The Australian Olympians are home, they received a bipartisan polly reception at Sydney Airport on Wednesday morning. Let's put the wrappers on one of the darker moments of the Aus Athens campaign... The Sally Robbins Story.
Sally, as you'll recall, collapsed in her seat on the Australian boat during the women's eights final on the middle Sunday. There were some narky comments from some of her team-mates, and reports that some of them were threatening to chuck her overboard. (They didn't, but I'm surprised that John Howard didn't say that they did. But that's another topic.)
What we saw on display was human nature, and I don't think anyone should be overly upset about that. The Australian Olympic Committee had a "you must bite your lip at all times" clause in the athletes' contracts without giving any guidance as how to make that practical.
ABC's Media Watch wrapped it all up superbly on Monday night. Here's a collection of media coverage after the event last week:
- "Australian rower under fire after Olympic collapse", 7.30 Report, ABC-TV 23 Aug transcript.
- "Former Olympic rower discusses Sally Robbins' collapse", Lateline, ABC-TV 23 Aug transcript.
- "Robbins faces abuse after Australian rowing defeat", Lateline, ABC-TV 23 Aug transcript.
- "Australian rower speaks out after Olympic collapse", Lateline, ABC-TV 23 Aug transcript.
- "Women rowers reconcile following Robbins collapse", 7.30 Report, ABC-TV 24 Aug transcript.
- "Rowers show united front", Lateline, ABC-TV 24 Aug transcript.
Unsurprisingly, the Sally Robbins story makes a Reuters list of the Games' quirkiest moments.
I happen to consider beach volleyball to be one of the more successful introductions to the Olympics in the past decade or so. Not for the reasons most people would think. It's just a womderfully athletic sport, whether male or female, highly telegenic and allows the spectators to be close to the action. A total of 104 matches played over twelve days in the two competitions. Unless Atlanta or Sydney, Athens saw beach volleyball action till midnight most evenings. Floodlit beach volleyball is a bizarre thing to watch on television. I wonder what it is like live...
I stated my views last Monday week on the use of the term "beach" volleyball, and I've been impressed at how the Norwegians call it "sandvolleyball". So, from now on, sandvolleyball it shall be here.
Congratulations, then, to the medallists. For the women, Kerri Walsh and Misty May of the United States with gold, Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede of Brazil with silver, and Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs (USA) with bronze. In the men's event, Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos of Brazil (gold), Javier Bosma and Pablo Herrera of Spain (silver), Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel of Switzerland (bronze).
Australia continued a fine Olympic tradition begun in other sports and came fourth in both competitions.
Bjorn Berg. It sounds like a typo but this 32 year-old Swede made it into the round of 16, along with his partner Simon Dahl, where they were eliminated by the Spaniards. Berg and Dahl indeed share a website (in Swedish).
Still to come: A list of the best media olympic websites that I have been following over the past three weeks, and some of the olympic blogs.