3-time Olympian Elli Overton And The Impact Of Olympic Media

In the SwimSwam Podcast dive deeper into the sport you love with insider conversations about swimming. Hosted by Coleman HodgesGarrett McCaffrey, and Gold Medal Mel Stewart, SwimSwam welcomes both the biggest names in swimming that you already know, and rising stars that you need to get to know, as we break down the past, present, and future of aquatic sports.

Australian Olympian and FINA World Champion, Elli Overton, is a friend. She’s state-side now, living in my neighborhood. And, we’re peers in the swim market. Ellie’s the head of marketing and sales at SwimTopia, a tech company that is the leader in team management software in the massive summer league industry.  In other words, she’s an adult, with her past three Olympic experiences in her rear view mirror.  However, there’s something about time that brings things into focus. For Elli it was managing the Australian media, which can brutal on their swimmers.  Elli watched the Olympics in Tokyo with a discerning eye. Well aware of the sacrifices Olympians make, she was sensitivity to the pressures of these Games in the backwash of the COVID pandemic. Tough questions, expectations about performances, and disappointing outcomes took a harder edge when reported by the media. I agree with Elli, but I don’t have her unique experience, her unique point of view on this topic.
Context matters. Aussie Swim Stars are truly famous down under, with the crushing pressures that fame produces. In a past interview with James Magnussen, he explained why he enjoyed coming to the U.S. (to Austin, Texas for the ACL Music Festival). “No one knew me,” he said with a heavy exhale.  I made fun of him, so sorry you were burdened by fame. And I apologized as he explained further.   Elli knows that feeling intimately. She narrowly missed the medal podium at 1991 World Champs. At the ’92 Games she was 5th. She won international medals on the run-up to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta,  and the Aussie media whipped the country into a frenzy of high expectations for success–and success means medals.  In this podcast Ellie unpacks her experience with the pressures of fame, particularly regarding the Aussie media.  I recommend watching this YouTube video of her swim and post race interview first, then listening to the podcast.  Perspective brings wisdom.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2puwFKN3OzY

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Opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the interviewed guests do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the hosts, SwimSwam Partners, LLC and/or SwimSwam advertising partners.

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Corn Pop
10 months ago

What does she want ,more attention or less?

FraserThorpe
10 months ago

Also Neil brooks is objectively terrible – it’s horrible that he was the one in that position and was able to make swimmers feel this way.

Aquajosh
10 months ago

Tall Poppy Syndrome. Sam Riley and Hayley Lewis had it particularly bad with the Aussie media.

Daniel Smith
10 months ago

Mel: A great interview, poignant, especially in light of all that has come out with elite athletes in all sports. I am glad your friend, Ms. Overton, felt comfortable enough to talk about those things. Can’t be easy. If I was to caption her post-race interview it would be something like this, “I was told to be polite…I was told to be polite….I HAVE to be polite!” I suppose a fair question for sports journalists covering events like Os would be, “Can you recognize that it is nearly impossible for anyone to summarize their career to the point in response to a “what went wrong!?” question?

Last edited 10 months ago by Daniel Smith
Daniel Smith
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
10 months ago

Mel: I’ll agree with that. Seems to me the journalists would get better stories/responses without pressing one uncomfortable point such as, “what went wrong?”. Let the person talk. May even get an answer by letting them talk! BTW: You and I probably know some athletes that may have just cracked him one in the puss.

Last edited 10 months ago by Daniel Smith
Ghost
10 months ago

Isn’t her biz the same type of business as Charlie Houchin and Hayes Johnson (Missy’s husband)?

Gheko
10 months ago

Australians don’t like losers.

Swimmer
Reply to  Gheko
10 months ago

Sun yang? Is that you?

FraserThorpe
10 months ago

The fact that elli remembers seeing where Michelle smith finished in the previous Olympics ahead of her race would definitely seem to suggest it got into her head as it clearly imprinted on her. And the way she explains it you can see why that would seem like a klaxon going off.

FraserThorpe
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
10 months ago

Thanks Mel – yeah I’m aware of her career pre and post Atlanta. I think most Aussie swim fans are. Fortunately for her, the general public have forgotten about her. But if she’d beaten Susie in the 200 fly she’d still be demonised here.

Hswimmer
10 months ago

Glad I’m not an Olympic swimmer. I’d spit in their face!

Hswimmer
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
10 months ago

Lilly King me please 🤣

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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