THERE is definitely something quite un-sportsman like about the way the Australian Olympics team is being treated by some sections of the media.
First we had the Leisel Jones ‘fat’ furore.
Now we have news coverage dubbing the London Games our ‘worst ever’.
Really? With less than a week gone such a call can already be made?
It’s a curious phenomenon; Australians seem to enjoy cutting down our tall poppies and not only revel in perceived failure, but appear to wish for it.
As if the pressure on Olympians is not already at breaking point.
When they are venerated as heroes when they do well and national disgraces when they ‘choke’, how can we possibly be surprised to see athletes breaking down over not qualifying or only managing a bronze medal?
It’s too much.
These people swim, dive, ride horses, run and the like.
They provide fantastic entertainment and display amazing feats of strength.
But, at the risk of raising the hackles of many, they are not god-like creatures upon whom the fate of our lives depend upon.
Far too much is expected of our sports men and women.
Not only do we demand their constant success, we place them on pedestals which are quick to topple at the mere suggestion of weakness.
There is no shame in second place.
There is no shame in last place.
There is no shame in anything which has been tackled to the best of your ability.
Our national obsession with being the fastest, highest, strongest and longest has to stop.
Let’s get our priorities straight.
Wouldn’t we rather be regaled for our fairness and encouragement of each other?
Our ability to try our best and be noble in defeat?
There’s more than a week to go.
That’s plenty of time for attitudes to turn around.