Australia is always serious about winning medals at the Olympics. Recent news shows that they are putting their money where their mouth is as they prepare for the London Olympics. Today I heard that athletes in Australia’s elite performance programme will receive a funding boost of AUD$120 million in the run up to London 2012 Olympics.
The view as reported in the media is that winning Olympic gold medals give an important boost to National moral. The cost of $120 million shared by 20 million tax paying people in Australia is seen as a fair price to pay for success. $6 / person is surely a great value price to contribute to bringing home more medals.
I would agree, but then perhaps I am biased being so involved in the Olympics. I see that any support given to athletes is a good thing. As long as the funding gets to the coaches and athletes; not sloshed around management.
In contrast, it was reported that last year Team GB was struggling to reach a £15 million ($20 million) funding target for Elite Performance training. But this was in the depths of the recession and the funding is now in place. However this funding is in contrast to Australia with a cost per person in the UK of only £0.25 ($0.40).
It is not just about the money, but the quality of the coaching is a key factor in my opinion. Team GB has made huge advances in this area since Beijing 2008. As this all plays out in the years ahead, it is going to see what the balance of results are in the end.
If you are interested in reading more about the number of Olympic medals won at Beijing 2008, versus population size and GDP of countries, then this post will interest you.
P.S. many in Australia are disappointed with the announcement of this funding. They had hoped for $100 million per year, in the run-up to London 2012!