AOC Welcomes Ian Thorpe’s Comments On Medal Targets
The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has welcomed Ian Thorpe’s comments calling for an end to medal targets to ease the burden on athletes.
AOC President John Coates says the champion swimmer’s call is a reminder that our athletes should be encouraged to be the best they can be, but the notion of targets places unreasonable pressure that can detract from performance.
“Ian and the AOC are completely at one on this subject.
“In November 2016, the AOC Executive fully endorsed the position that no targets be set in our Program and Funding Guidelines for both Tokyo 2020 Summer Games and also this year’s PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.
“We actively stepped away from setting targets for the very reasons that Ian has rightly raised in recent days.
“Our focus should be on Australians engaging in sporting activity and seeking to fulfil themselves through sport. We certainly should focus on high performance and success will follow but we need to remind ourselves that success has many faces.”
The AOC President reflected on the changing role of the Olympic movement in Australia with a new focus community engagement, working with national federations and other organisations to promote the benefit of engaging in Olympic sports.
“I commented to the media at the AOC Annual General Meeting on April 28th this year that the role we play in educating people through sport and getting children to play sport was more important than winning medals.
“As I noted in our Annual Report, we need to be about more than winning medals. We can make a greater contribution than that. We will always celebrate medal success, but there are many other successes both in competition and out of it that we also celebrate which also make Australians proud.
“We have made a significant investment to ensure that Australians embrace the idea of Olympism every bit as much as we have celebrated the success of our elite athletes in the past.
“In PyeongChang, I believe Australians were immensely proud of the courage and skill displayed by our team, but equally the way they conducted themselves. With no targets set, the athletes were in the position to express themselves.
“Consequently, we equalled the number of medals won with three first time medal winners and we recorded more top six results than in any previous Games. “ Mr Coates said.