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Three cheers for economic impact. Paul Gilham/PA

Olymponomics: politics and the measurement of impact

Since the financial disaster of the Montreal 1976 Olympics, “economic impact assessment” has become an increasingly popular tool for host governments and organisers to justify the vast expense of major…
It’s time for athletes of all abilities to compete in one event. EPA/Andy Rain

Come together: the Olympics and Paralympics should unite

It was painful to see the Olympic rings taken down from London Bridge after the Olympics only to be replaced by the Paralympics emblem (the three agitos). Aside from the fact this emblem was not chosen…
It might be time for the Paralympics movement to strike out on its own. EPA/Andy Rain

The Paralympics and Olympics are better linked than ever … but why?

In the 64 years since the Paralympics was born, the relationship between this event and the Olympics has grown and evolved. And now, with both events returning to London in 2012, the Olympics and Paralympics…
It will be time to say hello to Sochi 2014 before we know it. Russian Post

Games over: it’s time to focus on Rio (but don’t forget Sochi)

It’s only been a week since the London Olympics drew to a close and already athletes are starting to focus on Rio 2016. Of course, for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), it’s not four years until…
Australia’s kayakers paddled their way to gold but don’t expect a huge increase in kayak sales in the next few months. EPA/Robert Ghement

Will the Olympics really inspire more people to play sport?

Did watching the Olympics inspire you to get out and play sport? Perhaps the gold-medal-winning effort of our men’s K4 kayaking team inspired you to take to the water. Or maybe Anna Meares' gold in the…
Australia’s 4x100 metre medley swimming team with their gold medals. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Dollars and sense: funding and Olympic success

It is now more than 30 years since the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) opened in Canberra, so it was predictable that a modest, rather than overwhelmingly successful campaign at the London Olympics…
Kirani James’s gold medal in the men’s 400m saw Grenada lead the tally for medals won per head of population. EPA/Diego Azubel

Olympics medal count: predictions versus reality

Just before the London Olympic started, I wrote an article for The Conversation about predicting medal success. Now, with the Games behind us, it’s worth considering how well these predictions turned out…
The Olympics won’t have an effect on sport participation after the fact unless time and money are properly invested. EPA/Christian Charisius

The legacy fallacy: the Olympics doesn’t increase sport participation

This is an edited version of a letter sent to UK Prime Minister David Cameron and a number of other officials with connections to the London Olympics. Dear Prime Minister, I have spent the past two weeks…
If we want to keep producing great Olympians, we need to keep sport in schools. AAP Image/Julian Smith

From grassroots to gold: the role of school sport in Olympic success

The post-mortem of Australia’s performance at the Olympics is in full swing. Indeed the knives were being sharpened as early as day two of compeition when the men bombed out of the men’s 4x100m swimming…
Sprinter Brendan Cole (left) and swimmer Tomasso D'Orsogna enjoy the recovery facilities at the Australian Institute of Sport’s (AIS) Recovery Centre in Canberra. Australian Sports Commission

Australian Olympic athletes – underperforming or underdeveloped?

It’s no secret – Australia underperformed at the 2012 London Olympics. But was the criticism directed at our Olympians unfair on the athletes, coaches, and support staff who worked so hard, and gave up…
The Olympics are at their best they bring people together. EPA/Denis Sabangan

London 2012: an Olympics without controversy … almost

And so the London Olympics are over and we can all sit back and reflect on the past few weeks with some kind of clarity. Compared with the events of previous Games – such as the Munich Massacre of 1972…
Team GB’s medal haul helped derail Australia’s chances of achieving a predicted 15 gold. EPA/Robert Ghement

Why are we so bad at predicting Olympic medal success?

There have been a lot of questions following Australia’s below-expectation performance at the London Olympics. But the question I keep asking myself is, how did so many “experts” get their medal tally…
Initial suspicions about Nadzeya Ostapchuk’s performance appear to have been well-founded. EPA/Diego Azubel

Shot put gold medallist disqualified for doping: so what is metenolone?

The International Olympic Committee yesterday announced that Belarusian Nadzeya Ostapchuk, the women’s shot-put champion at the London Olympics, had tested positive to metenolone on August 5 and August…
Offering rewards for medal-winning performances didn’t help Australia’s swimming team. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Swimming Australia’s incentive model was a failure: fact

Three weeks before the Olympics, Swimming Australia imposed a new “high-performance” funding model on its swimmers, reportedly to “see medallists rewarded”. The timing made it difficult, even unpatriotic…
Australia’s Olympic Chief John Coates has started a debate about the role of sport in the school curriculum. School sport image from www.shutterstock.com

Coates' Olympic school push: do we need more sport in curriculum?

Australia’s recent medal performance at the Olympic Games has caused Australia’s Olympic Chief John Coates some concern. Last week, he blamed at least part of the result on a lack of sport in the school…
The flags of 204 nations were on display in London, but do “nations” even exist? Christophe Karaba/EPA

The Olympic closing ceremony celebrates the myth of nations

As I sat there this morning watching the London 2012 closing ceremony, I was impressed by the artistry, choreography, stage-setting (an artistry unto itself), music and the sense of celebration in the…
Seven Cameroonians disappeared this week … but why? EPA/Dennis M. Sabangan

The case of the lost athletes – when Olympians seek asylum

Every four years, the Olympics brings us plenty of drama on and off the sports field. This year has been no different with seven athletes from Cameroon absconding from the Olympic village and more anticipated…
Coming first is worth celebrating … but not winning gold shouldn’t be commiserated. EPA/Robert Ghement

Gold standard: are we obsessed with Olympic victory?

The decorated Australian swimmer, Emily Seebohm, climbed out of the pool in tears last week … because she won silver. Through a tear-streaked interview, Seebohm apologised to her parents, her coach, and…

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