2012 AGM: Coates optimistic, Lundy inspired ahead of London5 May 2012
Twelve weeks to the day from competition starting at the London Olympic Games the Australian Olympic Committee has updated key stakeholders and media on all areas of Team preparations and AOC programs at the 2012 Annual General Meeting in Sydney.
AOC President John Coates acknowledged the target of top five for gold and total medals in London was a huge challenge but he remains optimistic. Federal Minister for Sport Senator Kate Lundy stressed how important the Olympic Games were for inspiring Australians to be active.
Coates explained that based on 2011 benchmark events Australia is off the pace in 8th position with total of 35 medals and our friendly rivals Great Britain with 58 medals in 2011 were well ahead.
However he is still confident that the target can be achieved with the number of athletes just off the podium in 2011.
“In analysing these 2011 benchmark statistics there is certainly cause for optimism from the fact that our sports achieved 12 fourth places against 11 by GB and 24 fifth places against 12 by GB,” Coates said.
“The task now is to convert as many of these as possible to medals and for the 35 who did, to medal again. The task has been greatly assisted by the Australian Sports Commission’s (ASC) additional $4.5 million ‘Green and Gold’ targeted funding initiatives to NFs and individual athletes and for which I take this opportunity to thank the ASC.”
Coates also expects the recent numbers of winter medals will continue to grow at the Winter Olympic Games at Sochi, Russia in 2014 with the great work being done by the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia, institutes of sport and with new facilities like the water jumps training facility in Brisbane for freestyle athletes becoming operational.
Senator Lundy was full of praise for the significant contribution made by all of the sports federations and the AOC for their efforts in preparing the nation’s athletes for London and for increasing sports participation of Australians.
“Celebrating the success of our elite athletes is what excites and motivates people to participate in sport,” Lundy said.
“Children will try harder in their own sports or take up new sports after watching London. They will be leaping over couches rather than sitting on them after watching Sally (Pearson), more cartwheels happening after watching Lauren Mitchell and swimmers trying to get to the end of the pool faster after seeing the Missile Magnussen.
“They won’t all be champions but they will be active, inspired and go on to lead healthier lives.”
Lundy was proud of how the Labor Government and her predecessor Senator Mark Arbib were delivering on all elements across participation and elite with the additional $4.5 million in ‘Green and Gold’ funding that was directly impacting athletes for London and maintaining Australia’s record of international success that is the envy of many nations.
She used the example of modern pentathlete Chloe Esposito who has made dramatic improvement and now achieving podium places in World Cup events and the $20,000 funding boost being a factor in this success.
During the AGM Coates thanked sponsors and the AOC sports marketing agency SMAM who were responsible for the $36.4 million generated over the quadrennial to fund and support the Teams. The AOC is independent of Government Funding and grateful to the Government for the increased funding direct to the national sports federations as a result of AOC lobbying.
Coates updated the AGM on the significant progress on the fight against irregular and illegal betting in sport.
He also stressed the importance of the elections at the 2013 AGM and encouraged all National Federations to work towards bridging the gender gap of the AOC Board. Olympic Teams are now effectively gender equal and women winning more medals but the boardroom not reflecting this.