Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has warned Barbadians about the danger of satisfying themselves with mediocrity, whether in the area of sport or any other sphere, saying it will not take the country forward.

Mr. Stuart made the comments today, after being taken on tour of the Barbados Olympic Centre and its museum at Wildey, St. Michael.

He said that consistent pursuit of the highest possible standards in our national life was required and he identified the area of sport as a good place to start, as it attracts people from the cradle to grave.

Describing the tour as educational, the Prime Minister disclosed that he was planning to hold discussions with the Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, and relevant stakeholders about the Centre. ???I will have a few recommendations to make in terms of how best we can make this machinery work better, how best we can mobilise greater support for your efforts here at the Barbados Olympic Centre and how best we can get more of our young people interested in what you are doing and stay interested beyond the point of just one or two performances.

??????I think one of the big challenges we have had in Barbados, and it is not limited to sport either, is that one-off performances are now treated as occasions for coronation. You get a???one-off performance and a red carpet is rolled out for the performer, he or she is crowned with laurels and becomes a hero overnight.???

According to Mr. Stuart, for a person to be dubbed a hero or genius he should have a certain amount of stick-to-it-ive-ness, and have run the race and done well more than once. He lamented that over the past 25 years he has had cause for great concern when he watched one-off performances qualify people for such high ratings as genius and hero.

He also expressed concern that too many athletes were going to a certain point and then quitting. ???I was not heartened by the fact that we are not able to keep them interested in the sport for as long as you would wish and that is something on which we have to work.

???I hope that we can effect greater synergies between what happens here and the Ministry of Sport and the National Sports Council and all the other pieces of the sporting architecture of Barbados, so that we do not approach sport in a stochastic or chaotic way, [but] that we approach it in a holistic and coherent way and that we get the best out of our young people,??? he suggested.

The Prime Minister commended the management and staff of the Centre, saying they were doing a marvelous job pushing Barbados??? athletic fortunes.

He acknowledged that the athletes had not been sparkling in their performances, but stressed that the officials should not slacken their resolve. ???We just have to continue trying to encourage our young people to maximise their performances in the Olympic sports because ultimately, sport helps to build character. It teaches you how to win, how to behave in the win and how to behave when you lose???most important of course it teaches you about fairness,??? he remarked.

President of the BOA, Steve Stoute, thanked the Prime Minister for touring the facility and said he looked forward to working with Government and the various agencies to develop healthy minds and healthy youths in Barbados.

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