Why Australia is failing in London
While China and the US fight their usual boring-as-bat-excrement two-horse race, the rest of the world are going about the business of competing in the real Olympics. Except for Australia of course.
We’ve all read the press; it’s been 30 years since we’ve done so badly in the swimming.
And the excuses roll in. The swimmers had synchronised stage fright, the coaching staff too lenient, there is too much pressure on the Australians to perform, there’s no talent this year.
The last came from under-fire head swimming coach, Leigh Nugent, as he offered his last line of defence for an abysmal campaign in the pool.
Yet in a curious twist which either heightens or desensitises his failures, it’s difficult to tell which, the rest of the Aussie contingent has been equally ineffective.
This comes as a fair shock to a country that in the past so desperately needed to do well in the Olympics and sport in general. There’s no better way for Australians to remind the world we actually exist, and that we’re useful. We’ve got about as much historical relevance as a banged up old LTD Ford from the 90’s, and we know it.
We’re bright, we’re fresh, but we’re immaterial and we resent it.
So why at time of writing are we getting beaten in 2012 by Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Netherlands, Cuba, Japan, NEW ZEALAND, Kazakhstan, North Korea, South Korea, and at a time in the campaign where it’s not uncommon for Australia to be leading?
As a nation we’re selling tonnes of dirt to the Chinese so there’s plenty of money going round to spend on state-of-the-art coaching, massages and tracksuits (most of which end up getting banned).
Plenty of coin for post-mortems, disciplinary committees and media consultants.
Plenty of coin to procure the athletes’ pretensions.
Money everywhere, yet all the money in the world can’t buy the one thing you need: good old fashioned desperation.
The Aussies don’t want it enough.
This doesn’t develop overnight; it’s been twelve years in the making.
China is champing at the bit to win everything, to the point their athletes are willing to blatantly cheat and look like international imbeciles in the interests of the national team.
While the Australians are busy crying to their parents in post-match interviews and bashing store fronts, the Chinese and South Korean badminton teams are putting jester hats on and dancing about like monkeys on hot coals, ending their careers in the national interest.
We put our mark on the world in Sydney 2000 and have been cruising in neutral ever since. It’s no surprise we’re now grinding to a halt.