Oh, Adam Scott. So near, yet so far.

Or as the Herald Sun put it after Scott seized defeat from the jaws of victory at the British Open:

“WORST CHOKE IN HISTORY?”

(Today’s fadeout rocketed to No. 3 with a bullet on the Hun‘s hastily-cobbled-together “10 WORST BALLS-UPS” list.)

We don’t normally tackle sport here at Crikey HQ. But we’re concerned about the nation’s sportspeople and those who report on them.

The Olympic cauldron will be lit in London later this week where for two weeks Australian athletes will inevitably disappoint us. They’ll trip, miss, drop, fall and fail under the bleary-eyed glare of a sports-loving public each day of competition, where there’s no ribbons for effort — just humiliating headlines from cruel subeditors back home.

Our hacks will no doubt be inspired by the patriotic preaching on Fleet Street. But we’re calling for a kinder, gentler polity on Australia’s sports pages. Our athletes deserve to fail with the modicum of quiet dignity enjoyed by the rest of us armchair slobs.

Many of us fair-weather sports fans have much more in common personally with speed-skater Steven Bradbury than Cathy Freeman. We’re not the best, we’re not the fastest, but you just never know when all the people in front of you will fall over. So let’s celebrate our inner Steven Bradburies. Lets allow our athletes to hang in there for their Steven Bradbury moment. Let’s not bring them down when they fail on the way.

Remember: we pay for the therapy after the Games, too. So let the well-mannered Games begin.

Peter Fray

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Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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