Bloody Aus Media

I have been distracted in my spare time for the last couple of days with an email I received from Athletics Australia. This was my response to AA and the journalist asking the questions...

I ask you also, my humble family and friends: If you could ask all the athletes on the CG team, what would you ask them?

HI Jessica, 

We received an email today from Cody Lynch from Athletics Australia asking us to do a questionnaire for you about the Commonwealth Games... 
As part of our contract with AA and the ACGA, we are required to help and answer any questions the media may have for us, which I will do. However, I find the tone and line of some of the questions perverse and with the intention of baiting for information. Some of these answers can be potentially harmful to us as athletes, but more importantly the reputation of the Commonwealth Games and its perception in Australia. I realise you have a job to do, and you are a journalist, which means you often tread a fine line between sensationalizing issues beyond the truth and reporting the events that occur in the world. 

Jess, I am just worried about the current content of the news in Oz when it comes to the Games. The issues that are being raised are important, but they are far from giving the public any impression of the true spirit of the games. It's two weeks before we go into the village and all I am seeing over the news back home is stories about the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee being behind time with construction and deadlines, all the stories about individuals who AREN'T competing in the games, the security concerns plaguing the whole competition, and your piece on child labour in and around the building sites. 

As I have said, this stuff is important and needs to be reported, but it's completely dominating the news at the moment and there is so much positivity to this games that on-one in the public seems to be getting a feel for. This is an extremely important competition for us athletes, especially in the very high level of competition in track and field, and there is a great atmosphere in the group going into the village in a fortnight. I'm lucky to work at the AIS in physical therapies and have had a close hand at some of the stories of the athletes competing, and they are nothing short of amazing. This will be a defining moment in so many of these athletes' lives, and I would hate think that any performance or effort was overshadowed by them competing at the ''Unfinished Games'' or whatever media and public perspective is dominating the headlines. 

I'm obliged to answer your questions, and I will, but I'll also add some questions that I would rather hear answered from the athletes. 

1. Will Australia better its performance in Melbourne?
Not likely. It's customary to have an particularly successful home games, and although we have improved, the rest of the world is catching. Fast. 
2. Who should be our flag-bearer?
The biased athlete in me says Steve H, but maybe Lisbeth Trickett? Or what about one of the awesome and consistent shooters? Mark Diamond has done about 8 Comm Games, hasn't he?! This, however, is probably already decided so there is not much point in challenging the decision in a poll.
3. Which Australian athlete do you admire most?
Steve Hooker. He is a good friend and one that I look up to on an off the track. A model athlete and leader, and a very fun person to be around. 
4. Who is Australia’s most overrated athlete?
No-one should answer this question, Jess. We've signed a contract that says we are not allowed to degrade or speak poorly of a fellow athlete. Sorry, but it's a shit question. 
5. How many medals do you think we will win?
6. Who do you think will be Australia’s surprise packet?
The swimmers always seem to have a young one that steps up in these intermediate major meets. I've been impressed with Tom Fraser-Holmes the last year. Belinda Hocking, also. 
7. Is there a Commonwealth Games sport that you think should dropped from the program?
No. Shit question. 
8. Is there a sport that you think should be included in the Commonwealth Games program?
Never understood why rowing never got in. Strongly contested by the commonwealth nations. Maybe its a location thing. Not too many clean rivers in Delhi to row through!
9. Is the Commonwealth Games gold medal more or less important than a World Championship gold medal?
Less, but different. There is an austerity to World Champs. Comm Games has a history and a story. Nothing like the Olympics, of course. But special in a similar way. 
10. Do you have any concerns about security?
Yes.  I am concerned that the potential for security problems over the course of the Games has been blown WAY out of proportion. The Australian delegate from the High Commission in India has told us that security it tight and under control. I believe him. Not journalists. 
11. Have you ever considered pulling out of the Games?
12. Are you still considering not going?
13. Will any of your friends or relatives attend the Games?
14. If not, what has kept them away:
a) Cost
b) Sanitation concerns
c) Security concerns
d) other. 
Partly because my Mother had a stroke last year and it probably isn't the best move in a very foreign country and culture. And partly, yes, because of my ill informed security concerns for them a year ago. 

15. Are you concerned with reports that child labour is being used to prepare the venues?
You mean the teenagers working for minimum wage out of their own free will? None whatsoever. I have an issue with the country being one of the poorest in the world and with 41% of the population living on the poverty line, but that has nothing to do with the Commonwealth Games. These 'kids' are probably earning good money for their families and making the most of an opportunity. $3 a day for us is obviously nothing, but for them, it could feed them for a week. As long as the workers are safe and not under threat of injury, I have no issues with the reports. 
16. Do you have any concerns about the building standards of Games facilities?
From all official reports from the Comm Games Organising Committee, there will be no problems. They are behind schedule, that is no doubt! But not dangerous. I don't believe that the CGA would consider the notion of placing a competition in a potentially dangerous building or site. 
17. Are you comfortable with Delhi hosting the Games?
It's certainly going to be an interesting one, but yes, I am comfortable with it. 

The kind of questions I would rather hear answered from the Athletes:

1. Do you think the speculations of security issues at the Commonwealth Games will affect your performance?

2. What sport are you most looking forward to seeing at the Games (other than your own)?

3. What does the Commonwealth Games mean to you? (I know this isn't a 'poll' question, but there would be some great answers)

4. Is there any other sport you'd like to compete in if you had a chance to?

5. Who inspires you in your sport?

6. If possible, would you like to travel around India after the games?

7. Do you think that the hot and humid conditions are going to be difficult to adapt to?


  1. Wow, what an honest response, and a good one at that.
    Hope it will be safe and you have the best race you can.
    All the best for commonwealth games

    Ollie Wurm


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