At the time of writing, Australia is languishing 19th on the official medal tally at the 2012 Olympic Games. When the 2009 Crawford Review came out suggesting that Government sports funding should be redirected to the general populace rather than elite athletes, and that a place in the top 10 is realistic, Coates came out screaming
Now he [Crawford] is telling us eighth is good enough, or maybe 10th is good enough for Mr Crawford. I just don’t think he gets it. It seems un-Australian to me to settle for something second best.
In response to Coates’ hissy-fit, the Rudd Government caved in and increased funding for elite athletes by $325 million. The Australian taxpayer has spent around $700 m over four years for the 2012 London Olympics. Coates naturally welcomed the increased funding, but by November last year, Coates was on the warpath for even more money, suggesting that the $700 million from Australia was insufficient when UK, France and Germany were putting in $1.2 billion each.
Well, if that’s right, each Australian is paying $30.97 for the Australian team, while each German is only paying $14.69 for the German team; each Brit $19.17 for the UK team and each Frenchman $18.35. So much for good value for Australia!
Coates suggested last November that Australia would struggle to be in the top five and could finish as low as eighth. Well, as noted above, we are currently 19th.
New Zealand, with only 184 athletes (compared with Australia’s 410 athletes at London) is currently ranked 12th. Total funding for High Performance Sport New Zealand is NZ$180 million over four years (A$139 million), not all of which is Olympics-related.
I’m waiting for Coates’ explanation – how can New Zealand, with far fewer athletes and far less funding end up higher on the medal table than Australia?
John Coates – resign now. You have cried wolf far too often.
(see also this article.