Everyone has their own ideas about why the Australian swim team are performing to an Eddie the Eel standard.
Lazy? Arrogant? Over-technical, male coaches, stroke quality vs. quantity, distracting court cases … the list goes on.
But I think Eamon Sullivan summed up the problem after the team lost the 4 x 100m medley: “The strategy didn’t work. We needed a different strategy.”
OK, Eamon, try this on for size: swim faster! It’s a sprint!
It is 100m – all you have to do is dive in and swim your little heart out. And win. There’s no strategy, just swim fast. Preferably faster than the other guys.
Sure, you can train differently, eat more carbs, less carbs, more goji berries, visualise success, or at this stage of the games – pray! It’s not going to hurt! But essentially – swim fast.
There – that’s the strategy. Pure and simple, direct from the couch to the pool. And endorsed by Eddie the Eel.
Maybe because there’s no Stephanie Rice or Bruce McAveney on screen, but there’s something fairytale-ish about the Winter Olympics. While I’m sweating it out in Sydney humidity, which is the weather equivalent of walking through chicken soup, I can feel myself becoming a few octaves calmer watching uberfit Austrians glide downhill on pavlova-like slopes, listening to cowbells and watching spectators rugged up in the latest outfits from Jenny Craig.
It’s a bit of air-conditioning for the mind, and what’s really good too is that there’s no emotional involvement. Hey it’s not like the Aussies are going to win any actual medals is it? (And a Canadian who’s fallen out with his teammates and a Morman don’t count). Unless there’s another Steve Bradbury lucky dip moment, the Aussies are there as only novelty value, on par with the Jamaican bobsled team, who probably would do just about as well as any other bobsled team the way it’s going. It’s refreshing to watch sport without caring who wins and because there’s no hope of a medal, it means we get to see more of the action instead of enduring rounds of studio interviews with toothy medal winners.
My only regret is that it’s not on in prime television viewing time, so it’s not a viable viewing alternative to Two and a Half Men or Home and Away, but on a day with 93 per cent humidity, and cicadas in stereo in the backyard, it feels like snow falling on cedars zen meditation and I can’t get enough of it.