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Medal count bar unfair to athletes

AAP logoAAP 23/08/2016

The authors of a landmark report on the future of sport in Australia have reiterated their view that defining Olympics success as a Top 5 gold medal finish isn't sustainable or smart.

"Creating unrealistic expectations is hugely unfair to our athletes," David Crawford, Sam Mostyn, Colin Carter and Pamela Tye wrote in The Australian as the Australian team returned home on Wednesday.

"Our view is we should define the sports we wish to succeed in -- and back these up with reasonable investment."

The authors of the 2009 Crawford report said they had been told by many sports administrators that a Top 5 finish in today's world is unrealistic.

"Our view is our Olympic athletes did incredibly well at Rio," they said.

"Equal ninth in the gold medal count and eighth in the total medal count is a wonderful performance."

But a sense of failure accompanied Australia's results -- and has in the past two Olympics -- mainly because we had been led to expect a Top 5 gold medal finish was our rightful position.

Winning gold medals came at a huge dollar cost, and that competed with funding for community and school sports, the trio argued.

"Our country needs a rethink what we wish to achieve in sport."

A big part of that involves realistic assessments of how and where we define Olympic "success".

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