Melbourne's Poor Losers.

Melbourne's Poor Losers.

Post by Joshua Saunde » Fri, 15 Jul 1994 17:50:40


This is a transcript of the Sydney Morning Herald editorial  14/7/94

                                                                        Sydney writers call Melbourne "St Petersburg", a mocking reference
to the southern city's bleak climate and parochialism. Melbourne writers
respond by calling Sydney "tinseltown", a reference to the northern city's
perceived superficiality on matters of social and cultural importance. The
rivalry between the two great Australian cities is often feisty when
literary grants are involved, or the Sheffield Shield is at stake.  But
this essentially Melbourne driven rivalry has reached an intolerable point
with the vicious allegation by the Melbourne establishment that the Sydney
based Australian Olympic official, Mr Phil Coles, sabotaged Melbourne's
chances of winning the 1996 Olympic Games.
        At the heart of the allegation is the Melbourne establishment's
allegation that Mr Coles somehow leaked seneitive information about
Melbourne's bid to one of its rivals, Atlanta.  Mr Coles acknowledges that
he made a number of calls to Atlanta officials.  He also made a number of
calls to officials of other rival cities.  Nothing suspicious can be seen
in these telephone calls.  The number of them and their destinations are
entirely predictable - and responsible - given the lobbying job Mr Coles
was doing for Melbourne.
                                                                What is really behind the allegations is a bizzarre and unfair
attempt toofind a scapegoat for Melbourne's losing bid.  And behind this is
an excess of Melbourne jealousy for Sydney's successful bid for the 2000
Olympic Games.  The Melbourne establishment is unwilling to acknowledge
that Melbourne's bid for the 1996 Olympic Games had a fatal flaw in it,
namely that Melbourne had already held the 1956 Olympic Games.  The general
rule is that once a city hosts an Olympic Games, it is off the list for
future Games.  The two exceptions to this rule, London in 1948, and Los
Angeles in 1984, came about because no one else wanted the Games in those
years.
                                                        This was not the case with the 1996 Games.  There were six
applicants.  Every commentator ruled out Belgrade and Manchester before the
voting began.  Of the four other more likely applicants - Melbourne,
Atlanta, Athens and Toronto - Melbourne gained the least number of votes.
This gives an indication of how fatally flawed Melbourne's application was
and how ludicrous it is to suggest that one official was responsible for
its failure.  Atlanta won because there was a determination by IOC
delegates to stop Athens, which had history on its side, from winning.  On
the day of the vote, Athens was paralysed by a huge public sector union-led
strike.  Atlanta, with its potential access to huge telvision rights
payments, its civil rights background and some Coca-Cola diplomacy, was
seen as the only alternative to Athens.
                                                        After Atlanta's win was announced, the then Victorian Premier, Mrs
Joan Kirner, talked - rightly - about the spirit of unity the Melbourne bid
had engendered.  Presumably, officials from out of Melbourne, like Mr
Coles, were part of that unity.  Mrs Kirner is now one of the group leading
the charge against Mr Coles.  There is a strong element of a Premier who
failed virtually every test of Government trying to rewrite history in all
of this.  Mrs Kirner and the other Melbourne establishment figures need to
stop being poor losers.  Sydney will run a superb Olympics, but for the
Games to be an Australian success Melbourne's support should be offerred
without bitterness.

--
Joshua Saunders, Dept of Pharmacology, University of Sydney.


 
 
 

Melbourne's Poor Losers.

Post by Matt Simmo » Fri, 15 Jul 1994 21:23:45

Well, I'm glad to see that papers in the US aren't the only ones to have
utterly abandoned objective reporting. =)