Burn the witch!

The Myth: Australians love sport and are fair competitors. Shake-hands after the contest, we're all mates, team spirit, fair go, go hard, no cheating, in it for the fun, as long as you give your all and try hard that's good enough...BlaBlaBla ad nauseam et infinitum.

When talking to people about sport here, this is what you'll usually get. However, when playing yourself, you quickly realise that this is all horseshit and hogwash - having played football in about 6 countries and against opposition from all over the globe, I can unequivocally say that Australians are the worst opponents to play. On average, they're dirtier, whine more to the ref, have a flimsy grasp of the rules and are, of course, the biggest trashtalkers and sledgers I've ever heard - a fact Australians are quite proud of, by the way. Winning at all costs, this is what counts, and don't let fair play or reason stand in your way. But don't listen to me, have a look at -

The Reality: Olympic Games 2004, Rowing, Women's Eight Final, last night. A member of the Australian team, Sally Robbins, collapses 300 meters before the finishing line and is unable to continue. She collapses against a team member and lies flat on her back in the boat, her oar dragging in the water. Due to this, the Australian team finishes last. Robbins has to be helped off the boat by a doctor. And here's the Australian media headlines:

Eights slump as Robbins stops rowing (Sydney Morning Herald)
Squad left speechless over 'lay down Sally'(The Australian)
Crewmates turn on girl who quit (Fox Sports)
Rower quits and costs medal (Daily Telegraph - they also had "Just oarful" as sub-headline on page 1, geddit? Geddit?)

And what did her Aussie, bonzer, true-blue team "mates" (harhar) do? Her team "mates" did not help her from the boat, did not enquire after her condition, did not worry if she was alright after collapsing in one of the most physically taxing sports there is, in temperatures in the mid-to high 30s. Nope, they basically starting hating her for ruining their (non-existent - the Australians were in 5th place when Robbins collapsed) medal chances straight away. If the reaction in my office this morning ("What do I pay my taxes for if she can't even row?" was the kindest thing I heard...) and in the media is anything to go by, Robbins will undoubtedly find herself in Port Hedland Detention Centre for UnAustralian Subjects by week's end.

"We're all mates here, mate" - bollocks.