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AOC’s Coates slams management of Australia’s Olympic sports

AOC’s Coates slams management of Australia’s Olympic sports
August 13, 2012

Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates has slammed the presidents and chief executives of Australia's sports federations, revealing he suspected some were not giving their all to the London cause 18 months before the Games that ultimately produced Australia's worst gold medal haul in 20 years.

Assessing the national Olympic team's results, the Australian Olympic Committee told the Sydney Morning Herald "I wouldn't point the finger at our athletes, I couldn't do that (but) I leave a question mark on whether the attitude and the ownership is as good as it could be in the management of some of some of the sports.

"Any corporation is only as good as its CEO or chairman and the direction that's coming from there."

Explaining that he was concerned enough to act 18 months ago after sensing a distinct lack of engagement from some chiefs of Olympic sports, Coates wrote to chief execuitves and presidents to "try to get them to take some ownership of what their objectives would be for these Games."

Coates told the Sydney Morning Herald "what I was doing was just trying to make sure that they knew that their neck wasn't on the line but that they had to take some ownership.

"They're largely being very, very well funded by the Australian Sports Commission, and with that comes responsibility.

"I was concerned, about 18 months out from these Games, about whether the sports themselves - the presidents and the executives of the sports, were taking enough ownership of the objectives that they'd set in those particular sports.

"I know some where the presidents follow every result internationally, and I'd get phone calls and we'd tic-tac, and then there were others who just seemed to be allowing it to happen. It may be fair for them to rely on very good high performance managers - and I'm not going to be specific here - but it has to come from the top."

Unashamed about the emphasis on winning Olympic gold rather than next best, Coates re-iterated his view that funding for Olympic sports in Australia is 'adequate' and that more money would not necessarily mean more success.

Over the past four years a total of $336 million was provided by the Federal Government to support Australia's team of 410 athletes who competed in London.

Coates added "it can't just be funding when you understand that Great Britain spent 1.2 billion over four years, but so did France and so did Germany and got remarkably different results.

"I'm absolutely certain that the sports have to look at themselves rather than look for more money."

Raising the example of rowing, Coates said New Zealand was clearly "doing something much better than we are" with less money. He also made special mention of Peter Conde, formerly of Boston Consulting, who formulated Yachting Australia's gold medal plan that ultimately produced three gold medals and one silver in London after the unit won none at all in Athens in 2004.

Not since Barcelona, when the team came 10th overall with 27 medals, including seven gold, has Australia finished outside the top seven nations on the medal tally.

Coates lamented that Australia had won medals in only 11 sports in London - a drop from 14 in Beijing in 2008 - which he termed "less than optimal".

Coates also told ABC radio that before every Olympics since Sydney he and others have been setting medal tally benchmarks based on the previous year's world championships results, adding "there has been a strong correlation between benchmarking; that is, (comparing) the medals we win in the year prior to the Olympic Games with the actual Games.

"So in 1999 benchmarking - using world championships or the best equivalent - we had 60 medals. In 2000 we had 58.

"We benchmarked 50 for Athens and ... we were spot on.

"We benchmarked 44 for Beijing and got 46 and here we benchmarked 35 and got 35."

For more information go to http://bit.ly/MQpLQj

11th August 2012 - FAIRFAX MEDIA SLAM AOC’S OLYMPIC PERFORMANCE AND FUNDING CLAIMS

7th August 2012 - SWIMMING AUSTRALIA TO PROBE LONDON MEDAL HAUL

6th August 2012 - AOC’S COATES CALLS FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO SCHOOL SPORT

15th April 2012 - OLYMPICS CHIEF COATES’ ANGER AT PRIME MINISTER’S OLYMPIC GAMES NON-ATTENDANCE

5th May 2010 - FEDS TO BACKTRACK ON CRAWFORD RECOMMENDATIONS?

28th October 2009 - COATES DEMANDS FEDERAL MONEY FOR SPORT

25th August 2008 - DASH FOR OLYMPIC SPORTING CASH?


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