Austria’s Olympic Disaster

German language media translated for TVR's Media Monitor

A Tip for Rio 2016, 12 Aug.

by Fritz Neumann

The Austrian failure [at the Olympics] has in fact not come as a surprise. There were no exceptions to the rule in London this time. Exceptional athletes like Markus Rogan, Mirna and Dinko Jukic or Kate Allen: All of them are either lone wolves, or not brought up in the Austrian sports system. Or in fact both.

The rules usually are as follows: Austrian top athletes often have less than ideal training conditions in Austria. If the athletes stay here, in spite of it all, their training isn’t challenging enough, as they are often uncontested. Austria’s top athletes also rarely have world-class trainers. An overwhelming part of the society has not developed an awareness of sports. School children, in particular, exercise too little. And of those few with talent, even fewer are recognised and receive targeted support. Austrian top athletes rarely have the chance to make a living in sports.

This list is by no means exhaustive. Nevertheless, one rule supersedes all of the above: Austrian sports politicians and officials are unable to talk to one another. Playground behaviour at the highest level.


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Systematic? All by Accident, 15 Aug.

by Wolfgang Wiederstein

When it gets down to distributing the blame for an overall disastrous Austrian performance at the Olympic games, officials and politicians have clearly developed their potential. Some have displayed the sportsmanship we so much hoped for during the summer Olympics in London. But when it comes to denials, we are equally world-class.

The sport minister denounces the obstructionists, while at the same time the education minister reveales little understanding of the debate on daily sports lessons; and the health minister certainly does not want to make any commitments. However, the chancellor is demanding a master plan, to make red-white-red sports more competitive in the near future. […]

Sports in Austria lack almost everything, especially winners who aim at being the top, in spite of undesirable conditions. The Seisenbachers and Hagaras are indeed rare examples, as our system is built on pure chance.


Moaning of Olympic Winners, 16 Aug.

by Lutz Lischka

A successful sports career is built upon genetic predisposition, the promotion of physical activities from an early age, the provision of training for adolescents, and sports intelligence. That includes stamina in professional and private life, as well as exceptional mental discipline. When that all comes together, outstanding athletes eventually emerge, like Usain Polt, Michael Phelps or Peter Seisenbacher. This calls upon families (though without exerting an excessive parental ambition), sports organisations and national associations.

It is disgraceful, however, how all the trainers and officials, who often volunteer their free time in training young athletes, are now being criticised. Should they really all resign now, just because their sportsmen didn’t bring home any Olympic medals? If so, professional Austrian sports would cease to exist.

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