I see Australia has been flattened this Olympics, particularly in the pool. Honestly, I’m not bothered by it. In fact, I think we needed a disappointing run. There is far too much in the way of pressure and expectations piled onto our athletes, and a lot of the broadcast media in particular seem to think the only way to represent your country is to win lots of medals. I was watching the rowing last night when Great Britain beat Australia in the men’s coxless fours and the commentators kept talking about how the Australian team was drawing closer and closer to the British crew, and that it would surely go right down to the wire – but looking back over the race, Great Britain maintained a gap of 0.6 seconds over the entire field from the 500m mark. Likewise, the commentators were prepared to call the women’s triathlon two kilometres from the end of the race and award Erin Densham the gold medal, but in the last few hundred metres, Nicola Spirig and Lisa Norden broke free and relegated Densham to third.
But if you want an athlete who epitomises Australia’s attitude to the Games, look no further than James Magnussen (I’m embarrassed to admit I was born in the same town as him). He lost the men’s 100m freestyle to Nathan Adrian by just a tenth of a second, and then stood on the podium and pouted. He just won a silver medal, for crying out loud! I can understand the disappointment at being beaten like that, and that knowing your personal best would be enough to win the gold, but to say in an interview that you were expecting to win is outrageous. Compare that to Cristina Iovu and Anatolie Ciricu, who both won bronze medals for the tiny eastern European nation of Moldova – they were exhilirated just to be at the Olympics, and I have it on good authority (my best friend is Moldovan) that the entire nation went bonkers when they won bronze.
I think the Australians need to take a good, hard look at themselves before the Games in Rio. I’m embarrassed by their attitude, which I find to be the antithesis of one of the nation’s core values: fair play in the spirit of competition. I’ll go ahead and say it: we’re a bunch of sore losers.
But what do you guys think of Pistorius?
There’s techncially nothing preventing a double amputee from entering the Olympics. It’s not the first time something like this has happened – there was an Australian fencer in Beijing who was deaf, and he claimed it helped his concentration, though he needed a visual cue to tell him when to take position or when a hit had been registered. Pistorius should be allowed to run.