The Australian swim team is freaking out and pointing fingers at everyone and everything following a less than stellar performance in London, where they took home only one gold medal, six silver, and three of whatever the other shade is. Most are blaming a lack of cohesion and some prank phone calls and doorbell ditching, neither of which should hamper world class swimmers from winning medals.
The more likely scenario was posed by head coach Leigh Nugent in a letter to the Australian Swimming board, which was then leaked to the Sydney Morning Herald and eventually the rest of the media. In it Nugent argues that maybe expectations for the team were a bit too high, and that past performance doesn’t necessarily dictate future results.
“It appears evident following the barrage of criticism the expectation placed on this team was based on the fantasy that the result from four years prior will automatically repeat itself regardless of the comparative world positioning,” he wrote.
And while everyone agrees that Australia underperformed, especially following six golds in Beijing (note: two fewer than Michael Phelps), the team has only averaged roughly four golds per Games at the five previous Olympics, compared to the Americans twelve per Games over the same period. The Aussies only won five at their home Olympics in Sydney.
So yes, disappointing, but aside from missing the podium in the men’s 4x100m free relay, which James Magnussen and Co. were favorites to win, the rest can probably just be chalked up to a bad year.
To his credit, Nugent acknowledged the performance and is already putting a plan in motion so that the Rio Games will be more successful for his team and country: “Our process is to evaluate objectively and to continue to improve from the low base we started from in 2009,” Nugent added. “And establish a higher platform to launch from in 2013. This is a time where we all need to pull together, not fall apart.”
One of Brazil’s most recognizable Olympians (to a U.S. audience, at least) will miss the Rio Games.
Golden State Warriors big man Anderson Varejao will miss the Olympics due to a back injury, the NBA team said Wednesday.
The Brazil men’s basketball team is now down two of its top four scorers from the 2012 Olympics.
The team was already without Atlanta Hawks big man Tiago Splitter, who underwent NBA season-ending hip surgery in February.
Splitter and Varejao were the third- and fourth-leading scorers on Brazil’s 2012 Olympic team that was eliminated in the quarterfinals after not qualifying for the Games in 2000, 2004 and 2008.
Brazil’s Olympic roster includes four other NBA players — Leandro Barbosa, Marcelo Huertas, Nenê and Raul Neto.
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Former NFL linebacker Dhani Jones will serve as a reporter during NBC’s coverage of the Rio Games it was announced Wednesday.
The host of NBC primetime hit “Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge,” Jones will travel to various venues over the course of the Games and contribute to features on a variety of platforms. He’ll also be a part of the Olympic Zone, which is a 30-minute nightly show set to air on NBC affiliates.
“Dhani is an engaging personality with a wide-range of experiences and interests – from professional athlete to primetime entertainment host to haberdashery and philanthropy. We’re excited to have him on our team in Rio,” said Jim Bell, Executive Producer, NBC Olympics.
Jones has worked on various shows since his 11-year career with the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals came to an end in 2011. He hosted “Dhani Tackles the Globe” on Travel Channel, and is the current host of “Playbook 360” on Spike. He has also written a memoir, The Sportsman.
Jones’ colleague on “Spartan,” Kyle Martino, will be an NBC Olympics soccer analyst after serving in that role for NBC Sports Group’s Premier League coverage.
MORE: Sanya Richards-Ross, Trey Hardee join NBC’s track and field coverage