After a few reflective posts published by us recently on our blog it is time for something lighter.
It is pretty obvious that sport occupies a very important place in Australian life. Some even refer to it as ‘Australia’s national religion’. I always wondered why a country so small in population (barely 23 m people) and so remote gets so many world champions, or olympic medalists. Just for the sake of this post I checked the Beijing Olympic medal tally to confirm that. In 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Australia won 14 gold medals and 46 medals in total, coming 6th in the overall ranking. In 2000 Sydney Olympic games its performance was even better with 4th overall place and 16 golds. If you look at it relative to the nation population, Australia was by far the best country in the top ten ranking with ca 1,5 m people for every gold medal. As a comparison, any other country in the top 10 ranged anywhere from 3,2 to 26 m for every gold medal.
|2008 Beijing Olympic Medal Tally|
|#||Country||Gold medals||Total medal||Population||Population per 1 gold medal|
|1||China||51||100||1 339 m||26, 2 m|
|2||US||36||110||312 m||8,6 m|
|3||Russia||23||73||142 m||6,2 m|
|4||Great Britain||19||47||62 m||3,2 m|
|5||Germany||16||41||81 m||5,1 m|
|6||Australia||14||46||22 m||1,5 m|
|7||South Korea||9||31||48 m||5,3 m|
|8||Japan||8||25||127 m||15,9 m|
|9||Italy||7||27||60 m||8,6 m|
|10||France||7||41||65 m||9,2 m|
|Poland||3||10||38 m||12,6 m|
Their impressive trackrecord is not limited to just a few sports. Think of any sport and soon you will find out Australians are either the best or in the top ranking. The popular sports here range from very local flavor ones as AFL (Aussie rules –our favorite), rugby or cricket, to swimming, cycling, rowing, track and field. To my great astonishment the last Tour de France was won by an Aussie, Cadel Evans. Even in speedway, a very popular sport in Poland and not so much here, Australia has one of the best riders in the world.
Obviously the Ironman champion must be Australian as well. His name is Craig Alexander.
So where does all this success come from? First of all, it looks like Australia has very professional sports associations, unlike in many other countries. Aren’t we all tired of the endless corruption drama around Polish
Soccer (PZPN) or Volleyball Association or just many other sporting bodies?
Secondly, they have excellent sporting infrastructure here. During our stay in Brisbane I was happy to use free of charge a professionally equipped and run sports facility belonging to Australian Institue of Sport.
Last but not least just read this statistic: “Almost 70 per cent of Australians aged 15 years and over participate at least once a week in physical activity for exercise, recreation and sport”. Wow! Numbers do not lie here. In Australia streets are full of bikers, runners, the beaches are full of surfers, swimmers etc.
Having heard about the best way to motivate Australians I will add one more reason for their impressive sporting trackrecord. Australian love being an underdog. Living Down Under and being forgotten by the rest of the world they must feel that way at times. The popular positive reinforcement used for motivation in many places like the US such as:
”you are the winner”
“you will make it”
“you will smash them”
“go for it”
does not work here. In fact it is usually counterproductive. Aussies just do not like performing under pressure.
So what is the best way to motivate Aussies? Just say:
“It’s a lost cause”
“You’ll never make it”
“you are a loser”
I love another big motivating motto painted in the ASI gym hall:
The Real Wealth is Health.