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In 2005, during a Stanford graduation ceremony speech, Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, told the audience: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” His message? Don’t settle, don’t be afraid to take risks. Don’t be afraid to be daring and ambitious! Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

The contemporary world whose purchase of choice is the newest smart phone or software and emerging nations with new found spending power are redefining what sport means. Part of the new attitude to sport is the digital transformation—a world where it seems you are only as good as your internet connection.

The sheer talent, promise and potential of the nation’s youth and young people as represented by our athletes is simply breathtaking but you have to watch and pay close attention. In pursuit of their dream, in striving for excellence, our Olympic and Commonwealth athletes endure punishing hours of training and the arduous task of endless repetition.

Often their inspiration, dedication, resilience, commitment and self-discipline go unnoticed. Through sport, our talented sons and daughters break boundaries on the global platform that is the Olympic, Commonwealth and other multi-sport games.

For us at the Olympic Committee, we remain indomitable and passionate in our belief that the goal of the movement to use sport to educate and serve young people, is as relevant today as it was 2000 plus years ago.

One thing is certain: When we engage children and young people and reach out to them to bring them to sport, to show them the power of sport and the Olympic values, we must ensure that their inspirational role models our athletes are at the centre of what we do and why we do what we do.

Moreover, it is essential that we meet the integrity challenge by protecting Olympic and Commonwealth sports from the dangerous threat posed by doping, gambling, the cycle of corruption and poor governance.

If we don’t face these challenges our right to self-regulate, our autonomy, legitimacy our stewardship will be taken away from us. To whom much is given much is expected.

Therefore, I propose that the TTOC will continue to vigorously promote the adoption of good governance and ethics across the country’s Olympic and Commonwealth Sport movement and that we be unwavering and advocate and vigorously promote a good governance code for sport in T&T and ensure that affiliated NSOs align with the Olympic Charter and include in their constitutions basic universal principles of good governance.

The TTOC must lead from the front in championing for the development of a sport industry. This will require not just lobbying and finger pointing but the articulation of the conceptual framework that will inform the policy debate.

Our collective challenge is to take sport mainstream. Sport is still on the margins of T&T society. The children, youth and young people have a lot of different interests that present a threat to active sport and healthy lifestyles.

The responsibility to create and shape a bright sustainable future for tomorrow’s athletes and for sport on the whole falls to our generation of sport leaders, administrators, athletes and coaches.  We have to modernise how we market, promote and brand Olympic and Commonwealth sport and the Olympic and Commonwealth values and ideals to the current and future generation of public, media and corporate audiences.

The climb is steep. The hurdles are high. It is a challenge we must accept. It is a dream we must live and honour. Failure is not an option. There is no excuse. Let us fear not nor impose limits on ourselves.

Let us unite under the tent of our shared values and vision for sport and arm in arm walk our talk and be the change we want to see in doing so let us accept the advice of the late Steve Jobs and Stay hungry, Stay foolish.

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Recently, I was reviewing the programmes and work undertaken over the past 17 years by the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC).

One programme that has had a significant impact is the TTOC’s community based sport and recreation programmes.

The concept behind the community programmes is built on the TTOC working along and side by side with various stakeholders in sport, including national sport organisations, coaches, athletes, other sport leaders, corporate partners and government.

An example of such a programme would have been the Shape the Community programme in Point Fortin which was an ambitious programme that set out to fill gaps in sport education in the community through the training of community coaches and the involvement of community members, schools, NSOs and other partners.

Shape your Community focused on integrating sustainable sport and physical activity into the lives of the youth and elderly.

In conjunction with Atlantic LNG, the TTOC afforded children from primary schools in Point Fortin the opportunity to participate in sports that they would not normally be exposed to during the period 2008—2013.

In October 2008, the TTOC launched its legacy programme, Shape the Community. The objectives of the programme in the community are:

• Increase participation in sport, recreation and physical education across all age groups in the communities

• Integrate physical education programmes in primary schools

• Increase corporate involvement in the development of youth through sport

• Develop coaching as a profession

• Create sustainable employment opportunities for the profession of coaching

• Expose youth to sports of varying types in a structured manner

• Increase the reach of the TTOC’s and the IOC’s vision and goals for Olympism

• Establish a developmental pathway for sport in the communities in collaboration with national sport organisations and the Ministry of Sport.

Point Fortin was chosen as the pilot community. Ten primary schools in Point Fortin were chosen to participate in the programme after careful consultation with principals and teachers in the community, the three sports chosen were tennis, swimming and gymnastics.

Training and participation took place between Mondays and Fridays. Each session was one hour long and each class was assigned four hours of activity per month.

The TTOC arranged for the children and supervising teachers to be transported to the various venues. Coaches and volunteers were all recruited from within the community of Point Fortin.

The Point Fortin Borough Corporation supported the programme by waiving the fees for the use of their facilities—the Point Fortin Civic Centre, the Baby Lucas and Guapo Recreational Grounds.

Swimming took place at the Point Fortin community swimming pool in Egypt Village.

The gymnastics programme took place at the South West regional indoor facility.

Coaches were exposed to training along with the volunteers.

The Shape your Community programme was extended to Mayaro with plans to take the programme to other communities and was evaluated by researchers at the Sport and Leisure Academy at the University of T&T.

The intention of the evaluation included highlighting challenges, to work out solutions to these challenges, and to establish baseline measures for other communities across the country.

The Shape your Community project was the brainchild of TTOC past president Larry Romany. It is a programme that made a positive difference and showed that Olympism, the Olympic values and ideals had practical application and wasn’t just a nebulous idealistic notion.

On behalf of the TTOC I wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Be safe and keep Christ in Christmas. He is the reason for the season.

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There is a need to get serious about implementing policy. The discipline needed to effectively and efficiently implement and execute policy is proving elusive in T&T.

In sports, the focus tends to be on the big things, most times that boils down to getting the win or the W to use sport jargon.

Get the W.

But getting the Big W comes down to getting the little things right. It’s what is done on a daily basis—day to day that is critical.

Too often we don’t see the importance of the little things because they seem insignificant, so by failing to get the little things right we come up short.

It’s invariably the little things that determine the eventual outcome. You don’t know beforehand which ones they will be.

Every action can be game changing. Doing the little things right is critical.

The little things we fail to do or fail to see—and the result is less than we plan.

We fall short because some of us see policy discipline and policy process as little details that can be easily bypassed.

There are policy and policy guidelines but a lack of discipline in implementing is an ongoing problem.

If it isn’t politics and the politics of the day, personal opinion and judgment override policy.

A lack of policy discipline provides fertile ground for waste, mismanagement, dysfunction, ineffectiveness and inefficiency.

In every document you read that relates to the Ministry of Sport and Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago (Sportt) reference is made to the fact that what they both do is driven by the National Sport Policy established in 2002, and the strategic/operational plan of the Ministry of Sport.

It is acknowledged that execution of sporting initiatives is the responsibility of the various national sport organisations for the respective sports and that Sportt’s role is to facilitate the execution of the mandates of each National Sport Organisation (NSO).

Sportt at this time is responsible for providing support for the development of 16 sports. NSOs are managed on a grant funding arrangement. The criteria established by Sportt for accessing funding include submissions by NSOs of their strategic plan and annual operational plan, development plan based on the pathway model specific to their sport and audited financial statements and detailed budgets.

The three major pillars are high performance sport or elite sport; total participation in sport or sport for all and sport as an industry.

In the coming weeks we will take a closer look at the institutional framework and other key elements that make up the national sport policy and other policy guidelines in respect of the broader issues regarding the development of sport in T&T. Transparency and accountability demands that there be open and candid discussions. Indiscipline and failure to stick to the policy cycle is proving harmful to the sustainable development and management of sport here in T&T.

The sustainable development of sport depends on the quality of the policy framework.

We all need to get serious about the discipline required to effectively and efficiently implement and execute plans and policy.

How do we determine policy failure or success if we are reviewing and changing before implementing, monitoring and evaluation?

It’s not beneficial to rubber stamp systemic failure to implement and execute.

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Storm clouds, dark and ominous have enveloped the economic landscape. The price of oil is falling and with it optimism and high hopes.

Finance and Economy Minister Larry Howai last week in a statement to the House of Representatives announced that ministries will be ordered to review spending in light of an oil price beneath that budgeted.

“Ministries will therefore be required to review their budgets to determine areas where expenditure can be suppressed,” Howai said.

“The ministry will continue to monitor what is happening in the global environment and to refine our remedial fiscal measures to ensure that the country can respond appropriately to changes in the market for oil and gas.”

National sport organisations in T&T are impacted by the economy. Any reduction in revenue must be of concern to national sport organisations.

The Finance Minister indicated that all ministries must immediately reduce their expense by 45 million dollars each. He also indicated that further adjustments may be necessary as the situation continues.

National sport organisations must have conversations with their membership to prepare for the volatility that can be expected in light of the economic realities.

From a strategic management perspective, not many national sport organisations would have made allowances for the threat posed by falling oil prices.

In fact most national sport organisations have indicated that they were already faced with significant cuts based on what they had budgeted and submitted.

Sport administrators have suggested that they will have to take drastic measures in respect of their plans and programmes.

The next 12 months are critical in the context of Rio 2016 Olympics.

Any drastic curtailing of programmes and plans to properly prepare this country’s elite and high performance athletes and national teams will prove detrimental and may well put an end to any realistic chances of qualifying for Rio 2016 and for those who do qualify, hamper hopes of winning a coveted medal.

Uncertainty for national sport organisations and athletes can prove distracting but it need not derail efforts to achieve podium targets.

Overcoming the financial challenges will not be easy but remaining positive and determined is the perfect antidote.

Falling oil prices highlight the downside of the dependency on oil and gas as the main pillar of the economy.

Sport presents a number of opportunities and regardless of the price of oil, life will go on.

National sport organisations that are able to forge the appropriate strategic response will cope with the turbulence.

The main concern will be for our athletes. It will be the responsibility of the sport administrators to negate the pitfalls.

The importance of a well-structured resource allocation process becomes a critical success factor. How will national sport organisations invest resources? How will national sport organisations evaluate if its resource allocation is effective?

Falling oil prices and austerity measures need not be detrimental to national sport organisations and athletes. In fact it may well turn out to be a positive turning point for resource allocation within the T&T sport ecosystem.

In a very real sense falling oil prices and the adverse impact on the economy while troubling, presents the opportunity for national sport organisations to become more strategic.

• Brian Lewis is president of the T&T Olympic Committee. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Olympic Committee.

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I read the news on Wednesday, oh boy - 95 words precisely, in my newspaper at least, on those 40 landmark Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations.

'What is wrong with these people?' I thought. 'Don't they recognise the importance of a sports movement powerful enough to redraw the map of London?'

Then I reflected: if you take the 40 recommendations at face value, 95 words is probably about what they are worth for a mainstream news organisation.

A blueprint to make bidding for and staging the Olympic Games a slightly less daunting, slightly less costly process, and to inject slightly more flexibility into the way the sports programme is chosen, is hardly calculated to set pulses racing around the breakfast tables of Peoria or Antananarivo.

Even the most eye-catching proposal - recommendation 19: "The International Olympic Committee (IOC) to launch an Olympic Channel" - is something it should have done years ago.

The proposals, if passed next month, will pave the way for some useful innovations, but Thomas Bach's five-ring revolution it ain't.

I don't blame the IOC President for this.

As his compatriot Otto von Bismarck observed, politics is the art of the possible.

It would be disastrous for Bach, little more than a year into his tenure, were he to advocate a truly radical series of reforms and then get shot down in flames.

Furthermore, whatever may have been written in recent months as the race for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics has disintegrated before our eyes, the Olympic model is far from broken.


The Movement generated more than $8 billion (£5 billion/€6.5 billion) from broadcasting, sponsorship, ticketing and licensing in the four year cycle culminating with the London 2012 Games.

What is true is that the broadcasting and international sponsorship revenues that play such an important part in funding National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International Sports Federations (IFs) are set to pause for breath in the 2013-2016 quadrennium.

Instead, the main engine of growth looks set to be local sponsorship - but these proceeds are earmarked chiefly for the countries where the Games are staged, in this case Russia and Brazil.

So there is no crisis - but what is also self-evident, at least to me, is that the Movement has a structural problem that these recommendations will do, to use the technical term, diddly-squat to address.

The structural problem is that the Winter Games is not a global event because vast sweeps of the globe scarcely ever experience snow and ice.

So as a marketing platform for host countries they are far less powerful than their Summer counterpart.

And yet the hassle factor for the host population is nearly as great.

The solution is obvious.

No, nothing to do with the Jamaican bobsled team.

They should simply move some indoor disciplines with fans in lands where the water never freezes from the bursting-at-the-seams Summer Games to Winter.

Volleyball, for me, would be one strong candidate to make the switch; boxing another.

And why not offer sports, such as squash and karate, which have been battering at Lausanne's door in a so far unsuccessful attempt to get into the Olympics, the opportunity to join the Winter programme?

You get some idea of why Agenda 2020 has steered clear of this sort of thing, if you remember what happened to poor old Brian new-kid-on-the-block Cookson, President of the International Cycling Union (UCI), when he had the temerity earlier this year to suggest something similar.

"Let's think about the Winter Olympics," Cookson said. "Why does it have to be snow and ice?

"If you have a problem with Summer Olympics where the whole thing is perceived as overheated with too many facilities, too many sports, too many competitors and so on, why not look at moving some of the other sports indoors that traditionally take place in the northern hemisphere winter?

"Why not look at combat sports like judo, or other indoor sports like badminton?

"You could even say what about putting track cycling in the Winter Olympics?"

I agree with almost every word of that; yet poor old Cookson ended up having to apologise to International Judo Federation President Marius Vizer - and I can see why - for talking about sports other than cycling.

But if Agenda 2020 is not a suitable forum for giving such ideas a serious airing, you have to wonder what is.

The Winter Games has, I think, one other shot at gingering up interest in its rather jaded concept and producing a more competitive race for 2026, and that is if there is a strong southern hemisphere candidate.

But that would be a short-term fix.

The fundamental problem - that the cost-benefit analysis is not nearly as attractive as for a Summer Games while you do not have a genuinely global product - will remain.

Don't get me wrong: there are a fair few things in these 40 recommendations that it will be good to have: non-discrimination on sexual orientation as a fundamental principle; stronger relationships with organisations managing sport for people with different abilities; proper ceremonies for athletes who win medals after the event as a consequence of disqualifications; an insistence that Olympic Movement organisations comply with basic principles of good governance (though there is nothing about what the consequences would be if they don't).

But there is much that seems vague (recommendation 28 on the key issue of autonomy); little flashes of the old self-indulgence (is it really necessary to spell out quite so baldly that "the field of play for the athletes to always be state-of-the-art for all competitions"?); and the odd line that is plain silly (is the IOC's "ultimate goal" really "to protect clean athletes", as recommendation 15 would have it? I'm not saying that's not important, but I'd have thought its "ultimate goal" was to organise outstanding Games).

The other short-term problem that I fancy the IOC may now face is that if the mainstream media judges the content of Agenda 2020 to be worth only 95 words of its real estate, it may focus instead on where next month's Session, at which the members will pass their verdict, is taking place.

Monte Carlo, with its casino and luxury car showrooms, is a delightful place; but it is not necessarily the ideal backdrop for an organisation at present struggling to convince people that it is in tune with these waste-averse, exceptionally cost-conscious times.

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