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EditorialsUp Front 09/04

Up Front 09/04

Summer is a great time for medals. Country shows, village fetes and even open days offer the opportunity to see some form of animal, (man, woman or otherwise), parade around with a cup, a ribbon or a sparkling disc. Now that the Olympics are over and winners are given ‘hero’ status, we can look forward to a raft of new faces opening next year’s village fetes, children’s nurseries and flower shows. Though many people claim we heap too much praise on our athletic ‘heroes’, a Warwick based philosopher contends that some top athletes fulfil a vital social function, as they can provide happiness, hope, inspiration, release from care and a sense of national identity. Dr Angie Hobbs from the University of Warwick, agrees the term ‘hero’ can be questioned, saying: “A sportsperson cannot be a hero on the same scale as a D-Day veteran, yet a community’s longing for heroes to cheer, motivate and unite them will still continue in peacetime. Sport provides the chance for peacetime heroes to emerge. And many sporting events – such as running, jumping, swimming, throwing and wrestling – celebrate skills which humans originally needed to hunt and fight – in short, to survive.”
Whether winners or qualifiers, people like Paula Radcliffe, Kelly Holmes and Honiton’s Jo Pavey can hold their heads high and open as many fetes as they wish – it takes physical and moral courage to produce their sporting achievements, and in a negative world, that offers welcome inspiration.

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