What did you think about the earth-shattering news of the Aussie swimming men’s relay team’s big confession? Was it worth parading the offenders before a phalanx of journalists, baying for the blood of more disgraced athletes? Let’s face it we can sum it up quite easily: ‘They were young blokes on a trip away from home and they acted like immature yobbos.
Yes, it was wrong to mix a sleeping tablet with some beer. ‘What were they thinking?’ you ask. The simple answer: Nothing. They weren’t thinking. They were having what they thought was fun. In hindsight they would be the first to agree it was an irresponsible way to behave. However, according to the Australian swimming head honchos, and the Australian media, the situation is far worse than that.
We now know why we didn’t win as many medals as the Aussie public were told to expect. It had nothing to do with inflated, arrogant expectations of gold, gold, gold. It had nothing to do with just not being as fast as the others. It had nothing to do with ability, training regimes or coaching staff. It was because the men’s relay team acted like idiots for one night a few days before the competition began. Let’s pick up our rocks and get ready to stone them.
I think it’s like blaming Dawn Fraser’s larrikin behaviour during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics for the team not bringing home more gold back then (4 gold medals – all individuals). She did some idiotic, high-spirited, rat-baggy things and yet is honoured as one of our greatest athletes. We love her for it.
I’m glad the lads apologised. I hope they’ve learned their lesson. But, do I think they should pay back their airfares etc and be made pariahs in the world of sport? No. Lighten up Australian Olympic Swimming team. You weren’t good enough on the day. Just admit it and train harder for the next lot. There is no God-given right for Australians to always win gold. In fact, it’s a ludicrous assumption and, quite frankly, an insult to all the other nations.
The young swimmers’ behaviour was deeply disappointing. But, we see far worse when schoollies gather at seaside towns; when footy teams go to Bali or Las Vegas or when rugby teams go on pub crawls in London. It’s embarrassing, ugly, cringe-worthy behaviour and we all wish our men would learn to ease up on the grog and think through their actions. But, is it news that is more important than the ongoing nightmare in Syria? Should the offenders be more vilified than people-smugglers? I think not.
I reckon they’ve already had their punishment, back in the London Olympic pool. Let’s all put down our stones; unless, of course, you’re perfect.