Australia can still be Olympic top five, says Green

By , 18 Apr 2012

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    One hundred days before the Olympic Games, team chief Nick Green still believes Australia can stay in the top five on the medals table, as long as the swimmers convert silver to gold.

    A shift in power back to Great Britain at this month’s track cycling world championships could result in Australia slipping from a forecast fourth placing in London with 15 gold to as low as eighth and 12 gold.

    But Green was hoping the swimmers could upgrade some of the 10 silver medals they won at last year’s world championships to gold in London to keep Australia among the elite.

    “Cycling’s one event, but we have got other disciplines we expect will win more medals than we did at world championships,” Green said.

    “Swimming’s a good example. We won a bucket load of silvers at the world championships and only two gold. Ideally the team can turn those silvers into gold.

    “Although the cycling may level itself out, we anticipate we can make some gains in other sports at the same time.

    “Top five, absolutely. We don’t need to readjust that. I think top five is the respectful and rightful position for Australia to aspire to.”

    The Australian Olympic Committee’s benchmarking figures late last year had Australia winning 15 gold to Britain’s 14.

    Based on world championship or equivalent events for 2011, the figures included the six gold won by Australia and the one claimed by Britain in Olympic events at last year’s track cycling world championships.

    But Britain won five of the 10 Olympic events at the Melbourne world titles a fortnight ago, while Australia took out three, swinging the predicted gold medal haul in London to 18 for Britain and 12 to Australia.

    With Wednesday marking 100 days until the July 27 opening ceremony, Green said athletes are in the phase of finding that minuscule extra that could prove the difference between gold and silver.

    “From the athletes’ point of view, 100 days to go really signifies the fine-tuning process,” Green said.

    “Clearly the athletes can make improvements although, in the last 100 days, the improvements are only in the small percentiles – half per cent, one per cent, two per cent.

    “They know that improvement is vital because it could be the difference between getting in the final or not or on the podium or not.”

    With only 77 athletes of the expected team of around 400 selected so far, many others are still chasing qualification.

    © AAP 2014
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