Reflecting on the London Olympics
Some say the Australian Olympic team has been a failure during London 2012; others put our decline on the medal tally down to other nations simply improving.
I believe it’s a mixture of both, but regardless of our final medal tally am proud of the vast majority of our athletes competing.
I thought I would look back at the performances of those athletes who were in the press for all the wrong reasons before the opening ceremony even began. Three swimmers immediately come to mind, James Magnussen, Kenrick Monk and Nick D’Arcy, track athlete John Steffensen, and Olympic veterans Russell Mark and Natalie Cook.
Not for one moment am I questioning their efforts of the last few years to reach London, but their lead up to the games was hampered in various different ways throughout.
Swimming bad boy, not only was he found guilty of an assault on fellow swimmer Simon Cowley, he declared himself bankrupt to avoid any payment of the $180,000 in civil damages. D’Arcy was also embroiled in the Facebook gun photo scandal with fellow swimmer Kendrick Monk which saw him leave the Olympic village immediately after the completion of his event.
The Facebook scandal was blown out of proportion but D’Arcy will never be able to endear himself to the Australian public again. His results in London were far below par and I doubt we will see him pulling on the Australian swim cap again. London Results – 13th in 200m Butterfly.
Also caught up in the unfortunate Facebook scandal that shouldn’t have been, but has a past history when he made a false report to police after falling off a skateboard to avoid embarrassment. London Results – 14th in 200m Freestyle, fifth in 4x200m Freestyle relay.
Not a failure by usual standards, but by his own. He was more a victim of circumstance combined with some immaturity shown after his poor relay swim. Magnusson declared to the world he would go to London, get the gold, and jump on a plane home.
Sounds simple in theory but when you are competing against the world’s best, touching first isn’t as easy as it seems. He was unfairly attacked by some portions of the media after not wanting to comment after his relay team, it was all downhill from there.
I don’t think we paid enough credit to Nathan Adrian, who recorded one of the best swims of the meet to beat Magnusson by the barest of margins. One thing is for sure, this Aussie swimmer will be a little quieter before Rio. London Results – 11th 50m Freestyle, silver 100m Freestyle, 4 x 100m Freestyle relay fourth, 4 x 100m Medley relay bronze.
The man with the mouth was embroiled in a racism row before the games with Olympic officials that dated back to 2008. This issue should have been dealt with at the time or soon after, not four years after the event. Steffensen has always been an outspoken athlete, but usually has the talent to back it up.
Over the last few years Steffensen ability on the track hasn’t matched his ability to get some air time with various issues with athletics Australia. London Results – 11th 4 x 400m relay
Our golden girl from Sydney should have enjoyed her fifth and final Olympic campaign but couldn’t help enter the ‘Who will carry the flag?’ debate.
Her tantrum was nothing short of bizarre, but her back pedal shortly afterwards was as unconvincing as James Brayshaw’s rowing knowledge. More time spent working on her game instead of practicing carrying the flag would have come in handy as she and partner Tasmin Hinchley failed to win a match and were bundled out in the preliminary rounds.
Sadly now some Australian fans will remember Cook for her flag antics, and not the great legacy she has created for beach volleyball in Australia. London Results – Lost all three matches, knocked out at first group stage.
From an athlete with previous games experience I found his room request quite staggering. Yes, if given the choice most athletes would want to room with their significant other but when it’s the Olympics in London, not a European vacation.
From that moment on Mark’s hopes of producing a medal were shot. Shooting is extremely tough mentally, and demands the athlete to focus solely on the competition. London Results – 20th in Men’s double trap qualification.
While we will never be able to tell if their distracted lead ups contributed to their below par performances looking at the bulk of the results indicates to us that they have. Hopefully for those who pull on the green and gold in either Glasgow or Rio will learn from these experiences and have the knowledge that actions do in fact speak louder than words.
- London 2012 Olympics