Jana Drama 6: Abuses Reporter

Team Pittman runs off at mouth
Email Print Normal font Large font By Jacquelin Magnay
March 13, 2006


JANA update, in case you have missed the news. The 400-metre hurdler Jana Pittman and her fiance and coach, Chris Rawlinson, were close to breaking up last year, such was the strain of trying to maintain a relationship on and off the track.

Rawlinson, 33, breathlessly revealed all yesterday in a Melbourne newspaper. “We were questioning whether we actually still wanted to be with each other because we just pissed each other off so much,” he said in the report.

The story “Why I almost left my Jana” appeared on Saturday beside a picture of Pittman, 23, leaping alongside the still waters of Mount Martha in a photo shoot. It followed a weekend of press about Pittman’s hamstring injury, doubts about her readiness for the Commonwealth Games and their wedding, scheduled for the week after the Games.

Now all of this is important because Pittman and Rawlinson claim they have gagged themselves from the media because they want to be left alone. All of this Jana Drama is not their fault, they reckon. But they don’t keep quiet.

Grant Hackett says Pittman ought to be a bit more humble and let her performances on the track be the ones she is judged by.

It is true she has had a raw deal of late, especially over the spat with ex-best friend Tamsyn Lewis, who it must be said is not bereft of high-profile theatrics herself. And Pittman has left her respected manager, Dave Flaskas - who also handles Ian Thorpe and Alisa Camplin, and who used to provide a handy foil for pesky media requests.

:smiley: Now that job is done by Rawlinson, whose experience is confined to hiding from the Fleet Street press when he didn’t perform at the Athens Olympics. He says he doesn’t speak to the British media because he was misquoted about the reason for his round-one failure, and it cost him his sponsors.

In one :stuck_out_tongue: bizarre outburst on the weekend, Pittman claimed she would be thrown off the Melbourne Games team because of a story that, while interesting, was hardly hair-tearing stuff. She cried and claimed team officials wanted her off the team. Not ideal just days out from the opening ceremony.

Pittman :eek: ripped into the Herald journalist, Jessica Halloran, who had quoted the athlete - from a taped one-on-one interview with Pittman - about her planned exile to Britain.

The story was mildy sympathetic to Pittman’s state of mind in wanting to leave Australia because of nasty comments from strangers and the rude headline in a men’s magazine that supported Lewis. But Pittman and Rawlinson were :confused: furious Halloran hadn’t pulled out a remark Pittman made about Lewis, even though they have already given other journalists the same information, in a softer vein.

So instead of one story, there were three. And then there was the rewriting of history the next day by Rawlinson, who apparently has set the ever-changing record straight. He says Pittman will not quit Australia. Today. Tomorrow may well be another story.

Jana Pittman, you are a drama queen
Claire Mitchell-Taverner * (OLYMPIC HOCKEY GOLD MEDALLIST) :eek:

SHE should be the queen of the track in Melbourne in the next fortnight. But despite her loud protestations, Jana Pittman is surely the queen of drama right now, and there have been some quality contestants for that title in recent weeks.

I do not understand why such a fabulous and talented athlete – and a publicist’s dream – is risking this unique opportunity.
I imagine there are hundreds of athletes in Melbourne right now who would kill for the PR power that is Jana.

Sport is a competitive market, yet she seems to be potentially sabotaging her currency by crying “poor me” and falling for and buying into one of the oldest rivalry tricks in the book.

If Jana were not a drama queen, as she claims she is not, she would surely have altered the timing of her claim she is being chased out of town.

In the week before her biggest event on home soil and in a team environment such as the Games village, surely she could have timed it better (not only because you would think she should be concentrating on her preparation) or just gone quietly as most athletes do.

It bugs me when high-profile athletes who are happy to take the good bits and translate those into endorsement potential, are critical of their public exposure when it does not suit, particularly when the fodder is largely of their own making.

As a former athlete, my patience is further stretched when it is manufactured in a team environment like this.

In recent weeks we have also seen some of our highest-profile tennis players almost hold the Australian sporting public to ransom in their own private battles. Last weekend Mark Philippoussis said he may not be available for a Davis Cup tie because of issues with Tennis Australia’s funding for him, or alleged lack thereof.

I think most Australians hold professional athletes in high regard and lose patience with those who put a price on, or their own agendas ahead of, the opportunity to represent their country and support and endorse the systems that gave them the opportunities in the first place.

Jana is under pressure to perform, but she is not alone.

We saw Cathy Freeman under significantly more pressure in the lead-up to and during the Sydney Olympics. She went about her business, and more, and came through as the superstar that she is.

It seems Jana is using the media to fuel the drama that she says too vocally she does not want.

With only a little thought she should come out the other end as our Games heroine, but we are tiring of her claims of vilification and focus on extraneous issues.

She has been baited and has had injury and health concerns.

But surely it’s time we were reading about her professionalism in reaction to these and her pride in wearing the green and gold rather than her eagerness to get a ticket out of here.

:eek: Claire Mitchell-Taverner was a Hockeyroo from 1993-2001. She won Olympic gold in 2000 and Commonwealth Games and World Cup gold in 1998.