Why was so weak Austrian team at the Olympics?
The Olympics and Austria – how Austria is currently doing and how we may succeed in the future
Austria is not the best state when it’s about the summer games of the Olympics. That’s clear and nothing new. But this year we only reached one medal – bronze in Rowing. Besides that, no medals at all. Many people are angry or at least annoyed by the weak performance of Austrian athletes in Rio de Janeiro this year. Many people ask: How could this come? How is this possible, as Austria is a country with nine million inhabitants and a huge sports tradition? Certainly not a question that can be answered easily. In this article, we will try to explain why and how Austria is doing so poorly in the Olympics these years.
The Media – the outlet of every sport
Obviously watching TV, news and sports especially is still a popular hobby worldwide. That’s why there is a huge budget for all kinds of sports normally. In the USA, millions of USD get spent for commercials during and before the Super Bowl event. In Austria, volumes of capital are much smaller of course. But the media and the official TV channels are not showing much of the diversity of the Austrian sport culture. This leads of course to negative impacts and smaller budgets for sports that are maybe not that extremely popular during the year.
Capital – How Sportswomen and Men should get paid
Without attention by the media, these sports struggle heavily of course. There is less attention, which means that nobody is willing to pay for ads or commercials. The sport is not important to most people or in general unknown, therefore there are no companies who are seriously investing in the different teams and athletes. But how shall these athletes survive when they are preparing for an important sport event like the Olympic? At the end of the day these people are also just humans who are looking for financial stability and success. And if there is no money nor attention in the industry – except for the Olympics a bit maybe – they are most probably not going to invest the time and dedication necessary in order to get medals and compete with the best countries in their sports. That’s the harsh truth and we have to realize that.
The support of athletes by the government
It is true, the Austrian government is supporting athletes financially. This works over the army mostly, by getting a special allowance to only work for your own success in sports. The problem is, that these funds are relatively small. People, who are in need of a lot of nutrition – I’m talking about 7 000 calories per day, who got a sport that needs a lot of equipment and so on, cannot live decently with 2000 Euros per month. That’s why they have jobs aside too and at the end of the day they lack in their performance at the Olympics because they often didn’t have the time to train.
Glory in doing your sport
Austria is a nation that looks up to our skiiers and people who are competing in winter sports. They are heros and often very important. But what about these people in Tennis, swimming or other sports? They are often not really respected, some people even call them “Olympic-tourists”, which is simply a disrespectful term for athletes who weren’t able to claim a medal in Rio de Janeiro for themselves. In a nutshell, if you want to build up a positive reputation and get popular in Austria, sport is surely not the easiest way. You need to be more than just averagely good in your discipline in order to receive at least a decent amount of respect from the public.
This is of course much different in other countries, for example in former Soviet countries. They are all focused on sports, all kinds of sports and look at it as a way to express their national pride. However, in Austria athletes are not successful in these years, which is a reason why many people don’t respect these athlete, which again leads to a loss in quality in many sports in Austria.
Instead of complaining people should rather try to focus on these sports we are good at. Of course, this is skiing and ski-jumping, but what about other sports? How about these sportsmen in the strongmen sports, in fist-ball, volleyball and so on? We need to focus on these sports, give them attention and build up a positive audience in Austria. Once this is reached, it will be much easier to encourage young people to get into sports seriously, which will lead to great athletes again.
At the end of the day, sports is also a business, and we have to look at it in a professional manner if we want to have good results in the Olympics and in any kind of sports event. With the right mentality, we can bring our nation forward in the Olympics, and I surely wouldn’t wonder if we might have more great athletes soon. What’s necessary is a strategy and certainly a higher budget and an increased attention by the media and the general public. If this is given, Austria will be much better at the Olympics very soon. It’s a question of the attitude of a country, but looking at it professionally with a bit of a business look won’t hurt either.
Author: Lukas – Austria