Australia was confidently expecting to come fifth at the London Olympics. We’re now 19th on the medal list. We have 9 silver medals. If we’d won those events, we’d be third.
Worse, we’re way behind New Zealand, our traditional rivals, and the British, who we love to beat. The current “silver rush” has Australia’s media hard at work trying to make sense of a sudden- and in fairness very uncharacteristic- lack of gold. It’s also created a general whingeing session.
The Sydney Morning Herald explains a few of the issues:
In London, Australians are finding themselves constantly compared to the buoyant British who, by Friday night, had won eight gold medals. Losing the so-called Olympic Ashes should not be unbearable given the British - heavily funded by lottery money and making the most of home field advantage - had been expected to do well, just as Australia excelled in Sydney.
Although, with Australia so often second best, the jubilation of the Brits was becoming a touch hard to stomach.
The Australian word “whingeing” (pronounced win-jing) means “whining and groaning”. We accuse the British (called “Poms” in Australian) of whingeing as a national characteristic. Whingeing Australians, however, aren’t too dazzling, either, and have their own unique and unforgettable effects on digestion.
The whingeing tends to cause misreading of issues. British cyclist Cavendish, for example, accused the Australians of riding a negative race to prevent Britain from winning. Others don’t agree, and said that Britain’s race plan was the problem. The actual misreading of issues was that Cavendish apparently honestly thought the Australians had come to the Olympics to do anything but win. Two of the Australian team, Cadel Evans and Stuart O’Grady, are champions in their own right. Losing is not their idea of a great result, and they don’t do it if they can avoid it.
We don’t go to competitions to lose. We never have and never will. We may or may not win, but we’re there to win. If someone else beats us, the professionals don’t bleat about it- They find out what went wrong, and fix it. Australia’s swimmers, now the subject of much pointless non-professional analysis, are globally second only to the US/China in world rankings. We love beating the US swimmers in particular, simply because they are the best in the world. If we don’t, while everyone acknowledges the Americans’ skills, we won’t settle for anything less than doing better.
Which is why the sudden Olympic whingeing session is so embarrassing. This whingeing is being done, not, notably, so much by the athletes, but by “pundits” (there are other, more genetically accurate descriptions) adding their low-demand, unasked-for inputs and making it worse. This is second hand whingeing, too, the worst kind, which involves complaining about other people’s performance.
What the hell is it achieving?
Are we winning more medals as a result of whingeing?
Are we just going to sulk through the next few weeks like spoiled brats?
Do these bludgers (lazy people paid for doing nothing) have a clue?
Realistically, we know three basic things about these Games -
1. The British are really trying their guts out, as expected, and good luck to them. We went out as hard as we could in Sydney, and they’re doing exactly the same thing in London.
2. If you tell Kiwis that they’ve never beaten Australia in any sport from tiddlywinks upwards, set your clock by the fact that they will. They turn into instant All Blacks.
3. Beating the Americans and Chinese is almost as good as beating the Poms and Kiwis.
To hell with the “pundits” and other whingers.
The (polite) Australian traditional language version- You whingeing bludgers and the rest of the extended Buckley family no-hopers can shut up until gum leaves. It's not like you've got anything to say.
The other great Aussie tradition is that if you do lose, you do it with guts and honesty. That’s the only standard of performance that matters- The Australian standard.
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