Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006

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Squall’s sports pages

Squall 14, Autumn 1996, pg. 62.

Much respect goes out to Alan Rapley, captain of the British Olympic swimming team, for demonstrating a passion for his art despite the financial desert.

Rapley spent four years preparing for the Centennial Olympics with no financial support other than the £46 a week he received on income support. Yes folks the British swimming captain is on the dole.

Rapley applied for a grant from the Sports Aid Foundation and was turned down three times and so went to Atlanta aided only by a £43.76 from the North-East Counties Amateur Swimming Association. What’s more, the patriotically-minded Department of Social Security stopped his benefits whilst he was over in America saying he was unavailable for work during that time.

The American press were stunned into silence by the Cuban baseball team during the Olympics.

Despite a US blockade which has forced the Cuban Government to ration food and energy to its people, the Cuban Olympic team did remarkably well in the medals table.

However, the coup-de-gras came when the Cuban Baseball team met the Americans and, before a packed American crowd, beat them 10-8. When asked whether the political animosity between the two countries made the victory any sweeter, the Cuban baseball team coach, Jorges Fuentes, replied: “Absolutely”.

The Cuban team went on to win gold.

After England’s defeat in Euro ’96 and Great Britain’s poor showing in the Olympic medals table, Conservative politicians have been in lament over the missed opportunity for a nationalist feel-good factor.

John Major’s photocall with Trevor Brooking and promise of more money for British sport failed to reignite any hope. Too little much too late.

Rumours abounded that if England won Euro ’96, a general election would have shortly followed. As it turns out the widely predicted polling date (May ’97) is now as far as is constitutionally possible from the great British summer of sport ’96.