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They play hard, they play often, and they play to win. Australian sports teams win more than their fair share of titles, demolishing rivals with seeming ease. How do they do it? A big part of the secret is an extensive an expensive network of sporting academies underpinned by science and medicine. At the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) hundreds of youngsters and pros live and train under the eyes of coaches. Another body, Australian Sports Commission, finances programmes of excellence in a total of 96 sports for thousands of sportsmen and women. Both provide intensive coaching, training facilities and nutritional advice.

I am not sure what fair share means here, and I have my doubts whether programmes of excellence simply means excellent programs.

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Literally, "fair share" means an equal or otherwise equitable division. If you have eight slices of pizza, and eight people, each person gets one slice of pizza. If one person eats two slices, meaning someone else doesn't get a slice, then that person is said to have eaten more than his "fair share."

In this context, it's a mild form of hyperbole. The writer isn't actually saying that it's unfair that Australians win so much; he's just saying they win a lot; more than you would expect the average team to win.

As for "programmes of excellence," you are correct that it means something different from "excellent programs." Usually, it is a program designed to recognize or reward excellence.

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+1, but I'd say "recognize or reward or encourage ..." – StoneyB Apr 21 '14 at 16:49
@chapka - Thank you so much. But in order to reward excellence? Would you simplify the term? How do they reward or encourage excellence ? By stimulating or clapping ? Or something and what do they mean by saying excellence? Be a better sportperson? – user5036 Apr 21 '14 at 17:00
@user5036: A "program of excellence" is a pretty vague term for any organised training program, awards scheme, etc., that somehow promotes excellence (as opposed to mere adequacy). Here's how one organisation define the requirements for their versions. – FumbleFingers Apr 21 '14 at 18:26

In my interpretation programmes of excellence means programmes designed to improve performance.

Excellence would be the goal of those programmes.

(Pardon the pun)

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