Why I’m sick of Australian swimmers and their tears
The girls were beaming, the flag was hoisted, and Advance Australia Fair was being blasted on television screens right across the world.
It was a proud night to be an Australian, as the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay team picked up our first gold medal of the 2012 London Olympics.
You felt proud to call yourself an Australian.
Fast-forward then to the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay, where we were once again expected to compete for the gold medal, and the same pride was evident once more.
The likes of James Magnussen and James Roberts were bound to bring home a medal for the Aussies, and we could finally claim bragging rights over the United States and Michael Phelps.
But after a slugging swim from Magnussen, a strong swim from Phelps and an incredible finish from the French, Australia found themselves out the medals and clueless as to what had gone wrong.
They had been blown away. They were simply not good enough.
Which, in itself, is absolutely no problem whatsoever. The four men in the pool had tried their hardest to do their nation proud and satisfy the desires of the millions watching them, and they had failed.
We would be proud, no matter what.
Well, that was until the tears.
The tears, the hands on hips, the pouting look away from the camera but still clearly in sight of the camera, was nothing to be proud of. James Magnussen’s comments about “I have nothing to say” are nothing we should be proud of.
These are professional athletes representing their country. They are to be professional and know that whatever the outcome is, they are to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the nation they are representing. They are to be gracious winners or gracious losers – whatever the outcome may be.
Yet what Magnussen did had nothing to the appalling performance by Australian backstroke sensation Emily Seebohm, who burst into tears following her silver medal in the women’s 100m backstroke final.
And no, not the good kind of tears.
Seebohm was clearly distraught with her second place to American swimmer Missy Franklin that she was overcome with emotion – unable to hold back the tears of disappointment and regret.
I completely understand this; well, as best I can seeing I have never competed at an Olympic event. I understand the pain of losing a grand final, or narrowly missing out on something.
What I do not understand is crying at a silver medal.
You won a silver medal for your country. You are the second best swimmer in the world for that event. You have done your country proud, you have done your family proud – you have done yourself proud.
And then you cry because it wasn’t good enough and suddenly all that pride everyone was feeling suddenly drops away.
There is nothing proud about watching a swimmer who finished second and will walk away with a medal from the Olympic Games cry because it wasn’t good enough – nothing proud about it at all.
We won’t even begin to comment on her blame-shifting onto social media for her poor performance. Nobody made you check Facebook and unless you stopped to use Twitter halfway through the race, only your swimming can be held accountable for the result.
Accept you weren’t good enough to win, accept you wanted the gold medal and then hold your head high for winning a silver medal at the Olympic Games.
Don’t shift the blame and definitely don’t cry.
If you don’t want your silver medal, give it to the girl that finished third or give it to the girl that missed the final by a fraction of a second – unable to state her claim for an Olympic medal.
Emily Seebohm has made us proud for the six years she’s been in the Australian Swimming Team and she will continue to make us proud for as long as she represents the greatest country in the world on the international stage.
Just don’t give us the tears. We’re not proud of the tears. You just look like a spoilt little kid who didn’t get her way so she chucked a tantrum.
I’m proud to be Australian and I proudly cheer on every single athlete that represents our great nation on whatever level in whatever sport.
I’m proud of Emily Seebohm and James Magnussen.
So take your medal and hold your head high. Let all of Australia heap as much praise possible on your incredible efforts at the Olympic Games. You gave your everything, and that’s all anyone can ask.
That’s what makes us smile; that’s what makes us stand an applaud. That’s what makes us cheer on Australia at the London Olympics and that what’s makes us proud.
Just leave the tears in the water, where they belong.