SYDNEY, Australia, January 30. SHANE Gould, the Australian legend who won five Olympic medals during her illustrious career, told the Daily Telegraph that she would like to see athletes under the age of 18 deemed ineligible for the Olympic Games. Gould thinks a rule of that sort would prevent burnout at a young age.
The Australian Olympic Committee said it doesn't believe an age limit is necessary, but Gould believes youngsters in the spotlight are being placed under an enormous amount of pressure, sometimes causing them to leave the sport. Gould was 15 at the 1972 Games in Munich and retired a year later after feeling intense pressure from the Aussie public.
Gould went as far as to use a chess analogy, stating that athletes were "pawns in the game" and used. One of Gould's concerns over young athletes on the international stage is that they miss the simplest things in life, including playtime with friends. She doesn't want to see youth lose childhood opportunities to the demands of training.
"Anyone under 18 I don't think should be allowed to go to the Olympics," she said. "They can be used. Sport to me I think has gone in an unhealthy direction and I think it has to be constantly reviewed. Sport is now commerce. I think junior sport is over-organized and they're (children) not being able to play and explore. Let kids be kids."