Been crunching some numbers to compare the respective track programs of Australia and Great Britain since the 2012 London Olympics Games. The results quite glaringly show what we already know. One nation is outstandingly adept at peaking its athletes for the biggest show on the planet every four years. The other is Australia.
The chart below shows each nation’s results at both the London and Rio Olympic Games (with two events still to be decided on the track in Rio – we’ll update things when they’re finished too). Importantly, it also shows their performances in all 10 Olympic track events at the four UCI World Track Championships in between.
Some of the more interesting observations include:
- In the UCI Track World Championships (Olympic events) between 2013 and 2016 Great Britain won 19 medals of which 7 were gold. At the same time Australia also won 19 medals of which 6 were gold. In other words, an almost identical return.
- Collectively at the 2012 & 2016 Olympic Games, Great Britain has so far won 15 medals of which a pretty staggering 11 are gold. At the same time Australia won 7 medals of which just 1 has been gold. In other words, the Brits have kicked our heads in.
- Perhaps most illuminating of all is that Great Britain’s worst return during the 2012-2016 period came at the 2015 Worlds in Paris – the exact same event as Australia’s best return, some 19 months out from Rio. Since then the Brits have gone to a completely new level while the Aussies appear to have, at best, plateaued.
- Of the ten Olympic track cycling events, Australia only improved on its 2012 result in one event, the women’s sprint with Anna Meares. The Men’s Team Pursuit and Team Sprint equalled their results from London. Everyone else went backwards, in some cases quite alarmingly.
People can say what they want at Cycling Australia HQ. But over a full four-year cycle (and if we go back to the disastrous Olympics in Beijing it would look even worse!) the raw numbers don’t lie. Something isn’t right. Something needs to change. Otherwise we’ll no doubt be saying the exact same things in Tokyo in 2020 – just with fewer sponsors because the bulk of Australians who only care about cycling during the Olympics will start giving even less of a toss about our great sport.