Since when has a silver or bronze medal at the Olympics been decreed a disaster or failure? The answer – since about July 27th 2012.
Australia’s’ incessant fixation with gold at Olympic games has seen us become a sporting nation amongst super powers. Every four years we stand with pride as an elite selection of our 22 million-population sweat, slog and toil there way towards the ultimate goal. It’s this high ideal that unfortunately has come unstuck in London so far.
But not from the public’s perspective – only that of the media throng.
Take this for example from an article today on theage.com.au “The Australian media are once again frothing at the mouth - on behalf of the public - and demanding answers about why our athletes haven't won more gold medals.”
I think you’ll find that most Australians, whilst having a preference for gold, thoroughly appreciate the amount of sacrifice, commitment and work involved to even reach the Olympic games, and hence respect and applaud any performance on the ‘battle ground’.
Silver medal winning long jumper Mitchell Watt summed it up beautifully ''I think people need to start understanding that it's not easy to win an Olympic gold medal and there's absolutely nothing wrong with a silver medal.….the team's happy, I'm happy, the head coach is happy. I've got thousands of messages back home that they are happy. The only people that aren't happy are you guys. So you need to wake up.''
The medias’ dramatisation of any result other than the gold expected is atrocious. Sure they’re allowed to ask the questions they want to, seek the answers they require, that the medias’ job. But to then report it as a failure is ridiculous.
This morning saw the unfortunate capitulation of Michael Diamond in the men’s trap final. An impeccable qualifying round record of 125 out of 125 saw him begin the final as a gold medal favourite. Unfortunately consecutive misses saw him bow out devastatingly without a medal. To Diamonds credit, HE took responsibility for the fall, HE admitted his mistakes and with it showed why he’s regarded as a consummate professional in his sport and held with such high esteem amongst Australians.
Again the age reported, “The cruel moral is inescapable. With five shots remaining in this final, Diamond had a third Olympic gold medal in his hands, and, like the targets he has been setting his sights on for a lifetime, it disappeared in a puff of orange dust.”
You don’t think he knows this?
Elite performance doesn’t have to be measured in medals. Lift your game Oz media.