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The price of gold: assessing Australia’s elite sports funding 2013-143.1

16 April 2013



London, August 2012: Australia’s highly prized athletes set off to the London Olympics to make good on years of hard training. Billions of dollars had been spent to develop an Olympic team over the years for this elite level. By the end of the Games, they had 35 medals to show for it, only seven gold. The Australian medal tally was lower than anticipated and as compared to the previous Olympics. The team’s relatively poor showing was evident in particular in the failure of the performance of several high-profile athletes. This reignited the debate, raised in a 2008 report, whether elite sports funding really delivered any real public value and whether it warranted the government money spent on it, instead of grassroots activities with wide public participation. Determining the price of gold was tough with disparate definitions of ‘sport’, but estimates put one gold medal in the millions, or even tens of millions of dollars.

This case is ideal for discussions around policy development and implementation, especially evidence-based decision-making and the setting of priorities in times of increasing financial constraint. It might also play a part in a discussion about what contributes to national identity.

Authors: Marinella Padula
Published Date: 16 April 2013
Author Institution: ANZSOG
Featured Content Length: 2
Content Length: 10
Product Type: One-part case, Primary resources