Lions led by donkeys

Is there a connection, having among the best athletes in the world with some of the stupidest sports officials. Let me take you to the case of Dawn Fraser.

Dawn Fraser is regarded as the finest female sprint swimmer of them all; winner of four gold and four silver Olympic medals, holder of 39 world records (27 of them individual) and first in her sport of either sex to win the same event at three consecutive Olympics. Her many early handicaps included severe respiratory troubles. She was a natural rebel, often in conflict with authority, and was even disqualified, for alleged professionalism, at the age of 14.

At her first Olympics, in 1956 in Melbourne – where Australia dominated the freestyle swimming – she won the 100m freestyle, was a member of the winning 4 x 100m relay team, and finished second to Lorraine Crapp in the 400m. She went on to win the 100m freestyle in Rome (1960) and Tokyo (1964), collecting silver in the sprint relays at both those Games, and silver again in Rome in the medley relay. Her troubles with officialdom continued – in 1960, after the Rome Games, she was a suspended from international competition for two years for assorted indiscretions, and in 1964, she was given a 10-year suspension. The term was later reduced to four years, but had the effect of ending a career which might have concluded with triumph in 1968.

Fraser’s greatest victory, against the odds, occurred in 1964, when she came back to win in Tokyo after a car crash that killed her mother and seriously injured her neck and spine. Such was her dominance of the 100m freestyle that she held the world record for 16 years.

Doesn’t mention what the suspension was for so see if we can find out. OK, here’s the story: Dawn Fraser Part 2: The Infamous Flag Incident of 1964. Read it all, but it makes me sad even now:

The business of the police captain was not yet finished. During the Closing Ceremony, he paid a visit to Fraser’s guarantor, Lee Robinson, and handed him a package for Miss Fraser, “with the compliments of the Police.” It was the stolen Olympic flag!

Unfortunately, the Australian authorities were not as amused as the Japanese authorities as they proceeded to ban Fraser from competitive swimming for 10 years! But Fraser knew her career was already coming to a close. A brilliant career, for one of Australia’s most well-known and beloved athletes.

Lions led by donkeys again. I cannot follow this latest story because it is too depressing.

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37 Responses to Lions led by donkeys

  1. zyconoclast

    While not even remotely trying to compare a sporting person with a soldier, this poem comes to mind.

    Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
    Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap;
    An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
    Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.
    Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul?”
    But it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll,
    The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
    O it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll.

  2. Personally, I wouldn’t bat an eyelid if the Olympics ended tomorrow.

  3. Bruce of Newcastle

    Every organisation draws a certain type of person like bears to honey. The ones who desire power.

    To succeed in politics the power-hungry have to be able to get themselves elected, so that winnows out a lot of people. But those who can’t get into politics still yearn for power.

    That is the sort of person who ends up running the local cricket U15s side, helped by the fact that no one else wants the job. Then they move into club administration, state cricket, national cricket then international.

    I’ve seen such people in action in a certain Olympic sport. It is just like the middle management I’ve had the delight, nay, privilege of working for in a number of companies over several decades. Same thing. The Peter Principle causes middle management in the same way it causes sports administrators.

  4. jock

    Look im not sory for smith or warner. They were caught cheating. They make a lot of money playing a game. If warner couldnt hit a cricket ball he would be working for a council somewhere.

  5. stackja

    Why do sports need administration? Sports have participants. A few referees are only necessary.

  6. Why do sports need administration? Sports have participants. A few referees are only necessary.

    I question why we need the AIS. What’s the return for the taxpayer?

  7. Marcus

    Well, we’re certainly burdened by dumb sports administrators in this country. The ARU cut the Western Force, which was achieving some promising results last year, partially on the basis that we could only field four teams and be competitive. The first match an Australian team played against New Zealand opposition they got slaughtered 50-19 … and they were the conference leaders. For that they alienated the rugby public, not just in WA but around the country?

    As for Cricket Australia, they deserve plenty of criticism not for acting against confessed cheats but for fostering the culture that led to the cheating in the first place. James Sutherland deserves to be remembered as the man who sold the soul of Australian cricket, and it’s fitting that that soul is worth a lot less in broadcasting rights than it was a few days ago.

  8. stackja

    bemused – AIS was created to collect gold medals. Millions later. A few medals.

  9. stackja

    Marcus – sports corrupted by too much money. With less money? Will be interesting.

  10. cynical1

    You only have to look at Peter Beattie’s gigs to vomit.

  11. Bob of Brisbane.

    Nice to be reminded of that, Steve. Dawn Fraser was a great swimmer.

  12. I can’t find a reference, but IIRC Dawn’s times while disqualified in 1968 were Olympic gold-medal winning times.

  13. MPH

    Australia is a lucky country, governed by second rate people who share in its luck….

  14. Yes B of B re Dawn Fraser (although never met her and she was a Labor supporter coming from Balmain). I remember training with John & Ilsa Konrads. They were not treated well. East Germans were taking drugs and government funded, that ruined the Olympics.
    Some decent athletes around at the time -John Landy and Ron Clarke.
    The Ian/Trevor Chappell underarm was a low light. Ian the captain should have been stood down from captain immediately.

  15. Greg was the captain, Ian was in commentary when Trevor bowled underarm.

  16. Crossie

    As for Cricket Australia, they deserve plenty of criticism not for acting against confessed cheats but for fostering the culture that led to the cheating in the first place.

    The bastards are parading the penitents for the media who are too stupid to ask some pointed questions of the officials who knew well what was going on.

  17. Eddystone

    Professionalism has ruined sport for me. The life of a professional footballer must be mind numbingly boring.

    A brief training run after work on Tuesdays and Thursdays, followed by a few beers with the boys, should be all the preparation allowed.

    All the skills training, not to mentioned the physical conditioning, that professionals submit to, is tantamount to cheating.

  18. JohnA

    Marcus #2675395, posted on March 31, 2018, at 8:09 pm

    As for Cricket Australia, they deserve plenty of criticism not for acting against confessed cheats but for fostering the culture that led to the cheating in the first place. James Sutherland deserves to be remembered as the man who sold the soul of Australian cricket, and it’s fitting that that soul is worth a lot less in broadcasting rights than it was a few days ago.

    Precisely, and the post title should be amended to read “Donkeys led by more donkeys” both in sport and in politics.

    We get the governance we deserve, whilst modern philosophers bang on about there being no such thing as “evil.”.

  19. Anonandon

    Stop referring to athletes as role models and we will lower our expectations accordingly.

    As far as the tall poppy syndrome goes, Warner had it coming. The other two I don’t give a hoot about.

  20. Titch

    The Dawn Fraser incident was the event that finished me, if I ever had any time for the Olympic Games. Run by a cabal of money hungry and outright crooked men for years, its corruption was repulsive. Equally so, the pathetic “officials” who banned Fraser were a group of puffed up, self important, nobodies who thrived on being “Officials”. As someone here said very well, these are the types that infest middle management in all organizations, businesses and industries in Australia.

  21. nemkat

    Bit of attempted rewriting of history here.
    Dawn Fraser was an unsavory type who should never have represented Australia, on character grounds.
    Casting her as a victim is ludicrous.

  22. Confused Old Misfit

    Steve Smith a role model? He wasn’t a fit model for anything even before the ball tampering. Except perhaps for a scheming , sniveling whiner.

  23. I don’t like the idea of going back in time (54 years ffs) and judging what was done. Today’s snowflake grievance industry does that shit.

    Fraser incident happened in JAPAN just 19 years after the war, so think about what a different Japan it was and how different attitudes were. Stealing something, anything, would have been a big taboo let alone stealing a flag that would have been a symbol of pride for the Japanese.

    The business of the police captain was not yet finished. During the Closing Ceremony, he paid a visit to Fraser’s guarantor, Lee Robinson, and handed him a package for Miss Fraser, “with the compliments of the Police.” It was the stolen Olympic flag!

    Unfortunately, the Australian authorities were not as amused as the Japanese authorities as they proceeded to ban Fraser from competitive swimming for 10 years!

    The Japanese weren’t amused at all (which shows how differently we see things 54 years later), they behaved magnanimously which would have further embarrassed the Australians.

    As a 7 year old (1966 in Turkey), I stole a children’s book from a book shop. When my father found out he smacked me good and proper which hurt but didn’t worry me as I knew I deserved it. He made me take the book back and apologise to the shop owner.
    The shop owner accepted my apology and proceeded to wrap the book and he gave it back to me as a gift. I was so embarrassed I cried for longer than when my old man smacked me.
    So I get what the Aussie officials felt at the time the flag was given as a gift. In 1964 this act would have been a huge embarrassment for the Nation. No individual who represents their country has the right to embarrass their country.

    Many people have gone all soft on the players (especially Smith, THE CAPTAIN ffs) because they cried like I did as a 7 year old.
    THEY ARE ADULTS, too late to snivel like a kid. If they couldn’t imagine the consequences should they get caught cheating, they have no business representing their country. Take up an individual sport and represent yourself and no one else.
    If they knew what the consequences might be but went ahead anyway, then they are cheats, no different to thieves and have no business representing their country.

    The only sympathy I have is for the families (Seeing Warner’s wife at the airport broke my heart, what a lousy piece of shit of a husband and father).
    I hope those images deter others from cheating. If they do, then their self-inflicted embarrassment will be worth it for the rest of us.
    I also hope the players come back from their sanctions as better players and repay the nation just a little bit by being better. But no more leadership roles, ever.

  24. Sirocco

    The rot started in cricket with the test at Manchester in 1956. Australia had Lindwall Miller Bill Johnston and Ron Archer. England had Lock and Laker. The pitch was doctored to the point that the first ball of Lindwall’s first over on the first day brought up a puff of dust. Laker took 19 wickets. Doctoring the pitches segued nicely into ball tampering.

  25. Mark A

    Baa Humbug
    #2675831, posted on April 1, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    I agree with you on all, except on the punishment then and now.
    Way out of proportion and not following precedent, which is part of our legal system.

    When the cricket governing body recommends a fine and one or two match suspension then why do CA think they know better and impose an all out of proportion punishment.

    Because national embarrassment? Come on. How childish is that?

  26. Because national embarrassment? Come on. How childish is that?

    Beg to differ.
    All East Germans were considered cheats, yet not all were cheats.
    All Chinese were considered cheats, yet not all were cheats.
    All Russians were considered cheats, yet not all were cheats.
    These cricketers didn’t have the right to smear Australians as cheats. It wasn’t a lone cricketer acting for himself, it was a conspiracy to cheat by the whole leadership team including the coach. The connotation is vastly different to a lone cheater.

    As far as the punishment back then is concerned, I addressed that in my comment. Can’t judge that today.
    (just like I wouldn’t judge my dad for smacking me then, even though I wouldn’t do it today).
    As far as punishment today, I’m all ears for other considerations. Perhaps the embarrassment is the bigger punishment than any months or years of suspensions. We can judge today’s incidents today. In 50 years I wouldn’t want people to look back and judge.

  27. ACTOldFart

    All the comments so far haven’t mentioned the most corrupt ‘sport’ of all. Soccer World Cup in Qatar, anyone?

  28. Squirrel

    The point about Our Dawn is well made – so often, over the years, when watching major sporting events, particularly the Olympics, I have had the thought that some of our sporting officials appear to be a great loss to the ranks of parking inspectors and rule-bound municipal officialdom (assuming that’s not their “day job” in between sporting events).

    At a more glamorous (and lucrative) level – i.e. the ones who periodically get wheeled out in front of a camera – the smug, platitudinous banality on display at times is almost beyond belief.

  29. Dr Fred Lenin

    Zyconoclast, Kipling Rhodes were great figures in history no matter what the communist left say,they will be written into history when the likes of obama. Clinton ,the krudster ,Keato, hawkie , Fraser etc are long forgotten

  30. terry

    It seems even in these pages sheep dominate. Every other country and the ICC treat ball tampering as a misdemeanour. Google those convicted. Tendulkar even. Sth Africa made theirs captain. The poms boasted of tampering for an entire ashes so the Queen gave them all OBEs. Yet Australian journos dump a ton of shit on ours. Sutherland and Turnbull prove themselves gutless sheep. Those piling on are the same creeps who knew Lindy Chamberlain was guilty, Pell is guilty and themselves fairminded and not preening, spineless, idiots.

  31. Marcus

    Those piling on are the same creeps who knew Lindy Chamberlain was guilty, Pell is guilty and themselves fairminded and not preening, spineless, idiots.

    You know they confessed, right?

    You can debate how serious their punishment should be, but their guilt is pretty unambiguous.

  32. Dr Fred Lenin

    Sport is run by incompetent boofheads ? par for the course ,federal state and local government are run by the same type of dickheads .,paid squillions to stuff things up.

  33. Percy Porcelain

    Perfect Balmain Saturday, circa mid 1989:

    March down to Birchgrove, say hello to Dawn on the way, hammer in the stumps in the middle, play for a few hours and then head to the Sir William Wallace for some (well, lots of) cold ones.

    Then stagger home. Repeat the following week.

  34. Terry Andrews

    Marcus you are retarded, right? Guilt wasn’t the question. Severity of condemnation, and penalty was. Read it again slowly.

  35. BorisG

    If warner couldnt hit a cricket ball he would be working for a council somewhere.

    how do you know?

  36. BorisG

    Professionalism has ruined sport for me.

    You should migrate to the USSR… oops it no longer exists.

  37. Mundi

    Fraser want banned over the flag incident.

    She was banned because she walked in the opening ceremony against the wishes of the “swimming union” and didn’t follow Olympic “regulations” requiring she wear a particular costume with advertising.

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