Pain in the AIS?

August 6, 2012 at 12:18 pm Leave a comment

The good thing about the Olympic Games is they have taken everyone’s minds of the gloom and doom that have dominated the news outlets due to the global recession, although here in Australia the sporting recession is hurting the nation more than the economic one.

Having watched Australians not make it through the early rounds of Wimbledon for the first time ever, the nation had to watch cyclist Cadel Evans lose his Tour de France title.Golfer Adam Scott imploded at the British Open and in between there was a meaningless one day cricket series that also saw Australia suffer humiliating defeat. These have not been a good two months for the proud sporting nation. The Olympic Games was supposed to be their time to once again be able to hold their heads up high and show the world that this relatively small nation can punch well above its weight when it comes to Olympic success. However once again there has been disappointment, in the main it must be said brought on my excessive media hype.

The price of Gold in Australia has suddenly risen higher than it has for many years, and no doubt questions will be asked and jobs will be lost in a nation where anything less than sporting success is hard to accept.

This however should not come as any surprise. For a start the Australian Institutes of Sport have been remarkably quiet, as a nation ponders why some athletes have according to what they have been lead to believe underachieved. In tough economic times it may have been prudent to come out and advise that some young athletes are building for Rio de Janiero in four years times, at least put some spin on the situation which has caused so much navel-gazing.

With the vast majority of European nations already announcing that they will be cutting funding to many of their sporting bodies post the London Olympics, as a direct result of the global economic crisis will Australia witness the same? Many European governments have stated that they simply cannot justify the monies being spent on sport for the national feel-good factor, when their economies need jump-starting.

Will the disappointment of London’s medal haul have the same impact in Australia? There have been rumblings for a while about some of the Government funded sports programs around the country and whether the money being spent is bringing the desired results. There is no reason to think that these rumblings will not become louder now as other sectors vie for a slice of the Government spending pie.

Before there is a knee-jerk reaction it would be wise to remember the words of the great Nelson Mandela who said “Sport can reach out to people in a way that politicians can’t.”

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