Swimming report missing two words: grow up
The Bluestone Review of culture and leadership in Australian Olympic swimming says “realistically there was no single headline problem and no single ‘bad apple’ in London”.
Spot on. There wasn’t one single issue. Instead, there was a bunch of small and medium-sized stuff which together adds up to one gigantic mess.
The Bluestone Report is a little jargony. Here’s a summary in words you and I might understand:
Mollycoddled swimmers are on social media for the fan love but the poor darlings can’t handle a bit of gentle trolling.
Mollycoddled swimmers all want individual coaches, individual sponsorships, individual “brands”, individual wealth and fame while still young enough to live at home, to the point that they have no idea what teamwork means.
Mollycoddled swimmers who aren’t as good as other swimmers don’t deal with their status well.
Mollycoddled swimmers who are better than other swimmers don’t like to hang with the slow ones and sometimes bully them.
Mollycoddled swimmers complained they had no private refuge in the magnificent, new athletes’ village constructed entirely for their use.
Mollycoddled swimmers complained that “the science of winning” whitewashed “the ‘art’ of leadership” despite making countless bravado-laden statements like “second place is first loser”.
Mollycoddled swimmers felt “alone” and that “no one had their backs” despite all those damn herograms we sent.
Mollycoddled swimmers complained they didn’t have enough shrinks on the team, despite athletes from other nations winning with physical effort, not mind power.
Mollycoddled swimmers complained about having to “sell your heart out, not “swim your heart out”, which is the sort of thing you’d expect someone to say who had just swum poorly.
And so on.
The Bluestone report offers some flowery solutions to all of this in convoluted corporate speak.
It advocates “creating best-practice reinforcement processes including holistic program and person reviews” and other unintelligible rubbish.
It also argues the need to “Develop a multi-faceted communications plan that specifies stakeholder communication as a key business strategy”, which might as well be hieroglyphics on the wall of a pyramid.
The report is actually quite good, but it needs just two words at the end – two words directed at both Swimming Australia officialdom and the swimmers themselves.
Follow Ant on Twitter: @antsharwood
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