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Physical Education's Role in the 2012 London Olympics

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 The Guardian.

Instead, Cameron encouraged students to be "doing as much sport in schools as possible," The Guardian reported.

Kelly Holmes, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and the British government's adviser on school sports, tweeted her view on Wednesday: Schools should be required to offer at least two hours of phys. ed. per week, with designated phys. ed. teachers in primary schools. (The Guardian has more on Holmes' stance.)

And back stateside, in North Carolina, some educators have been taking in the Olympics with a watchful eye, searching for lessons from Olympians that they could impart to their students.

"I'm looking for their form," said swimming instructor Laura Gould to the News & Observer, "what makes them good, and how I can apply that to my own school."

Have you found a way to tie the Olympics into your classroom? We'd love to hear of any creative examples down in the comments section.

Want all the latest K-12 sports news? Follow @SchooledinSport on Twitter.

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