Tuesday, 18 Sep 12
Australia spends big money building up elite athletes. But is the money well spent?
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Morale in Australia’s swimming team is at rock bottom, after a disappointing Olympic performance and new allegations about ill-discipline, juvenile pranks and disunity.
High profile swimmers speak out about the allegations, revealing that no one from Swimming Australia has spoken to them since the Olympics. And they claim they haven’t had a team psychologist since 2009.
The swimmers are joined by gymnasts, runners and other Olympians, who say that although big sums are going to their organisations, the money isn’t trickling down to them individually and they’re often forced to rely on their families for financial support. Their parents are selling family businesses and spending their savings. Many of them are living below the poverty line.
Australian taxpayers spent $588 million on this year’s Olympic Games and won a total of 35 medals. In stark contrast, Australian Paralympians fared much better, with a fraction of the financial backing.
Meanwhile, community sport clubs are crying poor, saying they can’t afford to support promising young talent. They believe more public dollars should come to them so they can inspire the next generation of athletes from the ground up.
Insight explores where sports funding goes in Australia and whether there is a better way to spend the money.
Producer: Sarah Bamford
Associate Producer: Kym Middleton
Researcher: Amanda Xiberras
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