A fine display on the court

Deborah Punshon
Deborah Punshon

A recent poll suggests children start to worship celebrities like actors and sportspeople when they are just nine years old.

The same survey says many of the 2000 parents interviewed feared that could lead to their children developing the wrong kind of values.

Perhaps they mean values that can be associated with money and stardom - conceit, pride, arrogance.

But I think these parents should take a peak at what happened in the sporting world at the weekend.

More and more, stars of the court, track and pitch are developing into great role models for our children.

They give it absolutely everything, and are gracious in victory as well as in defeat.

On Sunday, tennis number one Novak Djokovic was beaten in the French Open by 30-year-old Stan Wawrinka.

Wawrinka’s victory, or more accurately Novak’s defeat, stunned everyone at Roland Garros, the millions watching on TV and probably the two finalists themselves.

But a disappointed Novak, who is becoming quite the speechmaker, praised the new champion, adding that he had character and respect, virtues more important than winning or victory.

Fine words, particularly from ‘the loser’.

Also this week, track cyclist Bradley Wiggins broke the UCI hour record by travelling 33.88 miles in 60 minutes.

Wiggo - a CBE - said afterwards he was honoured to be among the greats of the sport.

Everyday, there are dozens of opportunities for our children to be led astray, but it may be getting easier to expose them to something a bit more aspirational.