I've followed and played sport all my life, and I'm fascinated by what makes individual and team success in sport, and can that translate to other walks of life. An amazing article today on the BBC website, may hold the key. How GB Cycling Went from Tragic to Magic
So when BC's new performance director Peter Keen stood up at the sport's annual conference a year later and said he wanted to make Britain the world's top Olympic cycling nation, many in the room wondered where they had found this guy. Such ambition and enthusiasm. It was all so, well, un-British.
Fast forward a decade, the sport is the jewel in our Olympic crown and the envy of the cycling world. It's very, very good and it knows it. Such confidence and success. It was all so, well, un-British.
Ever wondered why Britain has had no Grand Slam success in tennis. Why England is now the worst performing major football team now that Spain has won something? Now we know. It's a combination of investment and attitude, picking the right players and coaches. Group success even if it's individual performances, feeding off each other.
I always go to Borg, Edberg, Wilander. Ovett, Coe, Cram. One freak comes along, and starts a dynasty. Not by direct copying but by being in the presence of these guys and training with them, and believing you can do it. It's not about setting up centres of excellence, if you fill them with the wrong people. It's about being in the presence of greatness and some of it rubbing off. So what's going on in Spain!! What a year they've had, football, cycling, tennis. Where has that magic come from, and can it be reproduced? Is it luck, a chance happening, or is there something in the Spanish air, a self-belief?