The world is still digging gold in Beijing. Twenty three medals are on the block today.
There is the madness of the 20km walk with Australia well represented. The Kookaburras lock horns with European heavyweights Spain in hockey and the wild, wet brawl that is the 10km swim ploughs through the swamps of Beijing. Ky Hurst will have a crack and we have glistening nugget prospects in the Tornado sailing on Fushan Bay.
Our chef de mission and head medal counter, John Coates, believes that Australia will clock a final tally somewhere between 40 and 42 nuggets. If that is the case, hang on to your hats, couch potatoes, there is more cheering to be done as we zoom from 36 to 41. But the last 24 hours has been “special” (Thanks Bruce). The ABC’s “Thirsty” Morrow produced another balltearer in the booth for the 200m final, but look at the material he had to work as Usain Bolt bagged the sprint double with world record times in both.
The Aussie Spirit, the softball sirens, bowed out in style with bronze in a game that went forever against medal favourites Japan. And the results in in the 10km swim for women could have been better — the result , Russia gold, Great Britain silver and bronze gives you the heebie jeebies and sends entirely the wrong message to the distance swimming community across Australia.
The BMX Bandits emerged from the shadows and gave hope that all pierced-ear, binge-drinking pedalling punks now have a stool at the Olympic top table. This is a caper that talks to alco-pop fuelled kids looking for a car to torch.
Where did we go wrong in the syncro pairs? Was it the costumes, the choice of music the subject matter for the underwater ballet? The judges could not get to grips with our themes based loosely on The Linda Chamberlain Story of the missing baby, the dingo and top end police with very fixed ideas about who did what, all set to the sounds of the Electric Light Orchestra. Post hooter, the pen and scoring set looked perplexed.
But the big story was the Boomers and a night of hoop magic! Sure they lost to the Dream Team by 20 points, but feel the quality in that defeat. Olympic Basketball hero Andrew Gaze described an Australian win before the tip off, in this grudge match, as potentially the greatest upset in Australian sport . Big Call!
This was a match for the very spirit of the game in Australia. The build up was perfect with and a great side bet from Lauren Jackson who was prepared to run around the Athletes Village in the nude five times if the Boomers won. Talk about motivation! Taciturn Boomer coach, Brian Goorjian believed a win over the Dream Team would make a great movie in the style of Blades of Glory, Days of Thunder, Talledaga Nights and The Club.
This box office idea was taken up with gusto by basketball’s PR people as there are many international movie producers running their eye over the great stories emerging daily in China. A few ideas were scribbled onto the back of an enevelope just in case the Boomers could keep the dream alive. They were presented to Fox Studio executives who were very positive, suggesting casting Oscar winner Russell Crowe, as our number one, Andrew “Buggerall” Bogut.
With Russell inked, casting would have to be height sensitive. Mark Walhberg was a wise option as the plucky C.J. Bruton. Aussie small screen star Shane Bourne, in a well-realised top quality Hollywood rug, could star as Chris Anstey. With those key principals cast, Tom Cruise could fill the big boots of “Jumping” Joe Ingles and why not unleash funnyman Danny DeVito bring to life the humour in the tricky part of Brad Newley. Who could play coach Brain Goorjian? Without hestitation Fox executives suggested George Clooney as a natural for our head coach and ideas bench man.
Throw into this already explosive mix Nicole Kidman as a love interest torn between two great stars one playing with The Dream Team and one with AUS written on his back and movie buffs can glimpse of how this movie would cook. Imagine the cheers when our Nicole at the end of the third act selects the green and gold.
Sadly, all that box office gold was dashed when the Boomers were dudded 116-85.
Incidentally what is missing here in China are Australian movie writers and producers who can capture green and gold Olympic stories that are happening daily and turn them into cinematic works of art with a great narrative. There appears no one from the Australian arts documenting the 2008 Beijing adventure. Whenever Australia sends Diggers off to go bang in international hotspots, the arts community tags along to record the great deeds. The absence of our arts community is noticeable in Beijing.
But as the days pass most athletes are off the leash having fun unless they are in the recovery ward buggered by insane exertion. A bright future is dawning for many as Olympic medal winners. Suddenly everything has changed.
It is now time for the managers and publicists to take over from the coaches and shrinks. It is time for the ten per cent merchants to get on the phone and get the job done of turning gold into cold hard cash. It is not as easy as it looks. Getting the correct product alignment is crucial in exploiting medal success and generating elephant dollars going forward.
lan “Thorpedo” Thorpie turned his big-footed, pool deck, golden success into hard currency with his range of organic waters and soy milk at one end of the market and his fabulous pearl range at the other. Whenever anyone thinks Ian, they think swimming gold, big feet, great water, soy and pearls.
This right product alignment is worrying inexact science. For instance should super swimmer Stephanie Rice take on Rice Bubbles as a product to cash in her success here in the Water Cube? Are those crazy characters Snap, Crackle and Pop still talking to anklebiters?
Maybe they aren’t? But inject Stephanie into the mix, booting the big three up the date and suddenly there is a riot going on. Imagine the ad with Stephanie’s golden bonce emerging from the middle of that bowl of brimming goodness and beginning a lively exchange with Mister Snap. Suddenly Australia has a whole new generation of Australian kids pestering their parents for that scrumptious and high fibre breakfast treat that is made from rice and has Stephanie in it
And there is very big lolly to be made, The Man From the Future, Michael Phelps is now worth $US10 million a year after bagging his eight big wet ones. Sadly not sure what our double scull gold medal winning rowers are worth. But regular personal appearances at Mark Ricciuto Motors in the Northern Suburbs of Adelaide should keep the wolf from the door.