AA boss attacks critics

Athletics boss lashes out at agitators

Jenny McAsey | August 25, 2008

AFTER the best overall performance by Australia in athletics since 1968, the sport’s chief executive Danny Corcoran has blasted a group of athletes who have been agitating in the Olympic village for a management overhaul.

Corcoran said athletes who complained were looking for excuses for poor performances, while the up-and-comers such as silver medal winners Sally McLellan and Jared Tallent and gold medallist Steve Hooker were the hard nuts the sport needed.

“Some people in this environment need excuses for their own performances and they look for someone to blame, while there are others who want medals and they will sleep on a barbed wire fence, they will eat rolled oats and they will bloody well perform because they are hungry,” Athletics Australia boss Corcoran said in Beijing. “We want hungry dogs.”

There were low medal expectations for the 41-member track and field team after world champion 400m hurdler Jana Rawlinson and world 50km walking champion Nathan Deakes both withdrew due to injuries.

But the team collected four medals, double that expected by the Australian Olympic Committee. Hooker won gold in the pole vault, McLellan picked up silver in the 100m hurdles and Tallent scored silver in the 50km walk and bronze in the 20km walk.

There were under-performers, most notably Craig Mottram who did not make the final of the men’s 5000m, Tamsyn Lewis who did not follow up on her world indoor 800m gold medal and shot putters Scott Martin and Justin Anlezark who did not make the top 12.

But the sport, which AOC boss John Coates acknowledged has been “much maligned”, was saved by three athletes who should all be competing until at least the 2012 London Olympics.

Overall, Australia finished ninth among the 212 nations who sent athletes, with points allocated for those who finished in the top eight of their event.

“It is the best finish in 40 years but we do know we have a long way to go in terms of building for London,” Corcoran said.

The chairman of Athletics Australia, Rob Fildes, said they wanted more medals in 2012.

“We think we can achieve six medals in London, that will be our target. We had 11 top 10 placings here, that was 25 per cent of our team in the top 10 in the world,” he said.

But the sport has ongoing funding problems. It has been without a major sponsor since last year and has found it difficult to lure commercial partners because it has no control over the junior arm of the sport, Little Athletics, which has flatly refused to join forces with AA.

[b]In the village senior athletes including long jumper Bronwyn Thompson, who finished 16th, have been surveying athletes to seek their views on changes needed to improve the sport.

Walker Jane Saville said communication between AA and the athletes was poor.

“We need more communication from the hierarchy to the athletes so that the athletes can know what is going on. That is one of the things that has been lacking,” Saville said.

“There needs to be a lot done to encourage younger athletes to stay in the sport and make it financially viable that they are staying in the sport.”

The decision by the selectors, including high performance manager Max Binnington, not to bring a 4x100m relay team to Beijing even though Australia had qualified, was roundly criticised given it would have presented young sprinters with valuable experience. And with the number of dropped batons and disqualifications, they could have made the final.

Corcoran said the omission may have been a mistake and a professional relay squad could be established in future.[/b]

“there are others who want medals and they will sleep on a barbed wire fence, they will eat rolled oats and they will bloody well perform because they are hungry.” :eek:

if that’s their coaching philosophy then no wonder they want change!!


According to Corcoran, keeping the athletes starving and suffering is the answer and Australia is just the place!
He should watch it. Hungry dogs have a way of turning!

Maybe they can get a barbed wire manufacturer to sponsor them.

hahaha, nice, very nice:D

realistically, there are billions in Australia in the mining industry in Qld alone.

instead of competition for your country, perhaps compete for your “sponsor”

Rio Tinto has 2 x 100m sprinters up against BHP’s 2 x 100m sprinters. etc etc.

Nunn-Cearns offers a qualified and interesting insight to this debate!


Funds for athletics running on empty
Pat Mcleod

August 26th, 2008

SALLY McLellan’s silver sensation at the Beijing Games would be replicated many times over if Queensland athletics wasn’t treated as a poor cousin, according to leading track coach and Olympic gold medallist Glynis Nunn-Cearns.

“In my opinion there are a lot of things that need to be addressed,” she said.

“I certainly see a number of young track and field athletes that could be Olympics bound if the sport had the financial support and profile it deserved.”

As Australia’s Olympians jet back Down Under today and the focus starts to turn towards London 2012, Nunn-Cearns said there was a great deal of soul-searching to be done.

“I was interested to hear complaints about state funding being cut for swimmers,” she said.

"Well track and field is not even recognised in the Queensland Academy of Sport and yet we are supposed to be a major sport.

“I am really tired of athletics being treated as the poor cousin.”

Nunn-Cearns, executive director of the Australian Track and Field Coaches Association, said funding shortfalls in her sport had been ‘the norm’ for decades.

“That’s why I left Queensland way back in 1981,” she said.

"Unless I was in a water-based sport I couldn’t get any support. I was teaching in Brisbane and had to relocate to where my coach was in South Australia.

"But at least down there they helped me financially and I was recognised through the SA Institute of Sport.

“Little has changed because there is now no track and field stream at the QAS.”

On their website there are 24 sports under the QAS umbrella, including baseball, gymnastics and water polo, but there’s no athletics.

However, Nunn-Cearns said money and profile was only part of the dilemma facing track and field. Divisions within the sport were also tearing it apart.

“I know there was a lot of dissent there (at Beijing) with all that had gone down before the Games relating to lack of communication and everything else. It was really, really poor,” she said.

"Bronwyn Thompson (Olympic long jumper) has sent around a survey seeking athletes’ views and changes they believe can improve the sport.

"I think that would be a very good place to start, and also to have a debrief after the Games, something that should have happened after the last world titles in Osaka but did not, and so we had similar issues happening again.

“We have a lot of really talented young athletes coming through, but if they see all the disorganisation that is happening above them then you just sort of wonder.”

We really have to face the music that in the future we can’t rely on “surprise medals”. Nobody expected any of the medallists, except maybe Hooker, but that Gold was probably a surprise.

We need to play the numbers game – the more athletes we have, the more “cream there is to rise to the top”, so to speak. But that isn’t going to happen properly without funding.

Getting a sponsor is the first step. Money and hungry athletes are an amazing combination.

Danny is a poor leader and is not doing a good job stimulating the development of athletics in Australia.

Australia gold medal was a by-product of a former Russian coach who has coached a long list of former Russian vaulters in Oz. This is no means a success story for AA, they are simply riding on the back of this gifted coach.

Danny would be better suited at managing the local K- mart store, but thats just my opinon.

Are you sure? Private businesses need results or they go under.

When AA under the new leadership of Corcoran decided not to renew (read “sacked”) all 18 of their contracted coaches in 2004 - including head coach Keith Connor - the only coaches who continued were those employed by the Australian Institute of Sport or by other State Institutes of Sport. Parnov, the vault coach, worked for the West Australian Institute of Sport and had a strong and sympathetic advocate in the WAIS ED Wally Foreman, who saw what was coming (as did all the coaches) and set up Parnov strictly in a coaching role in Perth. The only other coach employed strictly in a coaching role, from what I can recall, was Craig Hilliard at the AIS in Canberra. Other coaches at State Institutes were all either dismissed or re-contracted as administrators of development programs which then enabled them to coach as personal coaches after hours on their own time.

This was hardly a recipe for success for anyone other than Parnov and Hilliard. And they both enjoyed successes between Athens and up to the present day.

In other words, the only success was achieved in spite of Corcoran.
When administrators rule, everything crashes to a halt. Remember, managers (coaches) do, while administrators control.
Many administrators are happier with failure than success because criticism can be blunted with comments about ‘sour grapes’ and everyone can be ’ kept in their place’.


check out “In the News” section for some further reports on AA re Corcoran & the HP Dept.

There was a similar line in the old TV show The White Shadow.

The principal told the coach that those who can’t do, teach.

The coach replied that those who can’t do or teach, administrate.

When stupid people organize things, there is an excellent chance you will end up with organized stupidity.