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SBD Global/February 21, 2014/Olympics

Australia Olympic Boss Says Money Not Available To Develop Winter Sports In 2018

Australia’s most senior Olympic official, John Coates, "has warned that no more money will be available to plough into developing winter sports champions" for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, according to John Lehmann of NEWS LIMITED NETWORK. But he said he was “very encouraged” by the team’s performance in Sochi, despite being likely to fall just short of the team’s “four to five” medal goal. Coates, the IOC VP, also "praised Russia for its staging of the Games," saying they had been “remarkably successful.” Coates: “It has been quite something to have the head of the country (president Vladimir Putin) present virtually the entire Games.’’ Coates said that the number of top-10 results delivered by Australian athletes in their late teens and early 20s "would set up the team for the next Games." However, Coates said the independently-funded AOC and federal government had “no more money to throw at it.” He said Australia had “nowhere near the funds that Great Britain was throwing at sport,” but the Olympic Winter Institute and the state sports institutes were delivering “good value for money” (NEWS LIMITED NETWORK, 2/20). In Melbourne, Will Brodie wrote the Winter Olympics hockey tournament "showcases the world's finest players and features fierce rivalries" between nations like Russia, Canada and the U.S. The finals are "appointment TV" and with the extra channels and computer viewing options available these days, "will get wider exposure down under than ever before." Does such supposedly priceless exposure "convert fleeting fans of winter sports to become diehards after the Olympics?" In the case of ice hockey, "it depends who you talk to." Ice Hockey Australia VP and Melbourne Mustangs VP Andy McDowell said that the effect of the quadrennial showcase on long-term playing numbers "is always short-term and overrated." Melbourne Ice President and manager of the Australian women's ice hockey team Emma Poynton "is more bullish." She said Sochi is "proving to be a good promotional tool" and the free-to-air coverage of men's and women's ice hockey has helped Australians become more aware of her sport (THE AGE, 2/20).
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