Mother of a serve

Mother of 400m relay runner slams decision to race Sally Pearson in 4x400m women’s final in Delhi By Mike Hurst From: The Daily Telegraph October 21, 2010 12:00AM

THE enraged mother of a Commonwealth Games sprinter has slammed Athletics Australia head coach Eric Hollingsworth over his decision to replace 400m specialist Lauren Boden with Sally Pearson in the 4x400m final, which she believes cost her daughter a gold medal.
Writing on Athletics Australia’s internet forum Sara McLellan, mother of Olivia Tauro, listed her mobile phone number and challenged Hollingsworth to “be a man, call me mate. I have a lot to say to you”.

“Give me a reason to keep Olivia running for Australia when it doesn’t support her efforts, sacrifices, talents n future,” her mother wrote. “Give it to me now Eric cos [sic] I’m so enraged and my patriot heart filled with hatred n disgust that I am barely hours from accepting a scholarship for Olivia to go to the USA. What is that anymore, to an inspiring talented Australian 11 time champion n twice world medallist if her name isn’t Sally. Give me a reason to trust you Eric now, cos as her [Olivia’s] mother I can tell you that you have outraged n disgusted Australia with a pathetically disastrous wrong decision.”

Hollingsworth offered Tauro a lifeline when he belatedly added the gutsy little Sydney runner to the 4x400m squad and sent her to Delhi to compete in her first senior team at a major Games.

Hollingsworth was reluctant to comment on the matter, but observed that Boden, a Delhi 400m hurdles finalist from Canberra, clocked 53.77sec for her leg in the relay qualifying round while 100m hurdles gold medallist Pearson ran 52.5sec in the final. Pearson, a complete novice over 400m, collapsed after the race.

The women’s 4x400m relay team of Jody Henry, Olivia Tauro, Pirrenee Steinert and Pearson failed to win a medal (they came fourth) but their time qualified to compete at the world championships in Korea next year.

Ms McLellan - no relation to Sally Pearson whose maiden name was also McLellan - wrote: "Sally, not your fault, gallant attempt and x [a kiss] from us all.

"But to AA, next time Sally has to run 100m hurdles Commonwealth final, which one of our 400m heat runners will u send in to replace her.

"It wasn’t your medal at risk, you chose a team, the best in our nation so I ask u as a parent Eric why I now shouldn’t send Olivia to the USA to run for them on the dozens of offers we have had.

"I did my research, sadly u didn’t. May God forgive you, no wonder athletics is dying in our great nation.

"I hope as her mother and on behalf of Lauren that I never meet you. I’d have a hell of a lot to hurl at you mate, trust me.

“P.S. Don’t penalise my kid, Australia’s best 400 runner, for what I have said and wat u deserve n so many Australians endorse wat I’m saying, and are stepping up now for the athletic kids of this nation.”

Ms McLellan told The Daily Telegraph Olivia called her and said she “never wants to speak to me again” but she said she still stands by her criticism of Hollingsworth’s relay substitution.

"I don’t hate Eric. I’m just a mother who worked her guts out for a kid who worked her guts out for the last 12 years to try to win a medal.

“My remarks about Eric and AA were a one-off comment. Maybe I shouldn’t have made it. But I get emotional when it comes to my children.”

a graduate of the Damir Dokic school of family / sport relationship development?

Emotional???..try irrational & hysterical.
Her whole rant is ridiculous and has no basis whatsoever.

Olivia’s mum has always been a bit of a loose cannon, back to when Olivia was 12 and 13, the way she stormed around, barking.

Who’s decision is this? Olivia’s or her mum’s?
And so what if Olivia accepts a scholarship to the USA - did that hurt Fabrice, who won NCAA and gone on to represent Aust. What about Mark Fountain? I know there are about 10 aussies over there, doesnt mean they cant represent Australia. USA are going to give her a passport and everything - c’mon

Not the first time. How much interaction does Olivia have with her mum now anyway?

At that time she used to say she didn’t believe the improvement in Liv’s times, she also said that Australia has had a hundred female athletes faster than Liv and nothing great came from them, she would swap her athletic carrer for an education.

When Liv was 14 she was offered a live in position at the AIS, the whole family were going to move to Canberra, when Sarah was told the family were not to move to Canberra she changed.

I did not read anything that has not been said by a lot of the general public. and my first thought was. WOW what a boofhead.

I have done google and checked the AA site. Can anyone post a link to the AA internet forum?

The offending letter(s) were up on the AA chatroom site for 24hrs or so and then taken down when someone at AA noticed it was an attack on their coach.

Unfortunately Olivia feels her position in the sport and with AA has been undermined by reprint of the original post. Doubt that. If she runs fast, she’ll make teams.

And I think although the Telegraph report is a straight piece, without editorial commentary or opinion, the fact that Sally ran significantly faster and that the team qualified Australia to compete in the women’s 4x4 in Daegu world championships in 2011 indicates that Eric Hollingsworth made the right call, almost certainly.

You would have an idea what was happening weeks before she was included in the team and it was Eric Hollingsworth who had her included in the first place, a help back so to speak.

I didn’t even know AA had a chatroom, I can’t find it.

I think the chatroom was created for the Commonwealth Games. They still have a twitter stream going under the Com Games - window top left of AA homepage.

Yes, I knew a bit about Olivia’s background, particu this year. She attended training with her coach Penny Gillies “when it suited” or so it seems. Maybe she couldn’t get there on occasion due to transpo9rt problems - no car or whatever. Tough situation but in any case coach Penny had dropped her from her squad sometime after Nationals. Then AA asked her to allow Olivia back into the group since they wanted to send Olivia to Delhi once it became clear that Tamsyn Lewis was going to withdraw from the 4x4 squad. So Penny took her in again. But as I understand it, Penny had been thinking about releasing Olivia post-Delhi. Don’t know if they reconciled at the Comm Games. Penny has the paitience of a saint.

I guess we look at things differently.

Penny is great like that; she’s been asked to make tough decisions in the past and made them admirably. To add to this, I’ve been lead to believe that it was actually Eric that persuaded Penny to keep OT on until the CG’s.

At any rate it’s not in Eric’s best interest to deliberately send in a weak relay team as he is judged on the result of the athletics team as a whole. Had the womens team been a long favorite and he could afford to put in a “favorite daughter”, then one may be able to construct some kind of conspiracy theory; however this was clearly not the case, and I doubt Eric would act in such a way any way.

Olivia had asked a few coaches to coach her but a factor was why did penny sack her in the first place, no takers.

I don’t think there is a conspiracy theory just questions, one being if it had of been up front in the first place would there have been an issue. How many athletes had their trip funded and how many didn’t.

I hope it didn’t sound like I was driving at a conspiracy theory or accusing some one else of doing so. That was not my intention at all.

I never thought you did, sometimes we say things and it gets misunderstood…

I deleted the contents of an earlier post because it could have been concieved as an attack on Penny and that was not my intention.

I deleted a junk email yesterday which had a quote.

“Stupidity is doing the same thing over and over knowing it never worked before hoping it will next time”

Or, in a similar vein, a definition of insanity is: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.”