People, we’re starting to whinge like Australia, and it’s not pretty.
It’s starting to sound as if folk think Valerie Adams, like Australians thought about their swimmers, owned her gold medal; as if she only had to show up to win; as if she had her gold medal stolen from her by a cheating Byelorussian (suggested by the pointed and unworthy “no comment” by Adams’s coach—“"I would prefer to keep silent on this performance, if you understand me") and by a bungling bureaucrat who forgot to enter world champion Adams in her only event.
First of all, why, oh why, would any competitor leave something as important as their competition entry up to a bureaucrat they’ve never met? I remember tennis ace and Wimbledon finalist Chris Lewis talking about preparing for competition: in his view every part of preparing for the sporting contest is as much a part of the contest as what happens on the ground: organising to get on the ground fully trained and fully equipped is as much a part of the contest as what you do when you get there. Chris Lewis would never have left something as crucial as his entry to his only event up to someone with nothing riding on it. He would have been there either doing it himself, or chasing it up being done.
The bungling bureaucrat, Raylene Bates, has now been named and blamed by the NZ Olympic Committee for her oversight in not submitting Adams’s entry for the event. She’s the scapegoat. This is ridiculous. Even if this did upset Adams, and I’m sure it must have, she would still have to have thrown well above her personal best to do better than silver. So this is not a factor.
The biggest factor in Adams not getting gold was the woman who did, who threw far further than Adams’s personal best and did it three times in a row. Even if Adams had arrived with a better attitude and more “zing,” that was a lot of ground, a hell of a lot of ground to make up.
Fact is, the Byelorussian deserved to win, and there was very little Adams could have done on the day to change that.
We should stop whinging, and start appreciating what that she has done.
UPDATE: Written before Australian overhauled NZ on the Medal Table this morning, but this, from the Associate Editor of Melbourne’s Age newspaper is some world-class whinging.
Not only did Australia send its best athletic talent to London, it also shipped over some of its entitlement mentality.