Australia leads the Olympic medal tally. That is, if you compare medals won to our population.
Currently we’ve one medal per 50 thousand in population. That compares to China who have 1/3.4million, USA 1/136thousand, Great Britain 1/87thousand and France 1/102thousand.
Australia has consistently done this in Olympic competition as far back as anyone can remember.
And again when we compare the amount of athletes to population, Australia again leads the count. With Australia sending 1/54 thousand population, USA 1/116thousand and Great Britain 1/650 thousand.
Despite our lower population, we’re mixing it with the world’s largest countries with the numbers of athletes we send to the Olympics. The numbers are Australia 410, USA 482 and Great Britain 541.
So where’s the problem? We’re leading the world in the size of our Olympic squad and the numbers of medals won per population. So why are we feeling let down just by the colour of the medals?
You’d have to say that in a sports mad nation we expect more. We are fed by an excessive menu of winter and summer domestic competitions, with champion performances weekly in AFL, rugby, cricket and others.
Yes, we do expect more.
When you consider these numbers, it is strange that many commentators consider the 2012 Olympics to be a failure.
So what’s gone wrong? Maybe we’ve overstretched. Sure a squad of 410 is admirable, but maybe we should narrow our goals, pick winning sports, develop more champion athletes and win more medals.
So do we instruct the AOC to cull the number of sports we compete in for 2016, and beef up the development in those sports that remain?
And in 2020 maybe we widen the range of sports?
Certainly we’re in for an inquiry into future Olympics and athletic development strategies. While there are a myriad of outcomes, my preference would be for us to pursue quality, not quantity in the future.