Monday, March 18, 2013

Swimming, Sailing, Surfing: No better coaches or aquatics related athletes than the Australians!

Was looking at the stats of the last four Olympic games. Though Australia is undergoing a process of self-flagellation over their "poor" showing and the 2012 London Games, still the Australian still won more gold medals by population percentages than the United States, China or Russia.

Australia is a continent with a population of only 22-million people whereas the USA has a population of 300-million. (California's population is nearly double that of Australia.) We have an athlete base that is almost 14-times larger yet Australia beats us proportionally when compared to population numbers.. In other words for every potential gold medalist Australia has in any sport, the United States has 24-candidates yet Australia is producing a significant amount of winners for the little population that do have.

When it comes to sailing, surfing, or swimming Australia has produced the best. In fact modern surfboards today use technology from Australia.

At the London Games in 2012 Australia "bombed" but if the United "Bombed" we would have had scored over 100-gold medals versus our 46-gold. If Australia would have had an average Olympic gold medal count they would have scored about 20-gold medals versus their 7.

The Australians' blame it on their current cultural issues and looking back at the evidence I reluctantly have to agree. Australian swimmers were hazing hazing each other, acting act like college students rather than diplomats or athlete representation, and one sprinter was even parading around with too much bravado before the games opened stating how he could not wait to race Michael Phelps.

Now, they did do worse than they ever have in an Olympic games, BUT, per the amount of population they had to work with they placed 18th in gold medals per million population whereas the United States placed 28th out of 54.

This page lists Olympic medal results standardised by population. The thinking is that the bigger your population is, the better chance that your country might actually have a genetically predisposed person that can win a medal. Reasonably simple to do and although this statistic is by no means a perfectly accurate reflection of a country's relative Olympic performance, medals/population is, in my opinion, a better indicator of success than simple sum-medals, and is easy for the lay person to comprehend. 
The Chinese recognized this and they are choosing Australian coaches because they are the best.

USA Swimming should do the numbers and maybe they might realize that their coaching arm,(ASCA), may be grossly behind in producing great coaches whereas China is searching the best  down under in Australia.


Anonymous said...

ASCA is a business league. It's purpose is to provide increased business opportunities for it's members -- coaches. It does this my convincing clubs, often run by volunteers, that it's stamp of approval is essential. It increases salaries, via prestige, to a limited group. The coaches who would do good without it are given awards to ensure their participation.

It functions as a barrier to entry. That limits the competition, and lowers the overall level of competition. You are right that the US rocks in numbers, yet when looking at the population and the number of swimmming pools in this country, we are so-so.

You always write as if ASCA is USA Swimming's bitch, but it is the other way around. ASCA controls the marketplace. There are barriers to entry for coaches, clubs, and swimmers. Parents have options for their children, and seldom is competitive swimming a good option.

Tony Austin said...

You proffer a fair criticism and I agree with most of what you say. I agree that ASCA has leveraged their interests by bamboozling clubs with prestige awards, a rubber stamp for their various "ninja levels" and so on.

Competitive swimming as it is practiced today is simply a "meat grinder" to find the next Olympian. Meets are too long and too few are chosen. The burnouts left behind is also a dreadful concept.

I do think that ASCA is "USA Swimming's bitch" because they certify coaches for USA Swimming.

Here is direct copy/paste from the ASCA certification page:

"...Take the test online and its reported to USA Swimming, for your coaching membership there, and to ASCA, to start your Certification process. You need to also complete a Certification Application to activate the ASCA certification process. ..."

Anonymous said...

ASCA convinced USA Swimming to do that. It sold it's package to USA Swimming, the LSCs, clubs, parents.

The levels are meaningless. The large clubs divvy out enough good swimmers to each coach to get advertising rights. Certified coaches. And gullible consumers soak it this gimmick. Not just swimming. It's our entire society.

Tony Austin said...

e're on the same page, I wish we knew each other.

Anonymous said...

We do know each other. I just post anonymously now b/c the swimming community doesn't like me. I'm not a team player. That's okay with me. Maybe I can get a few people to think.

Tony Austin said...

I am not exactly Missy Franklin either but our opinions have created change.