OLYMPICS: Does more money mean more success?
Published on April 23rd, 2013
By Roger McMillan, editor
Sailing has been the major beneficiary in a ‘redistribution of wealth’ announced by the Australian Sports Commission.
On the back of its three gold medals at London 2012, sailing’s government funding is up 16.7% while swimming (down 5.8%) and athletics (down 3.8%) have paid the price for poor performances at the last Olympic Games. Paralympic sport also received a large funding increase of 14.1% after a successful London Games.
Sailing was the most successful Australian sport at London 2012 and the increased funding amounts to an extra $900,000 a year, ‘taking into account its equipment costs and the addition of two new classes to the program for the Rio Olympics’.
The Australian Olympic Committee supports the changes in the funding model. “There will always be winners and losers under the new strategy but we fully support Winning Edge and its goals. Sports are now more accountable and they are not only judged on performance but governance,” AOC president John Coates said.
Among the greater sailing community, there is always a vocal group who decry sailing’s Olympic program and demand that the money be spent at the club level to encourage more participation. This overlooks the fact that the money from the ASC is specifically earmarked for Olympic participation and were it not for the success of sailors like Slingsy, Page, Belcher, Outteridge and Jensen, this funding would dry up completely.
The funding by the ASC for ‘sports participation’ in all sports is unchanged, and sailing does receive a significant sum for ‘grassroots’ activities. The two programs have to be considered completely separately, although there is strong evidence to suggest that success at elite level equates to a growth in participation.
Maintaining the Edge…
While the increased funding is obviously desirable and Yachting Australia’s High Performance program is rightly hailed as very successful, it is perhaps timely to remind all those involved that ‘pride comes before a fall’.
Since the well-earned celebrations at Portland/Weymouth, not everything has been going perfectly for the Australian Sailing Team. – Australian Sailing + Yachting, read on