Mark Spitz to Australian Swimming: Review is not the Ultimate Solution

PHOENIX, Arizona, September 4. MARK Spitz, the US Olympic swimmer who won a remarkable seven gold medals in the 1972 Summer Olympics, commented recently to Australian news site The Age, on Swimming Australia's review of their London 2012 Olympic performance.

On August 6 2012, at the conclusion of the swimming events at the London Olympic games, Swimming Australia's president David Urquhart released a statement regarding questions about the direction of the program. These questions arose after the Australian swimmers finished the Games with 10 total medals, a third of the medal haul from Team USA. Urquhart proposed a review of the program and a new “strategic direction for swimming in Australia.”

Apparently, Spitz, 62, finds the idea of a review odd, commenting that it will be difficult to find a single resolution satisfactory for all involved parties.

“What may work for somebody may not work for others,” explained Spitz at a recent interview in Sydney, Australia, “… I find that funny that you're holding reviews. I mean, who's the judge and jury in this?”

Australia's review begins following the conclusion of the Paralympic Games, and will be conducted by former Australian head team coach Bill Sweetenam and Olympic gold medalist Susie O'Neill. Spitz questioned the selection of the review members, explaining that it should be centered on the athletes.

“That's one thing to have a past swimmer (O'Neill) to figure that out, maybe you ought to have the swimmers actually tell you what's wrong,” he said. “I don't know exactly what the criteria are for going before an examination of 'how can we do better?”

In Urquhart's statement, he commented that assessments are held after every Olympic Games. However, he also noted that “the world has lifted the bar when it comes to swimming and so must we.”

“Look, if swimming were that simple, that they could determine who the winner was, nobody would have to go to the Olympic Games,” Spitz said in response to how Australian Swimming would work to improve their Olympic performance. “The International Olympic Committee [IOC] could just mail everybody their medals, save us all a headache.”

The overall message Spitz tried to convey is that no one recommendation will work for everyone.

“(People will disagree on the recommendations), some will say 'it's favoring that kind of athlete, and somebody else is getting left behind'.”

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