U.S. Has Done Fine with No Government Department of Sports

U.S. Has Done Fine with No Government Department of Sports, by Paul Crookston.

Olympic rings

The U.S. … lead gold and total medals. These wins come in spite of the country’s unusual lack of government involvement in sports. Indeed, they may even come because of that lack of government involvement….

An Olympian clash of ideas:

This year, for the second time in a row, the U.S. beat China in women’s all-around gymnastics, despite prognosticators’ recent warnings that the Chinese government’s intense training programs would lead to that country’s domination of the sport.

Could it be that, despite warnings to the contrary, state power is less efficient at maximizing talent than individuals or local communities? In China, an elite group is trained to compete from a young age. But this poses problems, among them that the initiative is taken away from the athletes themselves, and the all-knowing state is assumed to be the best judge of talent and resource-allocation. And so, despite supposedly scooping up the best gymnastics talent and giving them the best training (and doing some cheating along the way) China continues to lose ground to a country that does not devote public funds to the Olympics, and that has a fraction of its population.

It does not take a genius to figure out that sports are best served by allowing the people that play them to plot their own course. …

Freedom to pursue one’s own dreams has led to an explosion of talent in U.S. sports, and it came primarily without guidance from the soft or strong hand of government.

hat-tip Matthew