Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Too many athletes just 'arrogant bullies'

AGGRESSIVE, uncompromising, arrogant, hypocritical, bullies, racist, sexist and violent … they are ways Australian athletes can be described, the sports commentator Tracey Holmes says.

The names of Australian greats Edwin Flack, Marjorie Jackson and Evonne Goolagong Cawley risk being besmirched by "a group of arrogant, alcohol-fuelled bad winners and losers", says Holmes, who will argue the affirmative in tonight's IQ2 debate, "For a sporting nation, we're not very sporting". On her side are the noted cricket writer Gideon Haigh and the Monash University lecturer Brett Hutchins.

Arguing the negative is retired cricket vice-captain Adam Gilchrist, the former Wallaby Peter FitzSimons and the broadcaster Adam Spencer.

Outlining her case Holmes says Australia's lack of sportsmanship is demonstrated in the way we consider our athletes clean and our sporting coaches traitors if they dare take their knowledge elsewhere.

We do not question our Beijing Olympic gold medal winners, she says, but we harbour doubts about Jamaica's 100-metre world record holder, Usain Bolt.

Our blindness may have allowed Shane Warne to try the claim that he failed a drug test because of a diet pill his mum gave him. We are happy to take the expertise of foreign coaches such as Robbie Deans, Guus Hiddink and the diving guru Wang Tong Xiang, yet we hounded Jessicah Schipper's 78-year-old coach for offering his services elsewhere.

Holmes writes that Australian sport has become synonymous with alcohol, saying that 30 per cent of 13-to-17-year-olds drink at sports clubs and footballers' drunken indiscretions no longer shock us.

She points out the national cricket team has never won the Spirit of Cricket Award.


Alcohol-related hospital visits rise
DRUNKEN female party animals are inundating NSW hospital emergency departments in record numbers.

Brumby confronts booze culture on streets
Victorian Premier John Brumby has toured some of Melbourne's most notorious nightlife strips as his government plots its next move against rising alcoholism and street violence.

Message on a bottle for binge drinkers
BOTTLES of alcoholic drinks could soon carry graphic pictures warning of the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption as part of the Federal Government's latest series of measures to cut down on under-age and binge drinking.

Alliance tackles drunken violence
THE TOLL of alcohol-related violence has reached the point where one in five Australians now say they have been directly affected or know someone who has been affected by this type of violence, a new survey shows.

Binge drinking teens: 'two deaths a week'
South Australia's Drug and Alcohol Service says there are about two deaths a week in Australia involving young people who have been binge-drinking.

Calls for binge warnings on alcohol packaging

The Public Health Association (PHA) says warnings about the dangers of binge drinking should be pasted on all forms of packaged alcoholic drinks.

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