Sharmer, what makes you think EH has it in for JS? JS got his pass just the same as other athletes, he just realized that he could get knocked out whereas JP-R and SMcL don’t have the same depth in their event so there was no threat to them. Eric did not appear to harbour any malice towards John in the interviews.
Do you suggest JS receive some special treatment that is not afforded to world and Olympic medalists?
To be honest, I think the right decision has been made with the selection committee (of which Eric Hollingsworth is ex-officio) picking Ben Offereins, John Steffensen (both automatic) and Joel Milburn for the third discretionary spot on the individual men’s 400m team.
I realise exactly why John Steffensen is upset with AA and Eric, but if this were the US trials - and the US culture seems to have been something close to John’s heart and psyche - he would also have been ordered to “perform or perish”. There is no discretionary selection, no encouragement award in the USA. You compete, you qualify or you miss the team. It’s the same in Aussie swimming, except you actually must do the qualifying time in the pool at the Trials. What you clocked last meet, much less last year (!) doesn’t mean squat. They are a brutal bunch in the pool.
So when you get an event with some depth, as is the case at this time in history with the world championships 4x400m bronze medal Aussie squad, then by necessity (IMHO) the first over the finish line is often (not always) the fairest way to select because it takes politics and favouritism out of the frame.
I do feel sorry for Sean Wroe who has been troubled this summer. Remember he was in the small Aussie team to compete at the world indoors in Doha, but after a lacklustre run for second in the Melbourne Track Classic he withdrew from that team.
I would say Eric is a pragmatist, a realist and knows that what he dishes out he must also cop in return. Milburn’s coach, Penny Gillies, also swallowed the poison when she had to drop him from the Berlin 4x4 medal contending (and ultimately, winning) side when his form simply didn’t warrant his inclusion last year.
So the men’s 400m scene in Oz is quite interesting at the moment and a bit of a soap opera at times but always entertaining, genuinely world class and for those reasons worth following …
YES, I do. They’ve named something like 69 people today and I read somewhere that EH was quoted saying he is hoping that by Delhi the Oz team will number close to 100 - so I think that anyone who shows good form (I mean, runs an AQ) would be entitled to feel outrage if they were left out.
I was in Perth following the progress of the NSWIS 400m FastTrack members and had the chance to see Steffensen and the sprints.
John looked to be running “low” but by god he’s got guts. On his background this season he had no business even making the final, yet he gets the automatic done! He’s a real asset to the sport, a “live wire” into the hip-hop/rapper generation. I do love him, but I still reckon he needs to filter some of the stuff he instinctively feels like saying because maybe it does him more harm than good. I also suspect he has that sort of mentality that he needs a bit of hatred to get himself fired up sufficiently to drag the best out of himself. He’s too nice a guy to hate on his opponents, so he targets “the bureaucrats” as the soft option.
I mean, I can totally understand his frustration but at times I think he just needs to make sure he doesn’t come across like a raving lunatic. lol. but you’ve gotta love his passion and his poise under pressure
It was interesting to read and look at results of the sprints. All my mates had PJ medalling and in top 2, I thought he would finish outside of placing (I think he doesn’t cope well win he is favourite or fastest qualifier), I hop MD is okay if he is injured has been a bright light this season. The men’s 400m has to be the best men’s track event on quality numbers for Australia, along with 1500m and above.
I think having the Nationals now can only help JS, as he wasn’t fit and still nearly did the business of winning. If he can stay injury free between now and the Commonwealth games he may be untouchable at least against the Aussies.
All part of the reason why the US T&F and the Aussie swimmers are so successful.
Wondering what Sharmer would think if the following happened to him, happened to me 15 years ago.
Carl Lewis was coming to Aust for a GP and I was invited to coach the local club relay team as I coached all 4 members (2 national and 2 state place getters), one member pulled out to compete in the 100m hurdles (14 year old). Said her new coach told her she would get her in the national team and to leave her current coach as he had no idea what I was doing, supposedly doing hurdle drills wrong.
I’m not sure it is a reason for the strength, I think there is a distinct possibility that they might be able to get away with it because of their strength.
Don’t forget, in the past the qualifier for the US trials has been a B qualifier. This level of depth would be unaffected by the mechanism we are discussing.
The US and Australian swimming have the advantages that they could fill the spots several times over. However this necessitates certain rigidities in the selection process (read bureaucracy) to minimise the possibility of influence. As a small sport nationally, we are not subject to these same constraints, and we would benefit from having a more flexible selection process which ensures that the team that is strongest at the time of the championship is selected. There are very few events in which this could pose problematic (Men’s LJ being one) because of our lack of depth. As depth is improved we would consider looking to other selection mechanisms, but until then we should try to develop that depth.
Keith Connor made a similar comment to yours several years ago purporting that the system used in the US was “elegant”. Unfortunately elegant does not always mean that it is correct. One only has to look at economics to see a counter example.
Optimising the team for a championship is already incorporated into the US system where trials are generally six weeks before the championships, however our southern hemisphere season precludes us from doing the same.
On another note, it was great to see JS get up and achieve selection. I think he will be one of those who will be ready come the CG’s. To do what he did 12 weeks after a back op is up there with Jana making the OG finals, weeks after a knee op. Both gutsy athletes.
The way to get stronger is to make the competitions equal for all, win progress lose try again, it may keep some athletes competing for a bit longer. The hurdler I mentioned was 2nd best at the club, I asked the best 3 years ago why she left “I got abused when I fell over the last hurdle at region by my coach, said I cost her a state medal”.
CF quote "There’s an old saying: “Managers (read coaches do) while administrators (read federations) control. All federations live to drive a wedge between coaches on the outside and towards those they have control over. I experienced the same shit myself”.
I guess I was not alone in underestimating the class of Steffenson. The beef with Hollingsworth had a few of us concerned that he was underdone and expecting to bomb out at the nationals. Still can’t get over how he ran 45.7 in the final with no competitions prior to the championships. Truly remarkable.
Like KK, at times I’d like him to tone it down at times, but I guess he thrives on the controversy & drama and uses it (rightly) as a motivation to perform. He certainly makes the sport more interesting & entertaining.
Unfortunately while it may be motivating to him it leaves others not in the sport questioning not only what goes on in the sport but what his issue is. The sport needs to realise sponsors expect athletes in a sport like athletics to be seen as being positive role models…not controvesal figures. Unlike football codes which thrive on controversy individual sports like track and swimming are punished by potential sponsors when one individual publicly airs issues regardless if they are right or wrong. All the power to him if it helps with him but unfotunately he is unaware of the damage it has in the way teh general population views teh sports and teh fear of potential sponsors being involved…
Sponsors want a return on their money, the government are the only ones who can afford to give it away for free. I have sponsored AA, Ath Vic, Ath NSW, Little A’s, athletes galore. If it don’t get a return I stop giving it away.
Can remember when sponsoring ANSW one of their employees posted on another forum I spoke bullshit, I said he was to post that he was wrong.
Instead he got transferred to a job with David Culbert media (funny the KTF sign stopped getting put out), now CEO AQ.
I told a 14 year old male 400m runner to ring the development officer at ANSW for the name of a local coach, the boy was told to go to a coach in another state, that person got promoted and now is with Sport & Rec.
I tried sponsoring them again, it’s all too hard, I now help clubs and athletes, back to where I started.
Saw some of the Nats on channel 10 today, what caught my eye was Dani Samuels with a sponsors name on her tee shirt. I remember Debby Soz and other athletes of the time saying they were told not to wear a KTF hat and take it off because it was a private sponsor, me.
Wasn’t it Paul Mcarthy who sang the song “your so vain”