If they were handing out medals for coming fourth -- or just for participation, as they do in some New Zealand schools -- we'd be stars. But they don't. And we're not. The People's Republic of Aotearoa currently lies ninth in the medal table behind Malaysia, Jamaica and Scotland, and equal with Nigeria, Kenya and Wales (Wales!).
With $30 million of taxpayers' money spent on making NZ atheletes beneficiaries -- that's $1.875 million per medal -- does it even begin to look like it was in any way money "well spent"? And have we got a right to complain about atheletes' performances when we've been forced to pay for them, and the money appears to have been pissed up against a wall?
Do graduates from the Soviet-modelled Australian Institute of Sport do so well because the AIS is so good, or because Australians generally know how to win? $30 million for 16 medals versus $110 million for 121 medals (and counting) suggests there's something other than just throwing-money-at-the-problem going on in Oz -- perhaps a difference in attitude? And as Greg Barns asks, is there anything particularly noble in 'Going for Gold via the Eastern Bloc' anyway?
SPARC chief executive Nick Hill suggested a "dream forecast" of 58 medals for athletes from the People's Republic of Aotearoa, and a "realistic target" of 46. A Stuff website poll suggested two-thirds of respondents expected fewer than 10 medals, and one-third fewer than five. So who had the more realistic expectation? And who was just bloody dreaming?
Does forced funding of sportsmen work? And even if it did work, should the government take money from you to keep sportsmen and women in the manner to which they've now become accustomed?
The problem with NZ sportsmen is not lack of funding. As Chris Lewis explained some years ago, the problem is lack of will to win. Stolen taxpayer money is not the solution, it is part of the problem he says:
Whether it's a gap-closing, egalitarian, envy-motivated tax regime that punishes ambition and success - while rewarding sloth and failure - or a state education system that encourages mediocrity and participation - while discouraging excellence and competition - the insidious effect is the same: it sends an implicit message that to stand out from the masses by rising above them, or earning more than them, or doing better than them, is bad, but to remain as part of an anonymous throng is good.Read on here. There is an alternative, says Chris Lewis, to the all-pervasive, envy-ridden, egalitarian, anti-achievement, anti-success mentality so prevalent in New Zealand -- what he calls the 'crab bucket mentality.' Find out his answer to the 'crab bucket mentality' here.
It is why the best New Zealanders are leaving the country in droves, and why our best and most talented athletes, with few exceptions, have had the passion to excel knocked out of them since they were children. It is not only what's wrong with New Zealand sport, but also what's wrong with New Zealand.
LINK: Forced funding vs freedom - Chris Lewis, The Free Radical
The crab bucket mentality and The Fountainhead - Chris Lewis, The Free Radical
Going for gold via the Eastern Bloc - Greg Barns, On Line Opinion
Full medal table - NZ Herald
Cartoon by Nick Kim from The Free Radical
TAGS: Sports, New_Zealand, Political_Correctness