Over the weekend, respected economist David McWilliams turned his attentions to sport and, in the Sunday Business Post, he labelled the Irish boxing team the “most successful sports team in the world.”
It is unclear what formula the Dubliner is using to justify and quantify this claim, although he draws attention to how “over the past ten years in the Olympics, the World Championships, the European Championships and the new EU Championships, this team has won 57 gold medals, 49 silver medals and 96 bronze medals,” as well as the “some 202 medals have been won by Irish boxers from schoolboy/girl up, in international championships since 2003.”
Additionally, the number-cruncher is talking in terms of per capita figures and Ireland compares highly favourably to large countries such as China and the U.S.A.
Indeed, McWilliams is not misguided in his praise of the Irish boxing team who have recently become known as ‘The Cuba of Europe.’
For those wondering what interest an economist may have in an Olympic boxing team, McWilliams believes that even businesses can learn from the inspiring story of the High Performance Unit, arguing that “the story of Billy Walsh and Irish boxing is the story of winning against the odds, and it could be the template for every small business in the country.”
“if we work hard enough, prepare meticulously enough and adopt the discipline and focus of the best, there is no reason we can’t be the best too.”