Australian volleyball Olympian Natalie Cook has turned negative and put attention onto gender rather than sport and representing ones country.
Cook recently said, “If a male carries the flag I will sit in protest, it has to be a woman.”
Whether or not you agree with Cook, her public remarks on the prestigious position in the games opening ceremony are out of line, arrogant and disrespectful. And, it applies unneeded pressure on chef de mission Nick Green. Gender should not and I believe it isn’t in the selection criteria – please correct me if I’m mistaken.
Only three women have carried the Australia flag – Raelene Boyle (Montreal 1976), Denise Boyd (Moscow 1980, sharing with Max Metzker) and Jenny Donnett (Barcelona 1992). One of the most respected Australian athletes, Dawn Frazer, summed it up best: “We shouldn’t be having this debate … they (the athletes) need to drop it and concentrate on winning medals.”
Basketball legend and Olympian Lindsay Gaze was another astounded with Cook’s comments: “Her attitude diminishes her chances of being a flag bearer. I don’t think her characteristics or qualities are typical of those of the past. Being the flag bearer has nothing to do with gender – it’s about leadership.”
Cook’s comment is far from that of a leader but a pathetic act just shy of a tantrum akin to a child not getting his or her toys – she did however say that “I just sort of said ‘if it not a female I’ll throw all my toys out of the pram and sit.”
What I, along with many other Australian’s feel is that several Olympians have and lose sight of the fact the public is funding their opportunity to play sport on the big stage overseas. No matter if you’re at the front of the Australian pack or the last person to enter the arena in green and gold, just be thankful you have the chance to be there. I thought about letting this slide as her sport rarely gains attention and she may not be accustomed to the media and spotlight but then it just seems by making the statement, Cook is representing for all the wrong reasons.
The Australian Olympics team has been in the media for all the wrong and non-games reasons lately. Enter sprinter John Steffensen and veteran shooter Russell Mark. Steffensen has once again been outspoken in the run up to the London games but then again that isn’t anything new. Mark on the other hand shot of his mouth when he was fuming about not be able to room with his wife Lauryn during the sporting event.
Come on guys and girls. Stop being so petty. Cease making stupid comments to the media and tarnishing the entire team and remember you’re there to represent the country of origin proudly and with professionalism and respect – that isn’t hard.