Australia can rebound from medal slip: Coates22 February 2011
Australia is still aiming for a top five finish on the overall medal tally at next year’s London Olympics despite slipping to eighth position on the latest Benchmark analysis of Olympic sports.
“A top five position is still very achievable,” said AOC President John Coates. “There are five countries jostling for fourth and fifth spots who are all very close together.”
The top three nations on the overall medal tally are streets ahead of the rest with Russia 97 medals, USA 94 and China 93.
Great Britain is fourth with 48 medals followed by Germany 47, France 45 and Japan 43. Australia is eighth on 42 medals.
The study is based on results from World Championships, World Cups and other major international events held in 2010.
In the case of swimming and athletics which did not have world championships in 2010 it is based on performances achieved internationally over the year.
Coates remains supremely confident that Australia’s athletes will improve dramatically between now and the start of the London Games in July 2012.
He believes the Federal Government funding provided late last year will lift performances and Australia is seeing a resurgence in some sports particularly cycling and track and field.
“The different sports are deriving enormous benefit from the Federal Government’s injection of $23m to high performance sport last year. It took a while coming but it is kicking in now,” Coates said.
The Federal Minister for Sport, Senator Mark Arbib, recently provided more Federal Government backing to ten targeted Olympic sports allocating another $2.5m through the Green and Gold Program.
Out of the 42 medals won or credited in 2010, cycling won six, track and field four, sailing four, rowing four and diving three.
Swimming which traditionally wins the bulk of Australia’s medals finished with 14. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics our swimmers won 20 medals out of a total of 46.
“Our male swimming ranks have been boosted by the return of Geoff Huegill, Ian Thorpe and Michael Klim,” Coates said.
“They will have a positive impact on the London Team.”
Australia finished fourth on the overall medal tally at the Sydney 2000 Games with 58 medals. We were fourth again in Athens in 2004 with 49 medals.
“The mid to high 40’s should be enough to get us into the top five again in London. That is our aim,” Coates said.
“The spread of medals is now greater and the teams from western Europe will be a greater challenge in London. One thing is certain, if we finish ahead of Great Britain we will finish in the top five.”
“We won one medal in cycling in Beijing compared to 10 in Athens four years earlier. The young riders like Cameron Meyer and Jack Bobridge have now stepped up and this is where we can really hurt Great Britain who dominated cycling in 2008.”