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Steve Hooker.
WA News / Mal Fairclough MXF Steve Hooker.

Olympics chief John Coates has slammed the Crawford report as "disrespectful" and "insulting" to Australia's Olympic achievements and to gold medal heroes in lower-profile sports such as diver Matthew Mitcham, kayaker Ken Wallace and pole vaulter Steve Hooker.

The Crawford report dismissed the Australian Olympic Committee's calls for an extra $100 million a year for 10 years for elite sports, saying that money would be better spent elsewhere.

It also took issue with the AOC's quest to reclaim "top five" status on the medal table at the 2012 London Olympics and future Games, saying that target was not sensible and not an appropriate measure of Australian performance.

But Coates hit back, saying Olympians had inspired the nation for decades and that elite sport had opened doors for Australian leaders in politics and business.

"The report is disrespectful of all the work that has been done, particularly since the 1980s, in getting us to where we are," the AOC President said.

"This is an insult to some of our great Olympic champions.

"Is Mr Crawford suggesting the gold medals won in Beijing by Matthew Mitcham, Steve Hooker and Ken Wallace meant nothing to the Australian people?

"Is he telling us the gold medals won by our rowers and sailors count for nothing?

"I will leave it to you to tell (archer) Simon Fairweather and (weightlifter) Dean Lukin he's no longer a hero.

"They are the ones who are entitled to feel that what they have done for their country doesn't count."

Coates said Australia's slide down the Olympic table was "already happening".

"We think we are headed at best for eight in London," he said, after a sixth place in Beijing.

Since winning a record 58 medals, good enough for fourth position, at the Sydney 2000 Games, the Australian Olympic team has experienced a steady decline to 49 medals in Athens in 2004 and 46 in Beijing last year.

The AOC's latest annual benchmark survey suggests Australia would slip to seventh on the medal tally if an Olympic Games was held this year, with just nine gold medals and 38 in all, its lowest return for over a decade.

"Now he (the report's author, businessman David Crawford) is telling us eighth is good enough, or maybe 10th is good enough for Mr Crawford," said Coates.

"I just don't think he gets it."

"It seems un-Australian to me to settle for something second best."

Mr Crawford and his panel were well-meaning but "not qualified to make recommendations on elite sport at international level", Coates said.

He described as "nonsense" the report's suggestion that a funding bias towards Olympic sports made little strategic sense.

"This funding is vitally important to the nation," he said.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was one of 70 world leaders at the Beijing Olympics who understood the power of engaging in international sport.

Coates opened a news conference by telling reporters: "Obviously this is one of the last occasions I will be seeing you.

"The Olympics will not be important enough for editors to bother sending you along in future, if Mr Crawford is correct."