Australians do not like sports administrators. That is putting it softly. They were revolted by what the Panama Hat Brigade did to our Dawn and at Kevan Gosper’s spoiling Kathie’s night by presenting her medal. Now we have to put up with John Coates. Is there anyone in this wide land who likes or respects this man? He is a lawyer from Sydney with tenure with the IOC and AOC longer than that of most African dictators and he pulls down north of $700,000 a year so that he can schlep about the planet in the right part of the aircraft and then point the bone at everyone but himself for any perceived failure. If the Australians have ‘failed’, whatever that means, at the Olympics, who could be more responsible than John Coates?
For reasons given by David Crawford and others in The Australian today, I think that our athletes did incredibly well at Rio. The problem was that people had created unrealistic expectations that put an unfair burden on our chosen few. Another problem was that the games should never have been held there. Another problem was that the Russians should never have been let in, and the athletes were left to repudiate their minders. This combination of ineptitude and corruption blights and typifies the IOC and taints anyone inside their shadow.
Yet this Sydney lawyer waffles on – before the games have ended – about Australians not getting an adequate return on their capital investment. Not in my bloody name, Sport. I don’t pay taxes to swell the egos of professional entertainers or to gratify couch-dwellers with an unabashed nationalism that would make Kipling look like a shy novice. I don’t sponsor spoiled brats with no brains and less manners to pose as tennis players or any other over-paid service-provider.
Does any sane person think more of the Poms or the Japs now that they are in the business of buying Gold and puffing their chests through the medium of the IOC? Do the English not see that they have destroyed their national identity in football through that moral and intellectual trainwreck called the English Premier League? Is that not sufficient warning of the dangerous futility of spending treasure on circuses and colosseums for the masses? Why don’t we apply our capital for sports facilities for kids at the bottom rather than adults at the top? Do these people not see an almost universal revolt against what people call inequality and elitism and entrenched hierarchies – all qualities made flesh in John Coates?
After the women’s sevens, the unsurpassable highlight at Rio for me was Chloe Esposito. (The women may yet save rugby in Australia – God knows that the Wallabies need all the help that they can get.) Chloe’s was a colossal achievement in areas where European nations are so much stronger. It was an achievement to match that of Michelle Payne – and Chloe, God bless her, has the same sunny, Australian plainness of outlook and speech. We can all be mightily proud of Chloe and her family – and it would be so much worse than vulgar even to mention money in the same breath. I may just add that her brother finished seventh – the place filled by Chloe in London. This could be the start of a dynasty!
Mr Coates was also quoted as saying that the issue of crime was not addressed in Rio’s submission to stage the games. I went there in about 1989. Most parts were no-go and we were advised not to wear watches. A few years later urchins spewed out of the sewers and overran the beaches. Criminality in Rio is notorious around the world.
It is time for Mr Coates to move on. One of those ghastly gaming companies that blight sport on TV would give you long odds against his doing that sans dynamite.
Poet of the Month: Kenneth Slessor
Sophie’s my world… my arm must sooner or later
Like Francis Drake turn circumnavigator,
Stem the dark tides, take by the throat strange gales
And toss their spume to stars unknown, as kings
Rain diamonds to the mob… then arch my sails
By waterspouts of lace and bubbling rings
Gulfed in deep satin, conquer those warmer waves
Where none but mermaids ride, and the still caves
Untrod by sailors…aye, and with needle set,
Rounding Cape Turnagain, and take up my way,
And so to the Ivory Coast…and further yet,
Port of all drownéd lovers, Adventure Bay!