The Australian Institute of Sport is thankfully not a chip off the
old East German bloc, whose sports science and strict medically supervised training
regimen saw world records being diabolically and metabolically shattered,
particularly by grown women turning into men. But however criminal the East German lab techniques were,
there was method in the East German madness that the AIS has over the years tried to replicate with outstanding success.

That is to apply Government-funded Australian know-how and tap
into the best imported coaching talent it could get its hands on, to
our own world class sports science “laboratory” and talent incubator.
Today it spreads its
tentacles throughout the nation in associate academies and works with
state institute offshoots.

All of which is well within the rules of
legitimate scientific application and use of technology to help with
identification of sporting talent, which in turn, supported by years of
and error, has played a fantastic role in helping nurture athletes in a
multitude of sports. Even sports like the
AFL now apply latest AIS
testing procedures when evaluating draft talent.

Naturally our phenomenal success has seen many
countries, individual athletes and coaches flocking to the AIS to soak up
our know-how to then use to their own benefit. As a result, Australia now finds itself coming off second best in some
sports; where for instance our cricket team gets
beaten by England, which has benefited greatly from replication of our own cricket
academy and stealing its director Rod Marsh with all that expensively
acquired knowledge.

No surprise therefore at
Nicole Jeffrey‘s report in today’s Australian that following this spate of unpalatable success by rival countries, AIS access to high performance secrets is now
going to be firmly slammed shut.

Jeffrey writes that AIS
director Peter Fricker says Canberra “will no longer share its secrets with foreign athletes, reversing an open-door
policy it has maintained for the past 20 years.”

“In the 1990s,
countries started to take an interest in what we were doing and came to see us
and we gave everything away. We gave them in 20 minutes what we had spent 20
years developing. From now on, we are
going to be very protective about our competitive edge. We are also facing the
issue of training up all these people and sending them back home to beat

Jeffrey says Fricker has predicted
that from now on the AIS would only share information with countries that had
something to offer in return. That’s only
common sense, but hopefully it will still leave room for, if not quite giving
up state secrets, helping worthy smaller and much poorer nations in our
own region, while sending those free loading Poms and others on their carbon
fibre bikes!