Perhaps you saw that overnight snowboarder Games Torah Bright won silver in the women’s halfpipe at Sochi’s Winter Olympics. This was Australia’s first medal in these Games, and it brings our total of ten Winter Olympics medals to ten. Finally, double figures!
Although we have participate in the Winter Olympics every year since 1936, all of our medals won within the last 20 years. So, why Australia’s sudden (relatively speaking) success?
You Can Buy Medals With Money Games
Performance has been boost by a greater financial commitment by both the Australian Sports Commission/Australian Institute of Sport of the Australian government (ASC/AIS) and the Australian Olympic Committee.
Gough Whitlam’s Labor government, which established the first major government funding for sport and recreation programs, saw a dramatic increase in government funding for sport in Australia.
Although initial funding was modest, a poor performance at the 1976 Montreal Olympics (where Australia did not win any gold medals but placed 32nd) prompted a significant transformation in national sport policy. The AIS was establish in 1981 and the ASC emerged in 1985. This led to an increase in spending on elite sport programs.
Surprisingly, until the 1980s, the AOC paid very little attention to Winter Games athletes and preferred to focus on summer sports. The AOC had to reconsider its support for winter sports with the introduction of funding from the government. It began to fund Olympic athletes in both the summer and winter disciplines.
Support For First-Class Infrastructure Games
Providing better coaching, better training facilities, and more opportunities to compete were all directly tie in with the increase in financial aid for elite athletes.
Monetary assistance allowed Australian winter sport athletes to relocate to Europe or North America during winter. They had access to top-level facilities, world-class coaching, and state-of the-art training methods.
The 1998 formation of the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia by the AOC was a major step forward in the development of Winter Olympic sports. This new body had the purpose of enhancing elite performance in winter sports by Australian athletes, through providing adequate funding, top-class programming and technical coaching.
The AOC is a major contributor to OWI budget. They now commit A$1,000,000 per year (from 2010 through 2014), a sum that was quickly increased after the success in Turin 2006.
Reveal A Revenue
OWI annual reports reveal a revenue exceeding A$3.5million. Contributions of about a third to the ASC/AIS through a variety of grant programs, close enough to the AOC and the rest from financial and contra support sources from sponsors, other the private sector.
Many winter disciplines are home to many of these resorts, including Thredbo (alpine ski) and Perisher in NSW and Mt Buller in Victoria.
The OWI has enjoyed strong leadership and support over the years from key people like Geoff Henke (ex-ice hockey player, AOC official), Ian Chesterman (Sochi chef de mission), Geoff Lipshut (OWI chief) and Rino Grollo (head of Grollo Australia Rino Grollo).
This model has been extremely successful because these individuals have worked closely together with the AOC, government and private sectors.
The OWI Headquarters moved into the A$60million Medibank Icehouse (National Ice Sports Centre), in Melbourne, in early 2010. This important organisation has seen a shift in its role in high-performance programs for winter sports. It offers ice hockey, figure skating as well as short track speed skating and curling.
Results From A New Cycle And New Sports
With the Summer and Winter Games being alternated every year in even years, the new Olympic cycle was adopted in the 1990s. This resulted in the Winter Games getting a higher profile from many perspectives. the media, sponsors and the public.
The media coverage for the Winter Games was enhanced at the international and national levels. This was especially true when the Winter Olympic Games were not held in the same year as them.
Another key IOC initiative was to adopt new Winter Games events like short track speed skating, and extreme sports such freestyle skiing and snowboarding. This appealed to an entirely new generation of Australians who are used to traditional surfing, water sports, and summer beach culture.
Due to the emergence and popularity of the X Games, a popular sport competition, the IOC had to act. This was attracting the attention of the younger generation.
It was a popular choice for young Australians to enjoy winter sports. Now, the surf and sea had to share the spotlight with the slopes and snow. A large number of people were attracted to winter sports, which meant that there was a greater pool of talent available from which elite athletes could emerge.
The fact that Australia’s winter season is opposite to the northern hemisphere has allowed Australian winter sports athletes to train and compete all year, in both domestic and international settings.
Targeted Approach Games
The key reason that Australia has had recent success in winter sport is the philosophy of using limited financial resources to target the sports most likely to produce positive results. This is a far more effective approach than distributing money to many different sports.
Since its inception, OWI has primarily sought to fund athletes in a limited number of winter sports. Including figure skating, alpine skiing, cross-country and downhill skiing, and speed skating.
A unique approach to targeting has been the possibility of relocating athletes into other sports and recycling them. Gymnasts Alisa Camplin, a gold medallist, and Lydia Lassila, a silver medallist in aerial skiing were recruit. (This is also a skill that the Chinese are skill at.
Jana Pittman, Astrid Radjenovic, and Astrid Radjenovic are also present in Sochi. They were originally athletes competing in the bobsleigh competition. They are most likely to achieve a top ten result at these Games.
More examples of athletes found in other sports, such as the skeleton. Our three Sochi-selected athletes Michelle Steele and Lucy Chaffer all come from different sporting backgrounds.
This known as head-hunting. It involves a combination of sport and exercise science to find. The best high-performance athletes who can adapt and thrive in a new environment.
Success Is A Combination Of Success And Luck Games
Our cultural connection to sport is important. We are fascinate by winning at the Olympics and other sporting events. The Winter Games have been influence by Australia’s Summer Games success. It seems that success breeds success.
The high number of medals at the recent Summer and Winter Games has prompted media. And the public to expect big things from Australian athletes, wherever and whenever they compete.
There has been an element of luck as well, as evidenced by Steven Bradbury’s win. In Salt Lake City that earned us our first ever winter Gold and Alisa Cameron’s knee holding together in Turin.
John Coates, AOC president, stated that there are high expectations for success at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. He claimed that the Australian Sochi team’s performance objective is to be among. The top 15 countries in total medal standings. For which it is expect four or more medals will need.
Recent Australian performances at international competitions suggest. That there is a high probability that this goal can be achieve although we might need some luck.