I wrote about something that amused New Zealanders to no end: An Australian newspaper, upset at that the Australian team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup lost its first match to Germany 4-0, reported New Zealand’s draw in its first match as “Australasia 1, Slovakia 1”.
Well, they’re doing it again, only this time it’s even more bizarre.
Australia has suffered a “medal drought”, with gold medals hard to come by. As of yesterday, New Zealand had three golds and Australia still had only one. Since most rankings tables list teams by gold medals, it meant that New Zealand was ranked more highly than Australia. It’s bad enough, apparently, for the delicate Aussie egos to have to contend with “poor performance”, but to do worse than New Zealand was simply unbearable.
So, over the weekend, when New Zealand was listed in tenth place on such rankings, Australia’s Channel 9 couldn’t bring itself to broadcast the fact that New Zealand was doing better than Australia. To get around that, they broadcast a medal tally listing only the top nine nations—they didn’t show New Zealand at all! Instead, after nine they skipped to Australia, which was much lower in the rankings.
One Aussie sports journalist referred to “Team Oceania”, leading Sydney’s Daily Telegraph to combine the two countries’ tallies, listing it “AUS ZEALAND”, pictured above. AUS ZEALAND?! WTF?! The combined totals would have been ninth place—if such a country actually existed.
The actual medal tables the paper published online today (Day 9) showed New Zealand still leading at 14, with Australia far below, at 24.
The thing is, both countries’ medal tallies could very well change before the games conclude, so the Aussies may yet pull ahead. But the thing that gets me about this is that if your look at the totals for ALL medals won, Australia was way ahead of New Zealand after yesterday: 1 gold, 12 silver and 7 bronze for a total of 20 medals. While New Zealand had 3 gold, it had no silver and 4 bronze, for a total of 7—just over a third of Australia’s totals.
All of which makes Australia look not only rather petty, but also more than a little obsessive about victory: Gold is great, but all Olympic medals should be celebrated. After all, not many of us could manage to compete, much less win a medal of any colour.
But one thing this did do was create a big laugh on this side of the Tasman. Sadly, we were actually laughing AT the Aussies, not with them—and not at their medal tally, either, but because they’re being so silly about it.
Oh well, we’re used to it—and we do like beating the Aussies, of course.