OPINION

Olympic Games swimming made for TV

The timing of events like Australia's world record 4x100m women's freestyle relay effort is welcome relief. Photo: Kaz Photography/Getty Images
The timing of events like Australia's world record 4x100m women's freestyle relay effort is welcome relief. Photo: Kaz Photography/Getty Images

If there's any doubt why the delayed Tokyo Olympic Games are going ahead, look no further than the swimming competition.

At most Olympics, the swimming heats are being held in the morning with the finals later that night.

But Tokyo organisers acquiesced to the demands of TV network NBC and changed the schedule to enable the finals to be shown in prime time in the US.

Major sports events and competitions cannot exist without the rights generated from TV networks and organisers are prepared to forego tradition to keep them satisfied.

The Olympics are proceeding a year later than planned, as the Japanese try to recoup part of the massive investment in infrastructure and stadia with huge revenue from TV.

It is not the first time the swimming schedule has been changed to accommodate US television, having been switched around in Beijing 13 years ago.

Altering the timing of heats and finals requires a physical and mental adjustment from swimmers, whose training regimens are constructed around doing their best times later in the day.

Early indications are that the times in the heats at night will be better than the finals the following morning, although Australia's 4x100m women's freestyle relay team flipped the script by breaking the world record as they made it three consecutive gold medals for this country in that event.

Despite the absence of spectators, the Olympics kicked off in stunning style with a spectacular drone show highlighting the opening ceremony.

The decision to give Japanese tennis champion Naomi Osaka the honour of lighting the Olympic cauldron was also appropriate.

In contrast with the US, these Games ideally suit Australia's time zones and should provide welcome relief for many people, particularly in those states enduring lockdown with little else to do other than watch TV.

NO JAB, NO AFL ENTRY

David Koch's assertion about the AFL's future policy on crowds is correct.

The Port Adelaide chairman and Channel 7 breakfast host believes the league should follow the model in countries such as the US and UK and admit supporters only after they have been fully vaccinated.

But such a policy can only be implemented when a much greater percentage of the Australian population has been fully vaccinated.

Australia's vaccination rate sits far below most other countries and Prime Minister Scott Morrison needs to be decisive in enabling the country to open up again, which is dependent on available supplies of vaccine and people being more open to being jabbed.

Only then will crowds flock back in big numbers for sporting and cultural events.

There will always be a minority who will refuse to be vaccinated, but you cannot protect those who refuse to help themselves - we must move on and quickly.

Carlton's David Teague is in real trouble. Photo: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Carlton's David Teague is in real trouble. Photo: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

COACH TEAGUE'S TENURE IN DOUBT

David Teague is adamant he's the right man to take Carlton forward, but the Blues' disappointing loss to bottom team North Melbourne didn't help his cause.

While the Blues were missing Coleman Medal leader Harry McKay, who joined the club's considerable injury list, Teague and his coaching panel failed to come up with a winning formula with their faint finals hopes on the line.

The Blues were sliced open in the third quarter by the improving Kangaroos and conceded 100-plus points for the eighth time this season, the most of any club in 2021.

Teague is not the only person under pressure at Carlton and his fate and that of several others will not be announced after the external review into the club's football department has been completed.

But speculation has intensified recently the senior coach's contract will be terminated prematurely at the end of this season.

Many experts believe Carlton's list has a few gaps, but the Blues have enough good players to mount a serious challenge in the next few years with the right people in charge off the field.

BOAK DENIED HOME STATE CELEBRATION

It was a bitter-sweet moment for Port Adelaide veteran Travis Boak as he celebrated his 300th AFL game with a win over Collingwood.

With the Power's game against the Magpies transferred from Adelaide Oval to Marvel Stadium, Boak was chaired off in front of an empty house.

Boak deserved the accolades of his adopted home state's fans as did Fremantle's David Mundy, another player hailing from country Victoria who celebrated his 350th game last Sunday.

Unfortunately for Mundy, the Dockers could not deliver a much-needed victory on neutral territory at Metricon Stadium, with the blond midfielder having one of his quieter days against Sydney.

Boak (originally from Torquay) and Mundy (Seymour) would have gained much wider national notoriety if they had played for Victorian-based clubs.

Boak, who turns 33 next Sunday, was runner-up in last year's Brownlow Medal, is a two-time best and fairest and second on two other occasions, a three-time All-Australian and captained the Power for six seasons.

Mundy, who turned 36 last week, is on track to surpass Matthew Pavlich as Fremantle's games record-holder in the final round against St Kilda.

The smooth-moving, skilful midfielder is a former club captain, was an All-Australian in 2015, won the best and fairest in 2010 and was runner-up on three other occasions.

Boak and Mundy have been so consistent in their output for many seasons and are rightfully acknowledged as club greats.

Has Howard got it right? Email: howardkotton11@gmail.com; Twitter: @hpkotton59.

This story Olympic Games swimming made for TV | Howard Kotton first appeared on The Canberra Times.