Australia Will Review The Performance Of Its Swim Team After The London Games
Australia senior Olympic official Kevan Gosper has blamed the country's dismal medal haul at the London Games "on cuts in government funding" -- as New Zealand mocked its neighbor, according the the AFP. Australia is "on course for its worst Games since Seoul" in '88, languishing in 24th place with just one Gold by the end of day nine. It is seen as "all the more embarrassing" given the county's much smaller neighbor New Zealand has thee Golds while host and traditional arch-rival Great Britain has 16. Gosper said that "Australian athletes had been hampered by a lack of public funds and government focus." He added that "more money needed to be spent on top-level coaches and elite athletes." Gosper said, "The fact is you do need more money in international sports and preparing if you're going to compete with the world." New Zealand wasted no time in mocking their near rival. Fairfax Media's stuff.co.nz website said in a comment piece, "Hey Aussies, we want to draw you disordered attention to a little line item on the Olympic Games gold medal table." When asked if the government should be spending more money on its athletes and coaching staff, Australian PM Julia Gillard said, "I think there will be plenty of time after the Olympic Games is finished for people to reflect on the Games that was" (AFP, 8/6).
UNDER REVIEW: The AFP also reported that Australia "will review the disappointing performance of its much-heralded swimming team" at the London Games, as they acknowledged the world has "lifted the bar." Australia won one Gold Medal, six Silver and three Bronze in the pool in London -- their lowest tally since Barcelona in '92. They were also without an individual Gold Medalist for the first time since the '76 Montreal Games. Swimming Australia President David Urquhart said, "We must do everything possible to get Australian swimming back on top. This is not a time for blame and scape-goating, this is an opportunity to make the changes required to rise to the international challenge." Urquhart said that "the review will be independent and conducted" by experienced coach Bill Sweetenham and former Olympic champion Susie O'Neill, who has "blamed the poor showing on a lack of discipline compared the countries such as China." The review, designed to help Swimming Australia prepare for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the '16 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, will focus on its high-performance programs and administration. Urquhart said, "We are a proud swimming nation, we have a proud history and have the swimming talent and coaches to be the best in world" (AFP, 8/6).