The Daily Telegraph today featured a story called “The Great Coach Poach” relating to how Australia’s greatest sporting coaches have guided overseas althletes to at least 14 gold medals in swimming, rowing, cycling and triathlon.
While these coaches are no doubt good at what they do, it is no doubt that the payment of lucrative salaries that are encouraging Australian coaches to takes their skills offshore.
Denis Cotterell is rumoured to have been paid $500,000 after Chinese swimmer Sun Yang won gold in the 1500m and 400m freestyle events. Ken Wood, another swimming coach, stated “China pays four times what I get from Australian swimmers” he said. He added, “It would frighten you if I told you the amount.”
The AOC deputy chef de mission, Kitty Chiller was reported as saying “We can’t deny them a livelihood. By allowing them to coach overseas athletes we are still getting the benefit from them.”
Shane Sutton is the personal coach of Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins. Wiggins also won gold in the individual time trial at London 2012. Fellow Australian coach Tim Kerrison is also supporting the British Cycling Team.
The Telegraph quantified the “expat tally” this way:
- Cycling: Shane Sutton – 4 gold; Tim Kerrison – 1 gold
- Rowing: Paul Thompson – 3 gold; Tim McLaren – 1 gold
- Swimming: Ken Wood – 2 gold; Denis Cotterell – 2 gold
- Triathlon: Brett Sutton – 1 gold
Until Australian sport can offer salaries commensurate with those that can be earnt overseas, this sporting “brain drain” is set to continue and to the detriment of Australian sport.
I have commented on this in earlier posts, as has my fellow blogger in Doohan It This Way. I am referring the amount of poor press that the Australian Olympic team has received from Australian sporting commentators. They have suggested that somehow Australia’s althetes have “failed”, “let their country down”, “disgraced the green and gold” and other terms of derision. As Australia’s “expected” haul of medals is ever decreasing, this criticism has gone into overdrive.
Now I read in The Daily Telegraph of August 4th, 2012, with a headline “Stoush over failures in pool”, that Australia’s swim boss Leigh Nugent has now blamed Australia’s poor performance in the pool as “the nation’s easy life”. When forced to offer an explanation for Australia’s worst swimming performance in 16 years, Nugent could only say “we live in society where people look for the easy way”. He went on the say that “most of our girls, the Aussie girls, are carrying too much weight”. Nugent also stated “We had a team of stars a few years, ago!”
I am personally disgusted that the head of the swim team has had the audacity to utter this absolute drivel. Australia has presented it’s best swimmers for these Games. If somehow they have not performed, it’s because they competed against faster swimmers from the US and China or wherever. There is no disgrace in being beaten at this level of competition. They have NOT failed, they have NOT let their country down and they have NOT disgraced the green and gold. Rather, they have simply done their best, given their all and should be applauded for doing just that.
In other sports, if a team does not win, they sack the coach/manager. Maybe that’s what is needed here!
In an associated story, London 2012 has been referred to as the “Twitter” Games with our athletes being subjected to repetitive and numerous vile and offensive Tweets. Emily Seebohm was particularly targeted for crying after her sliver medal performance in the 100m backstroke. Twitter has been described by a sports counsellor, Matt Bulcher, as “a poisonous medium where people for no reason fire off the most ascerbic barbs” He further suggested to athletes that they “leave Twitter alone”. He also warned athletes that “if you must go on Twitter, you must understand that there will be a lot of hatred directed towards you”.
What are we coming to as a society?
I was going to reblog Andrew’s fine commentary on the Olympic Games, but instead see his blog Olympic Spirit here.
I echo his view in in its entirety.
Now I’m not into the Olympics one little bit for the very reasons that Andrew has described. I didn’t even watch the opening ceremony. If the commentary teams somehow think that certain athletes have been disappointing to their country, or have in some way failed, then maybe they should get their own asses out there and see if they can do better. The spirit of the Olympics Games is not to win the Games. It is to get out there and do your absolute personal best in the company of the best athletes in the world. If you do get a medal, so much the better, but if you’ve given it your all, then one can ask for nothing else. The “commentariat” (as Andrew puts it) do not speak for me and the words disappointing, failure, poor performance are certainly unacceptable. On news bulletins, I have seen athletes distraught and in tears after failing to win that “expected” medal after hype from commentary teams. This cannot be helpful. I wonder if the other nations commentary teams describe ther athletes performance in a similar fashion.
In my opinion, the Olympics has changed, and for the worst, when the IOC removed the pre-requisite of competitors having amateur status.
I will not be watching (Olympic) TV for the next 10 days.
While doing my daily troll through my usual webs sites, looking for inspiration for a new post, I found the following video on the Macedonian International News Agency (MINA) web site.
It is a video of Australia’s Michelle Jenneke winning the 100m hurdles at the Junior World Championships held in Barcelona in 2012.
She started into a little dance as she loosened up prior to the race and continued it after the race was won. The girl knows how to be happy and have fun. See if you agree.