While the United States saw its best overall medal haul since the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, the nation of Australia suffered its worst Summer Olympic outing since claiming just 27 medals in Barcelona back in 1992. Despite being pegged to earn a top 5 finish among nations in Rio by its national Sports Commission, Australia nabbed just 29 medals to finish 10th in the overall standings.
Falling well short of performance expectations, the potential arguments and finger-pointing now begins within internal Australian organizations, such as the Sports Commission and Olympic Committee.
AOC President John Coates is quoted as saying that the ASC’s practice of placing businessmen as the heads of Olympic sport has failed. Coates also expressed dissatisfaction with the ASC’s own ‘Winning Edge’ program, the game plan developed in 2012 to fuel Australian Olympic hopefuls both structurally and monetarily.
“It is up to the board of the ASC to determine the future of Winning Edge,” Coates said. “I will concentrate on the activities of the AOC.”
“The corporate model of having leaders of Olympic sports who are connected to the top end of town, such as Swimming Australia’s John Bertrand and Cycling Australia’s Malcolm Speed, has failed. It is OK to have these business-oriented men on the board of Olympic sports, but not as president.” (Sydney Morning Herald)
Although ASC Chairman John Wylie commented that he would reserve his Olympic performance feedback until a later point in time, he did publicly announce the fact that alternate revenue streams will need to be pursued for Australian Olympic sports moving forward.
Wylie is a proponent of a potential national lottery system, much in the way of what Great Britain utilized, to fund Olympic sports. The Herald Sun reports that Great Britain’s system, set-up in 1994, has given $476 million to Olympic sports.
Says Wylie, “It is absolutely clear to me going forward that with no (government) funding increases in seven years, if Australia wants to remain competitive in world sport the financial challenge is increasing and the funding of sport has to increase. And we will look at new sources of revenue rather than that just asking for more government appropriation.”
“Other countries are investing more and the environment is much more competitive, and we owe it to our athletes to provide the necessary support. More funding will be needed and we have to think about where that funding will come from, so we want to look at a sports lottery. We are going to look at it very, very seriously.” (The Herald Sun)