Sports Editor at thewest.com.au, Ross Lewis, scrutinises the big issues in sport
Another bombshell report into an Australian sport. More legions of officials and administrators run for cover.
It won’t take long for them to stick up their heads from beneath their desks as if nothing has happened. In many ways, their assumption will be correct.
The Australian Crime Commission’s startling revelation of widespread integrity issues across the football codes left a lot of executives peaking over their shoulders to see if the were implicated. Then very, very little happened, although while the names were sparse the innuendo was large.
This week the AFL couldn’t quite prove Melbourne guilty of tanking. But the league isn’t happy with the way the Demons conducted their on-field operations in late 2009. While it hit Dean Bailey and Chris Connolly with sanctions, the Melbourne chief, veteran administrator Cameron Schwab, the man who steers the ship, was deemed not to have contravened any AFL guidelines.
And now Australian swimming has hit murky water following the probe into why the Dolphins floundered at the London Olympics.
There was a toxic culture within the team. There was a lack of leadership. Allegations of bullying. Drunken antics and abuse of sleeping pills.
Yet no-one high up in the Swimming Australia chain has paid a price for the clear lack of guidance for the sport’s most valuable product.
What was clear from pool deck at last year’s Games was the influence of the men’s relay team.
The 4x100m freestylers’ nightmare on day two, in which James Magnussen’s world-conquering dream turned to horror, cast a pall over the rest of the squad for the remainder of the meet.
While some others were trying their hardest for their own personal glory, there seemed to be considerable focus within the team on getting the Missile in shape for a relaunch in the individual two-lap sprint later in the meeting.
Soon a lot of Dolphins in the mixed zone had had enough of worrying about Magnussen.
His body language after his leg in the relay, in which he distanced himself from the rest of the team, holding his head in his hands, didn’t sit well with other members of the London 2012 squad.
It was an early indication that all wasn’t fine in the make-up of the national team.
But not everyone took notice.
And, again, it is difficult to find who is to blame.
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