Student Well-Being

Physical Education’s Role in the 2012 London Olympics

By Bryan Toporek — August 10, 2012 1 min read

Before the London Olympics wraps up this Sunday, I thought it only appropriate to take a quick look at the role that physical education has been playing in these summer Games.

First, from the BBC: Australia’s performance at the London Olympics reportedly has the head of Australia’s Olympic Committee, John Coates, committed to spending more money and effort in school-based sports.

As of the end of today, the Australians rank seventh in the world in the overall medal count, and ninth in terms of gold medals. Comparatively, Australia finished within the top six nations in the overall medal count in each of the past three summer Olympics prior to London.

“Unfortunately, it’s taken the debacle at London to really highlight the decline of school sport in the Australian educational system,” said Steve Georgakis, a senior lecturer in pedagogy and sports studies at the University of Sydney, to the BBC.

In terms of population, Australia ranks 54th in the world, according to the website of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Meanwhile, in Great Britain, a controversy was sparked this week when news broke that the British Department for Education would no longer be forcing schools to provide at least 120 minutes per week of physical education and sport.

Prime Minister David Cameron only added fuel to the flame by saying in a radio interview that some British schools met those targets “by doing things like Indian dance or whatever, that you and I probably wouldn’t think as sport,” according to

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.