Sporting confidential: Games gives us a reality check

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THE London Olympics, if nothing else, was a reality check for Australian sport. Bold estimations of a fifth place on the medal table with 16 gold, as it turned out, were way off the mark. 

We should be rejoicing in the fact that Australia won seven gold, 16 silver and 12 bronze. Perhaps some were expecting better because of the performances of Australians in Sydney, Athens and Beijing.

The simple fact is that the rest of the world is starting to lift in sports that Australia had previously dominated.

Countries that had not focused on spending money on sporting excellence are now seeing the benefits of success on the world sporting stage. It can do more to lift the profile of a country than major business deals, and it is seen by many as evidence of prosperity.

The rise in population will see the sporting landscape change even more at the Rio Olympics. You can only imagine what India will do in the future if it starts putting resources into sport, apart from cricket, given the size of its population. Also, what will happen if African countries start looking beyond distance running and soccer?

The reality is that we should be celebrating every medal and everyone that makes it through to the Olympics. But we can always look as how we can improve, as we should be doing in all aspects of human endeavour.

Silver into gold?

THE task now for sporting organisations is to assess how to turn 16 silver medals into gold.

Part of the review process should look at the relationship between the State institutes of sport and the AIS and whether it is working to its maximum. The same goes for the dialogue between coaches, with suggestions that many are protective of giving too much information to rival coaches within Australia.

There needs to be a collective approach. But it shouldn’t be all about medals; it should be about encouraging more people to be involved in sport.

Jackson stepped up

AN Olympics highlight hard to go past is Lauren Jackson’s performance in the bronze-medal game in women’s basketball. With Liz Cambage struggling, Jackson dominated. Patty Mills was outstanding in the men’s team with his performance against the US another highlight.

Goodbye, terrific Toni

IF there is anybody who packed as much as Toni Peadon (nee Medcalf) did into her life, it is hard to imagine.

Last week the Albert Hall was packed to say farewell to this remarkable lady who left an imprint on everybody she came into contact with.

Just short of her 49th birthday she passed away due to a heart condition, which she had lived with for years. It did little to dampen her enthusiasm for life.

Toni was an achiever of the highest order. Her work in pediatric resuscitation was legendary and she became a leader in this field, volunteering her time to help others in the field. She was also well respected in her role in emergency medicine at Canberra and Calvary Hospitals.

Toni was formidable in anything she set her mind to. Despite the heart condition, she was determined to conquer the sport of triathlon. Last year, just five years after taking up the sport, she finished 22nd in the 45-to-49 age group at the World Masters’ Triathlon Championships in Beijing.
She was also heavily involved as a parent of four children at Canberra Girls Grammar and Canberra Grammar.

Toni leaves behind her husband, Brian, and their four children. The Toni Medcalf Scholarship Fund has been established to help medical and nursing staff gain education and training in the medical management of ill and injured children.

Donations to Advanced Paediatric Life Support Australia.

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Tim Gavel
Journalist and ABC sports broadcaster

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