The ceaseless criticism of our Olympic athletes is off the mark, and daresay it, rather un-Australian indeed. So, while you click your tongues, I’ll wave the flag.
How great are the Olympics? You come home, flick on the tele and the smorgasbord is anything from gymnastics to synchronised swimming, to some guy trotting around on a horse to an oft-forgotten Rob Thomas banger. That, incidentally, was so bloody smooth. Dayum. What’s not to love?
Well, beyond Olympians being held up at gunpoint.
And the pool being green.
Okay, so Rio has been a bit of a flop, Olympics-wise, but we are sitting ninth on the medal tally which is a fair effort for a country of our population. At least I think so. This brings me to my point about Rio 2016; who or what mainstream media has of our Olympians “not stepping up” or “underachieving”? Gee, it’s not little athletics or nippers – this is the fricken’ Olympics.
These ladies and gents are at International level in their sport – to get beaten at this stage should commended, not castigated as ‘under-performing.’
Our Olympians, regardless of their results, represent the best of our sport-loving country in their respective sports. They have broken hell and higher water to get to this stage. They have traded sleep-ins and late nights for early starts and going to bed with Big Dog just to get up for training. Parties and fun are only allowed in the off season. They have more focus than a Ford factory and our media is portraying them as failures for the colour of medal around their necks?
Take a long, hard look at yourself, Australia. An Olympian saying “I could have done more” is being gracious in defeat. To question any ounce of their training or preparation is clutching at straws approach to remove that platform of which is the Everest of most of these athletes’ careers.
It’s particularly dumbfounding when swimmers are getting pipped at the post and still bring home a medal. I think the most frustrating is the lead news story on certain websites talking about who or whom such-and-such “choked”. They didn’t choke; they were beaten. There is a difference. The gutsy Australian defeat, which at some point mattered to us. But this Olympiad not so much.
For those who feel disappointed at our performance, and want to shake fists at those who represented us, I hereby sentence you to read from the gospel of Jarrod Poort, until your eyes bleed. Poort, our 10km open ocean swimmer decided to thumb his nose at convention, by going like the clappers in the ambitious hope that he’ll pull it off. And he almost did, before regaling the interviewer with this gem:
Jarrod Poort facebook post after his 10km OW race takes the cake: “My balls hurt, but my arms hurt more…not sure what to ice first.”
— Todd Balym (@balym_GCB) August 16, 2016
If that doesn’t light the Olympic flame within, then I’m afraid we must ask those who level criticisms at our athletes on their personal athletic achievements.
Come on, Australia.