The SportingJournal

Let the post-mortem begin

Aussie Athletes land in Sydney

As the Qantas 747 touched down at Sydney International Airport, there was a sense of excitement building in the hangar. The plane was painted with the boxing kangaroo and was filled with the precious cargo of our Olympic athletes.

There was a real buzz inside the hangar as dignitaries and family members awaited their loved ones and our sporting heroes. When the door opened, out stepped Lauren Jackson and Malcolm page, a bronze winner and gold medalist and the flag bearers for the opening ceremony and closing ceremony. There was a huge cheer and slowly, one by one, the rest of the team followed. Their were huge smiles and lots of cheer as Olympians showed off their medals and mingled with those present.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard welcomed home the athletes who was quick to defend the team for what many consider a poor medal haul. “For those who have been quick to rush out with criticism, London 2012 has been a remarkable result by any measure,” Gillard said.

Whilst all atmosphere was one of joy and celebration, there was a sense that at the back of everyone’s mind, was the question of how do we improve and finish higher come the 2016 Olympics in Brazil?

Chef De Mission, Nick Green said, “all of us look forward to having a rest and then starting to prepare for Rio in four years time.”

Australia were expected to finish in the top 6 at the London Olympics, but could only manage a 10th place spot. With gold having been won in the 110 m hurdles and sprint cycling as expected, their was a sense of failure hanging in the air.

Our sailing team picked up 3 gold, canoe bagged 1 and we picked up 1 gold in swimming. Our sailing and canoe gold have been heralded as great wins, whilst the 1 gold for swimming is considered a failure. In a sport that Australia has dominated in previous years, there is a sense that we cannot afford a repeat in Rio De Janeiro.

Whilst the atmosphere was all cheery and happy, their has to be a feeling that some cannot be pleased with the results in the London. James Magnussen is the biggest name that springs to mind. Having only managed a silver and a bronze, much more was expected of the missile and he was unable to deliver.

Alicia Coutts with her Gold, Silver & Bronze Medals from London.

Our swimming team will cop the biggest flack for the lack of gold medals, but there are other areas that may have under-achieved. Our ever dominant mens hockey team could only manage third, whilst our women’s Basketballers – who finished 2nd in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics – could also only manage a bronze medal.

Our rowing and cycling teams were not expected to do overly well, but many expected them to be competitive, yet some may argue that they fell well short of expectation.

The debate between whether Australia was successful or unsuccessful in London will rage on. The Australian Olympic Committee and its teams however, have to make sure that come Rio in 2016, we are ready and fully prepared to better our haul in London.

Australia has always been a proud sporting nation and to be content is not within our nature. The road to Rio is a long one, but it promises to be an exciting one.

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