Allan Takes Aim Blog

Olympic thought for the day

Posted on: 4 August 2012

When the winning stops

And so the Olympic merry go round keeps turning in a whirl of excitement that puts pressure on the athletes to please the nation’s desire for gold medals. Unfortunately, if the gold medals do not come the fickleness of the nation comes to the fore, and because we cannot bask in the reflected glory a host of gold medals would bring us, we start looking for people to blame.

This effect is not particular to Australia; it can be seen in most nations only because people have false expectations of their athletes’ capacity. Many politicians, managers and coaches, aided and abetted by the media increase these expectations, the politicians as they seek to justify increased sporting expenditure, the managers to justify them being retained as managers; and coaches to justify their asking for more money to set up training and talent identification programmes.

After events, and only when they see an egregious difference between athletes, do commentators say that perhaps our athletes didn’t win medals because the other competitors were better. No; generally the excuse for not winning medals is that Australia had been outspent by its competitors.

Sadly, too, there is a dark side to the winning of medals which, in the main, does not become noticeable until the winning stops. It is only too easy to become depressed when the adulation stops at which time some successful athletes subconsciously decide to engage in behaviour that will keep them in the limelight.

I write this not to excuse their behaviour but simply to say that it’s about time we decided to treat athletes in the same way as we treat other performers whose capacity to perform at a higher level is longer than the athlete. We should initiate programmes that will bring them down to earth. That way, not only will their future be better but Australia’s image will be enhanced.


7 Responses to "Olympic thought for the day"

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the theme came from WordPress. Regards, Don

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