominating the Sky Sports News headlines this morning and authorities are going to “conduct an investigation“. On the way into work I heard they have the tweeter tracked down and he is going to be called in for questioning …for a dumb tweet, now that is also fairly dumb!

This whole incident will open up the debate and the inevitable conclusion by many, will be that Twitter is to blame.

This story reminds me of a debate I have regularly with a friend of mine who was a very prominent broadcaster a while back. She gives out about social media, doesn’t see the point of it and is generally very sceptical about its whole existence.

I remember one particular day she rang me all enthusiastic as she finally had great evidence that would prove her point of view. The famous singer Sinead O’Connor had just tweeted that “she was looking for a big hairy man“!

I just pointed out to her that Sinead O’Connor has always had a tendency for saying strange things – now she just has another place to say them!

Twitter is an open platform (you can control this with your personal settings but most users leave their profiles open) where everyone can tweet whatever they have to say – Yep, often this does include quite dumb stuff!

Celebs, sports personalities and even politicians use it to boost their profiles, to make a point, to promote events or products. They can get a huge benefit from it if they use it properly. Mere mortals like ourselves and that dumb tweeter can also jump in there, lap it up and punch away at our keyboards pushing our own little messages out there, whatever those might be.

Like everything else in life if it’s interesting I’ll listen and if it’s not I won’t – if that person is an insensitive fool or I just don’t like them I can simply block them.

Tom Daley did the right thing and retweeted what that fool had said and easily exposed his “dumbness” – that was the very best way of dealing with the situation. As I write Tom Daley has 783,041 followers on twitter – I would call that job done!

So, forget the further action by the authorities, forget the twitter bashing, embrace that we do live in a free society where we are free to speak.

But remember if you say something dumb, a lot of people can get to see it …

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion with offices in Cork and Dublin provide social media training and consultancy