SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia have appointed sport specific team leaders for the 2016 Olympics in a bid to “boost performance” and enforce appropriate “culture and values” after the scandal-ridden disappointment of the London Games.
Tenth place on the medals table two years ago was the worst performance for Australia at a Summer Games for two decades, a result exacerbated by revelations of a “toxic” environment in the swimming team and abuse of sedatives by leading swimmers.
Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller on Wednesday named the first 10 team leaders, who have experienced 21 Games between them and will have a wider brief than the section leaders who preceded them.
“(We are) fortunate to have people of their calibre to fill this critical role in Rio,” she said in a news release.
“They will help mould the team and implement a strong culture amongst our expected 450 plus athletes (and) instil in the athletes team values and a standard of behaviour that is expected from all Olympians.”
Chiller made the announcement at a “Campaign Rio Forum” in Sydney, a meeting of the new body for the 2016 Games that brings together the Olympic and Paralympic committees and the world-renowned Australian Institute of Sport (AIS).
The goal is to restore Australia to the top five in the medals table in Rio for the first time since a second successive fourth place finish at the 2004 Athens Games.
“Striving for success is part of an elite athlete’s DNA, we have no qualms about aiming for the top five,” Chiller added.
“We are a long way out from Rio but the results are very encouraging and we are confident of stopping the slide.”
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Patrick Johnston