Thursday, August 16, 2012

Eamon Sullivan makes it's clear that this is a sport that happens every four years!

The Australians got spanked in London; their worst showing since 1976. To rub some chlorine into the wound it happened in a Commonwealth country too which for them was not quite a home pool advantage but if you were not racing a Brit you had some "second-string" fans rooting for you.

The opening quote from Reuters says it all:
"... As much as you think you're ready for it, the difference between world championships and the Olympics is a hundred times more pressure," freestyle specialist Eamon Sullivan told reporters on Thursday. 
"We under-prepared for the expectations of the pressure and the experience of the Olympics and, unfortunately, it's a bad time to learn lessons," he added. ..." 

I don't think that Eamon Sullivan is talking about "stage fright" here but rather that the competition is greatly improved and is more formidable even when compared to World Championships. Also of note is that perhaps Australia does not have much to work with?

As big as the Australian continent is the population is minute. With a land mass that is just about the  size of the United States, the population there is estimated to be about 22-million citizens. To put how small that is into perspective, the city of Shanghai, China which is the largest city in that country has a population count of  23-million citizens. (China has about 76-cities)

Moreover, with such a small population it's impressive that Australian coaches have fielded such great athletes throughout the years and explains why they can take in a Ye Shiwen or a Sun Yang and turned that "unrefined resource" and reform it into a "beautiful diamond."

What the London Games has proven is that Australia may have the best coaches in the word but a small "pool" of athletes. In short: the problems facing Australian Swimming is not the pressure, it's the amount of available talent.

Above is YouTube movie called "Shift Happens." It is essentially an award-winning Powerpoint presentation that scared the heck out of the awards body that was judging it.

With emerging nations becoming more affluent and which contain larger populations, the United States may be next in line to get spanked.


Anonymous said...


From many of the news reports, the Chinese seem to give the Australian coaches that trained them a lot of the credit for their success.

Yet, these same coaches, now being criticized, didn't produce the results we traditionally see with Australian swimmers, and now a big investigation as to why.

So if you assume the training methods used by the Australian coaches with both sets of swimmers probably didn't vary that much, it would seem that training methodology had little to do with good results verses the Chinese just being better at identifying good talent. Otherwise both groups should have performed in a similar fashion.

Tony Austin said...

Australian coaches should not be criticized, they should be lauded. Yes, China has such an overwhelmingly large population that the potential for swim talent far exceeds that of Australia.

Hence when good talent connects with Australian coaching, good things happen.

Australian coaches have proven that with a small population; about double the size of the Los Angeles population, they can produce Olympic heroes.

Moreover, working with a population with over 1.3-billion the coaches in Australia can make magic things happen.

Tony Austin said...

Perhaps "terraform" Australia so you can grow your population, wealth, and status?