US expect Aussies to struggle at London Olympics
The games of the XXX Olympiad begin in London in under a week’s time. Even though there’s been endless promotion of the upcoming Olympics, I personally feel as though Australia hasn’t quite caught the Olympic bug yet.
Once the Games begin however, it will be a case of leaving the same channel on for the next two weeks.
The Olympics, along with the FIFA World Cup, are two of my favourite sporting events. Many argue that the World Cup is bigger than the Olympics simply due to the fact more than 200 countries compete in it over a two year period before the final phase commences, which is the World Cup tournament in itself.
In London, There will be 205 countries represented with well over 10,500 athletes taking part in 300 events.
I look forward to watching our athletes making Australia proud on the world stage. I’m also looking forward to other athletes around the world like Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps do their stuff. But since we are Australians, let’s concentrate on how Australia will go in London 2012.
I wanted to have a look from an outsider’s perspective on how Australia will go in the Olympics. The media in Australia is biased and parochial – a lot of focus is on Sally Pearson and James Magnuessen. I came across USA Today’s website and found that Australia may have a tough time in London.
Here is their predicted medal count, from country with the most medals to the least.
G S B T
China 34 35 25 94
United States 41 20 27 88
Russia 21 27 33 81
Great Britain 17 27 19 63
Germany 20 20 20 60
Australia 10 12 18 40
France 11 13 13 37
Japan 9 15 11 35
Italy 10 10 13 33
Korea 10 3 14 27
Some of these predicted Aussie golds include James Magnussen or James Roberts in the swimming, Sally Pearson in the hurdles, Anna Meares in the Women’s Keiren cycling event and the men’s field hockey team the Kookaburras.
You could add Steve Hooker in the Pole Vault, but sadly he looks like he is continuing to suffer the ‘yips’. Beijing diving gold medallist Matthew Mitcham is off the pace and will have a fight on his hands against strong competition in China’s Qui Bo and Great Britain’s Thomas Daly in the Men’s 10m platform. Defending K1 1000 Champion Ken Wallace will also find it difficult in the Canoe/Flatwater Kayak event.
As you can see by the table, Great Britain will again beat Australia in another sporting contest as far as the medal tally is concerned. It certainly helps Great Britain have success after getting funding from a combination of British lotto and government support to the tune of roughly 500 million pounds over four years.
The Brits or English certainly have had the wood of Australia in recent times when it comes to other sports like Cricket, Tour de France and even Tennis with Andy Murray doing well, while their rugby side always seems to beat the Wallabies when it counts, especially around World Cup time.
Heading into the London Olympics here are Australia’s previous three games results
G S B T
Sydney 2000 Olympics 16 25 17 58 ranked fourth
Athens 2004 Olympics 17 16 16 49 ranked fourth
Beijing 2008 Olympics 14 15 17 46 ranked sixth
Judging by Australia’s most recent Olympic result in Beijing, many experts, along with the USA Today medal table, are predicting the continual slide in London with just 10 Gold medals and 40 overall. If this was to occur, it may raise doubts as to whether the Commonwealth need to contribute more into Olympics sports funding in the future, or Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) need to find other areas of revenue.
Other sports like AFL and NRL are perhaps looking towards launching their own channels online as a way to get new subscribers and advertisers once the NBN is in full swing. Perhaps it’s something the AOC need to consider because, at the end of the day, the AOC need to find new revenue streams rather than rely heavily on Federal government funding.
Australia in London will continue to punch above its weight with a population of just over 22 million. But if, down the track, Australia wants to punch like a heavyweight, then it needs more funding. Otherwise the slide will continue and Australia could find themselves outside the top ten.
Then again, what are the Olympics supposed to be about anyway?