SBS Radio News
The SBS MP3 Player requires the Adobe Flash 8 Plugin. You can get Flash from here...
Radio News Bulletin
Multimedia journalist Andy Park hovers the SBS drone over the day’s news. Follow @andy_park
Whose gold medal? The real cost of sport
01 July 2012, 0:00 AM | Source: AP
Australia is facing a blow out in the cost per medal at this year’s London 2012 Olympics (if I am allowed to use that term without copyright approval) to somewhere in the region of $49 million per medal.
In the lead up to this year’s games, The Australian Sports Commission has funnelled more than 588 million dollars into this year's games.
And although the Australian Olympic Committee itself does not directly take federal funding, its expectations for this year's games are to place in the top five nations.
You don’t have to be a sports nut to see that we aren’t going to reach the Athens medal tally reached eight years ago.
The AOC funding guidelines say they have put $15 million into the 2012 Olympic team, with the IOC and the London Olympic Games Organising Committee putting a further $1.3 million.
Plus the AIS received another $11 million funding boost last November.
It all begs the question: should the taxpayer foot the bill if you choose to get really good at playing games?
Before you get incensed about a the profound meaning of sport in Australian culture, or like the government, talk about grass-roots trickle down or the effect sports funding has on childhood obesity, think about this:
If you won a gold medal in, say badminton, at any “major international competition” last year, the AOC would give you $20,000. Tax free. No strings attached.
The money comes from a $4.86 million dollar adidas Medal Incentive Funding program and is designed to help prepare athletes for the games.
All olympic-level athletes, all sports, all medals: paid between $10,000 and $20,000 paid by the AOC, without athletes beholden to advertise the fact.
Before we all get taken by that image of a lone Australian sportsperson training on a empty regional oval, enduring financial hardships and crying poor over this valiant attempts to further our sporting mythology, let's also consider the significant commercial contact athletes are able to attract in the lead up to an olympic year.
It’s not new to say there’s money in sports. But would the wheels fall off if those significant commercial and broadcasting entities were left to fund it?
Whatever the cost to the taxpayer, if we can’t better the Brits in a medal tally, at least it’s costing them more.
And that's what sport is really about, right?