During the dog days of the 1980s, when New Zealand beat us at cricket and Glynis Nunn led our Olympic charge, supporting Australian sport was the game of a masochist. Never again, we cried, pouring money into the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport), hosting the Olympics with a bunch of gold medals, and raising a host of sporting teams to dominate World Cups in Cricket, Netball, Rugby and the Davis Cup in Tennis – come ON, Lleyton!
In response, other nations have tried to replicate our methods of success, stealing our coaches, spying on our training methods and using our sledging tactics. But there’s an easier way to beat Australia at sport: invite me to sit in the front row.
Sound strange? Possibly.
But let’s look at the evidence stretching back over a number of years …
- 2008, Australian Open Tennis: Jankovic (Srb) d. DELLACQUA (AUS) 7-6, 6-1
- 2007, Cricket Tri-Series, Sydney: England d. AUSTRALIA by 34 runs
- 2006, Australian Open Tennis: Hingis (Sui) d. STOSUR (AUS) 6-1, 7-6
- 2004, Athens Olympics, 400m Hurdles final: PITTMAN (AUS) 5th
- 2004, Athens Olympics, Beach Volleyball, Bronze Medal match: USA (McPeak / Youngs) d. AUSTRALIA (Cook / Sanderson) 21-18, 15-21, 15-9
- 2004, International Rules: Ireland d. AUSTRALIA 55-41
- 2000, Sydney Olympics, 4x400m women’s relay: AUSTRALIA 5th
To be fair, I do have a childhood memory of the Wallabies beating the USA 49-3 in Rugby at the SCG, so there’s hope my streak could yet turn around. All the same, I’m sure our gold medal prospects are lucky I’ve no plans to travel to Beijing in 2008.