It’s happening here, there and everywhere at the Olympic Games.
In the pool. At the velodrome. Hockey pitches. Basketball courts. Long jump pits… to name a few.
As Australian favourites flop, they’re leaving a whiff of one of sport’s rankest odours – the smell of what couldabeen, what shouldabeen.
Purely measured in gold, London’s 2012 Games were Australia’s worst for two decades.
Rio de Janeiro’s edition surely won’t be that bad.
Australia have seven gold medals in Rio already, compared to eight in London (one of those came almost four years late when Jared Tallent was belatedly awarded his walking gold).
Arriving in Rio, the Australian Olympic Committee’s own benchmarking predicted 13 gold. That’s still possible by the time competition ends on Monday, Australian time.
Global sports data company Gracenote forecast 18 Australian golds. Always far-fetched.
But what couldabeen if some of the gargantuan names on Australia’s Olympic team hadn’t, well, choked?
Cate Campbell. Anna Meares. Men’s hockey players. Emily Seebohm. Bronte Campbell. Annette Edmondson.
All arrived in Rio as either world record holders, world champions, world No.1 or defending Olympic champions.
Fabrice Lapierre. Women’s basketballers. Arrived ranked second in the world.
Women’s hockey. Women’s water polo. Arrived as world No.3.
Then there’s swimmer Cameron McEvoy and cyclist Matthew Glaetzer. Both arrived with the fastest times in the world in their respective pet events.
For all of the above, it’s what couldabeen. What shouldabeen. And what wasn’t.
Not one individual gold medal from the lot of them. And for those teams, no medal of any colour.
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