Australia looks ahead to London 2012 Olympics
The countdown to the London 2012 Olympic Games kicks into overdrive this week with 100 days to go until one of the most anticipated sporting events of the decade.
By Tim Martin
WITH just 100 days to go, London 2012 is literally just around the corner. And Australia (fingers crossed) is looking good for a very successful event.
Despite plans to send one of Australia’s smaller Olympic teams to the English capital later this year, commentators and analysts are already starting to talk up our chances. In fact, our green and gold Aussie athletes could be on for a better-than-expected medal haul when the Games begin on 27 July.
The new boss at the Australian Institute of Sport, Matt Favier, is a man well placed to compare how Australia might fare against our traditional rivals – Great Britain. Just months ago Favier was the head of performance at UK Sport, the body charged with delivering Britain’s sporting excellence. But he left that role to return home to Australia and while the Brits may have taken umbrage at losing their top man so close to the Olympics, the UK’s loss is well and truly Australia’s gain.
”I know the Brits are talking fourth in the medal tally, more medals across more sports in London and second in the medal tally for the Paralympics,” Favier told The Sun-Herald in Australia. ”My analysis suggests that is very likely where they may end up, but it’s going to be very competitive. It will be very difficult for any nation to displace China, Russia and the US from the top three. But what is going to be very interesting is the fourth- to eighth-place group.”
The Australian Olympic Committee had originally predicted a modest medal haul for Australia in 2012, with 42 medals and a slip to eighth on the medal table. But Favier believes the Aussies could do better than that and maybe even displace the Poms.
“It’s not inconceivable that the Brits could fall from fourth to eighth and Australia finishes fourth. It’s within the scope and the capacity of the Australian system to do that. Somewhere in there is Germany, Japan and France isn’t far away. I’m looking at the nations in that zone of fourth to eighth and it just comes down to the margins on the day.
”From an Australian perspective, the athletes in the final who can step up from being a finalist to a medallist, that’s where the magic lies for all of us. It is possible.”
It’s encouraging news, and news that has been backed up by some solid recent performances by our Olympic hopefuls across a range of sports.
In fact, Australian journalist Adrian Proszenko, in an article for The Sun-Herald, has suggested we may even be able to achieve a record-equalling tally of 58 medals, including 17 golds. Such a performance would outdo our Olympic feats of Sydney 2000 where Australia hauled in 16 golds, and would make us serious contenders for the coveted fourth spot on the Olympic medal table. But if that is to happen, Proszenko suggests we would need numerous gold medals in the diving, hockey, sailing, swimming and cycling and some unforgettable performances in the canoeing, basketball, equestrian and gymnastic events and the water polo.
Whatever the results, it is going to be fantastic to be part of the build up as London prepares for the capital’s biggest event in recent history. And with only 101 days until the Games of the XXX Olympiad, Australian Times is ready to launch our own Olympic countdown – with a weekly series of ‘unforgettable Australian Olympic moments’. Below is our first ‘unforgettable moment’. Make sure you check out the newspaper next week for our next instalment and please email the Editor at editor@AustralianTimes.co.uk with your own ‘unforgettable moments’. Come on Aussies, c’mon!
Unforgettable Australian Olympic moments
Athens 1896: Golden beginnings for Aussie Flack
Australia has competed in every modern summer Olympics since the inaugural 1896 games in Athens where we sent one-man-team Edward Flack to represent our still un-federated nation. In the opening four days of the games, Flack competed in the finals of the 800 and 1500 metres and claimed victory in both. One man, two golds – a perfect prelude to the authority Aussie athletes would later stamp on Olympic history. By Bianca Soldani