Tears and triumph for our Olympians

If Australians were expecting even a respectable haul of gold from the 30th Olympiad, it may be time to adjust these expectations. The reality check is here.

In the first three days we have seen the following results:

  • The men’s swimming relay coming fourth after a poor start when ‘missile’ Magnussen misfires. Magnussen brushes aside Olympic champion, turned commentator, Giaan Rooney with a brusque ‘no response’ as he leaves the pool
  • Breaststroke champion Emily Seebohm in tears on the podium after achieving a silver medal, lamenting the fact she had ‘failed’ her mother and father.
  • Convicted assaulter Nick Darcy misses out on the finals in the butterfly. Perhaps the posing with guns in a US shop, posted on Facebook, was a distraction. Or the long task of declaring bankruptcy and thus avoiding paying $180,000 compensation to swimmer, Simon Cowley, whose face he punched in, had exhausted him?
  • Lauren Jackson, captain of gold hopefuls, the Opals women’s basketball team, sits out the fourth quarter after collecting five fouls during the game
  • Sharpshooter Alethea Sedgman oversleeps her alarm and makes a late dash for barracks to miss the eight-person final in her event, but nevertheless claims she is “pretty satisfied’ with her performance.

To get more results from the Olympics visit www.abc.net.au 

Comment – Pride came before the fall

Was it really only four days ago that the 400-strong Australian contingent marched proudly into the London 2012 Olympic stadium? With Channel Nine commentators Eddie McGuire and Leila McKinnon positively eulogising about the talent, enthusiasm and good looks of our athletes. So much so that we saw footage of James Magnussen dancing to the music from Saturday Night Fever instead of viewing athletes from other countries including Austria and Japan enter the arena. Oh what a difference a day or two can make. The missile has misfired, the shooter sleeps in and our basketball captain is fouled off the court as we lose to the French.

Your taxes and mine have contributed to an excellent training program at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) so that talented young people across a range of sports can get the best training, coaching, nutrition and support that money in a rich country can buy. This program has been emulated around the globe in the wake of our success on the world stage in sports such as hockey, swimming, basketball and athletics. But it seems the one thing we have not taught our sporting sons and daughters is grace under pressure. It’s an old fashioned idea, but what ever happened to sportsmanship? If you get out of the pool after swimming badly, for goodness sake, have the guts to take the microphone and say so. And promise to try to do better next time—that’s all that’s needed. And if your country has paid for you to travel to London to represent it at the firing range—take ownership of your own responsibility to get out of bed on time. A small ask, really? And if you are captain of one of the few teams with genuine hopes of delivering gold, make sure you play within the rules and don’t finish the game watching the score go the wrong way in the dying minutes.

But there is a bright spot—I don’t know who her parents are, but take a bow Mr and Mrs Jones. The smiling Leisel came fifth last night, so far missing out on the chance to add a ninth medal to her current haul, and did she get out of the pool and cry? No way!

“I’m so proud with fifth. It’s tough, this is the best in the world. You can’t ask for anything more. I’m pretty pleased with that”, is what she said after the race.

Well done Leisel—singlehandedly you have saved the day and the Games for someone seeking sportsmanship, not just sport.

And for the others? I don’t care how ‘elite’ you are. You look like spoiled brats to me. It’s time to grow up, get over yourself and get on with the job at hand—being a good sport in all senses of the word.

What do you think? Are our elite athletes representing our country well?

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