Australian Olympic nightmare - even New Zealanders mock
Languishing behind Team GB and Kiwis, desperate Aussie newspapers adopt Team Oceania
LONDON 2012 is turning into a sporting nightmare for Australia. The sports-mad nation is languishing in 16th place in the medals table having won just a single gold in the first week's swimming and a sailing gold today. Not only are they losing the 'Olympic Ashes' to Team GB, even New Zealand are out-performing them.
It is not going down well Down Under. Even before the extraordinary events of the weekend - during which GB won eight golds and Australia none - the Aussie media was getting fed up.
"Losing the so-called Olympic Ashes should not be unbearable given the British... had been expected to do well, just as Australia excelled in Sydney," wrote the Sydney Morning Herald. "Although, with Australia so often second best, the jubilation of the Brits was becoming a touch hard to stomach."
Even more galling was to see New Zealand above Australia in the medals table, thanks to three Kiwi golds in the rowing. However, the SMH hit upon a solution - embracing New Zealand as part of 'Team Oceania'.
The Sydney Daily Telegraph went even further and, after describing New Zealand's day of triumph as 'black Friday', on Sunday printed a medals table featuring the new combined nation of 'Aus Zealand' which ranked ninth in the medals table, still behind Kazakhstan but above the likes of Belarus and Cuba.
Aussie TV station Channel 9 found an even more radical solution: when New Zealand made it to tenth in the medals table the broadcaster started listing only the top nine nations.
"Our good mates across the Tasman have sunk to a new low in trans-Tasman relations," lamented TVNZ over the weekend. "As if stealing pavlova, Crowded House and Russell Crowe wasn't enough."
Website Stuff rubbed it in still further. "New Zealand ahead of Australia, the self-styled world's greatest sporting nation," it gloated. "What goes around comes around, cobber."
Satirical website the Daily Mash poked fun at the hapless Aussies, claiming that the country was unconcerned because Aussies were "enigmatic people dedicated to the life of the mind who rarely travel outside their own shores".
Long jumper Mitchell Watt (pictured), who finished behind Briton Greg Rutherford on Saturday night, put a brave face on things. "If people can't realise a silver medal is a great achievement then there is something wrong with them," he said.
He also rounded on the media. "The team is happy, I'm happy, the head coach is happy, I've got thousands of messages from back home that are happy and the only people that aren't happy are you guys," Watt told journalists.
However, the Australian Olympic Committee has been forced to downgrade the country's medal target from 46 to between 30 and 36, ruling out a top-five finish.
The under-performance of the Aussie swimming team has been blamed but Kevan Gosper the most senior Australian member of the IOC said a lack of funding was the problem. "We've been down on the sort of financial support that we were accustomed to when compared with the financial support that's coming through from other countries, particularly here in Europe," he said.