The flame is out, the Olympic are over, but what did our subscriber make of the Athens Games and its coverage here in Australia? Plus we have comments on former NAB director Cathy Walter and responsibility in car advertising.

Cathy Walter’s Fin spin

As a spin doctor myself, I have to admire Cathy Walter’s attempt at resurrection in Friday’s Fin Review – right up there with Jana Pittman for hype without substance and grace…

“It had to be done” apparently. What exactly? Neglect to carry out one’s responsibilities as a director? Unfortunately the article left us thinking what we’ve known for years, that lawyers think they are god’s gift to corporate governance. Maybe a few more audit types might have useful in oversight of the audit function?

Good to know that Cathy looks ten years younger that she is. Maybe that explains the self-satisfied grin. Or maybe that’s what comes from walking away with $600K after failing to do the job, and attempting to make moral capital about refusing the payout? If Cathy feels her credibility (sic) would have been damaged by declining the payout, perhaps a piece revealing that the NAB’s disgruntled shareholders could take some joy from a $600K donation to the charity of Ms Walter’s choice would have at least had something worthwhile to communicate?

Overall, about as subtle as the art directors on Saturday’s Age pasting a glamour shot of Shari-Lea Hitchcock in an otherwise favourable piece extolling the (genuine) charm and humility of Jeanne Pratt.


Re those precious athletes

Oz Geoff of Melbourne wrote on 25 Aug: – “Thorpe or Pittman can do but one thing better than me: I, on the other hand, can do numerous things far better than either. Who is the more deserving of accolades?”

You are Geoff – if only we knew what to praise you for!

Mike R.
Ballina NSW

Measuring gold

Your figures in the sealed section that put Australia top of the list for medals per million people needs some sort of correction to account for the number of athletes at the games. In spite of our small population we have the second largest team at the games.


Too much drama from Jana

Is it just me or are others getting just a tad tired of Jana “It’s All About Me” Pittman? If anyone’s setting herself up for becoming the next victim of tall poppy syndrome, it must be Jana.

No one doubts that she had done well to recover from her recent injury and surgery. Just to return to the track, let alone get through to the final is a tribute to her support team and herself, but this morning’s effort on AM was extraordinary. True she did acknowledge (eventually) that there were other people who got her there, but most of it was how hard she’d worked and how disappointed she was.

The ABC’s transcript may not reflect the tone of Jana’s post match disappointment, but the words sure do.

“I’m hungry, I’m angry and I’m relieved, and I know that Beijing and Helsinki next year are going to be my chance to show the girls that this was just a hiccup in my career and it’s not something that’s going to hold me back.”

And later: “I’m devastated, because it’s my life (begins to cry), I love what I do so much, and I wanted it so badly, but I can promise you this is not the last of me.” Oh, please!

Jana has had, no doubt, a lot of people pointed at her to keep her focused and ‘up’. Are they going to bring her back down or will we keep seeing a spoilt young woman who’s been convinced by her supporters and the media that she is (potentially?) “The Greatest”.

Mike, Melbourne

Sally’s catastrophic meltdown

In a team, you’re always told you are only as strong as the weakest link. The suspicion that you are the weakest link can add a lot of pressure to a team member. A strategic thing to do is to be vigilant and that the things that make you weak are what you concentrate on the most – you pay attention to your weaknesses so you don’t affect the team. Should something go wrong, despite your best efforts and greatest care, you take responsibility for ruining the chances of your team. You apologies. Profusely. If you apologise, people realise that you appreciate the effect your performance had on them. They have a chance to forgive you.

Maybe it was how the coverage was edited, but I didn’t notice much contrition in Sally Robbins’ comments after the race. Lots of reasons, some denial, no apology. Contrition might appear more like your teammates having to stop you from throwing yourself in the water, not offering to do it for you. I wonder how the athlete who missed out on Sally’s position in the boat feels?

By all accounts are that Sally is a very good rower. Perhaps though, she should set her sights on single sculls in future. My heart goes out to her and the team. Winning takes guts, good losing takes heroics and that’s a big ask moments after heartbreak.


Back patting not backpacking

What is it, that causes us to pat our own back on every conceivable occasion? A former Hobart girl marries the Danish Crown prince, causing Tasmania to go haywire – sending their Governor post haste to attend the wedding (and raising eyebrows at table), a good brass band, discussions in Parliament and more.

There are indications, Danish products, all of exceptional quality, experienced increased demand as a result. There have been no reports on reciprocating developments by Manila owned James Boags Tasmanian Brewery or the Tasmanian cheese industry, from Denmark.

There was a comely female tennis player with the farmer Brown over the mountain type of father. We invested probably in excess of $1 million, to bring her to world class standard, playing under the Aussie colours. Her origins were not worth mentioning – until after she defected back to the Balkans.

Without counting, an athlete winning gold for Austria, is continually mentioned as in fact having been born in Geelong, and so it goes on. Our immaturity is so obvious, it is blinding! We are unable, to put our health, care and hospital system on an even keel, yet we maintain the multiple Institutes of Sport, including Tasmania, with just a half million population.

We are using training and production facilities, state supported, just as the former Iron Curtain countries, to turn out world beaters, with or without steroids. Whilst events, such as the Olympics, should be a means of furthering friendship and understanding (doubtless between the athletes this is happening), on a country scale, it furthers nationalism, awarded with the four yearly medal tallies.

As such, the games are estranged from their origins, having turned into a showcase of national pride and dominated by those, who spent the most money on this purpose. The discrete logos of the handful of manufacturers on cap and T-shirt, are indicative of the globalised, multi billion industry behind the starting blocks, the puppeteers, who are the receivers of the real gold, not the plated stuff.

When all is said and done, an accounting of the total actual cost of each medal, paid by whom into whose pockets, may be of interest. Governor Butler’s golden handshake in Tasmania will, at a guess, raise half a bronze.

Launceston, TAS

Crap Olympic coverage

Yes, Seven has had the crappest Olympic coverage ever. I think I saw the women’s water polo match against Greece three times on Seven and twice on SBS. But there is the three letters that come to our saviour this, and hopefully every subsequent, Olympiad. ESSA BEE ESSA. What a channel surfers dream!

While Seven is doing their darnedest to show us nothing-ads every three to four minutes, one tightly edited competitor from one event-ads-drawn out emotional puff piece with lots of onscreen writing-ads-ad nauseum (pardon pun sils vous plait) SBS has volleyball, handball, any game you wish to mention, and the best playing them, not just Aussies. Seven’s bad ratings are their own fault – too much filler, not enough substance – they are probably consulting with the Federal Govt on how to look like something’s happening while actually sitting still.

So, in a nutshell, SBS has won the Olympic coverage competition hands down, Seven will make sure that they never get the chance to do it again, else people might have something to compare them with. It’s a shame, because my surfing finger is just getting fit, and I’d like to represent Australia in the next Olympics, Super heavyweight one handed channel flicking while searching for something decent to watch.

Mahtay D’or

The Olympic wash-up

Just some points about the Olympics.

1) Australian efforts have been sensational and to equal our 16 golds at Sydney is super. We may ever exceed it.

2) Shame about some of the sports being ruined by poor officiating and even worse rigged judges. What happened to the baseballers with the ball hitting the wall was an absolute travesty.

3) The Channel 7 coverage has been good but a few points. They use Rebecca Wilson and Alisa Camplin far too much. Camplin is a poor performer and if you are going to have a studio analyst for one sport (they also have one for swimming) you should have one for all sports.

Why cross to Rebecca Wilson??

Tony Squires is ok but he tries to hard to be a smart alec. All the time he has to have some stupid quip. Problem is that even if it’s funny – you are so tired of his act that it loses any currency.

The memorabilia is a stupid idea and very callous crude marketing act. As in the display of the Qantas tail in the opening titles.

4) What is Fairfax columnist Geoff McLure doing in Athens. He writes a tidbit/gossip column and the source for most of it revolves happenings with the International Broadcast Centre, NBC or Channel 7. Fairfax is trying to cut costs and then they send this clown over to Athens to write such nonsense?


Krakouer’s better than a gold medal

The Footy Show on Jim Krakouer was a fine effort. Should get a prize. Frawley’s part in the ongoing story was brilliantly understated, and he is all that AFL can ask of a man. It’s an evolving Australian theme, a great one, and it beats the hell out of gold medals and over pumped individualism.

Trevor Kerr

Irresponsible Holden and Ford ads

Have you seen the TV advertisement for the latest Holden Commodore sports car, the SV6? I watched it the other night with absolute bemusement. To summarise, the ad pushes the virtues of Holden’s new ultra powerful V6 motor, reinforcing this with footage of the male driver flogging his car through the bush on presumably public roads at what appear to breakneck speeds. This elicits massive grins from the driver each time he revs harder and changes gears; cut then to the little boy in the backseat, eliciting similar grins to his racecar-driver wannabe dad. What disturbed me most about this part of the ad was the fact that the music playing over the top of all this hooning fun was the Hoodoo Gurus song “Like wow, wipeout”!!! Is this unintentionally appropriate or what?

Holden and Ford seem to be spending ever more money convincing us we need ultra-powerful cars for our daily grind to work. The emphasis is always on power, speed, and ‘blokeness’ – you know, pull on your stubbies and singlet, load up with the lads, head down the footy and get pissed with your mates. I don’t want to come across as a complete wowser, but with growing numbers of road deaths, especially amongst young, male drivers, is this advertising approach really that socially acceptable? We stopped other death merchants like the tobacco and (to a lesser extent) alcohol industries advertising like this years ago – what not motoring companies?

The Revhed