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Jarryd Hayne to the Olympics...???


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Apr 5, 2011
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Andrew Slack: late Jarryd Hayne Olympic Games bid is both selfish and self-serving
May 23, 2016 8:20am
Andrew Slack
The Courier-Mail


THE talented young swimmer has been getting out of bed at 4.30am six days a week for the best part of 10 years just so he or she can qualify for the Rio Olympics. The journey to the official trials includes very little glory and even less money.

Then, after coming third by 0.01sec at the trials, the lifelong Olympic dream is gone. Most likely forever. Oh well, that’s sport. There are winners and losers.

Jarryd Hayne is the centre of attention.
One wonders, though, how those swimmers, or their equivalents in athletics, gymnastics, boxing, equestrian, whatever, feel about Jarryd Hayne’s rails run to becoming an Olympian.

His quest for a spot in the Fijian Rugby Sevens team underlines everything that is bad about modern sport.

Australia’s Olympic Sevens coaches have said that had the equivalent of a Hayne come selling their wares to them, they would have been rejected. I was pleased to hear it until I heard the reasons.

“If it happened six months ago, of course you’d be interested,” said Andy Friend, who will be running our men’s program in Rio.

“My experience is this is such a specialised game. You have to have conditioning in order to play the game and for me there wouldn’t be enough time to get that.’’

They were thoughts echoed by Tim Walsh, whose Australian women’s team, depending on results in France next weekend, may enter the Olympics as the reigning world champions.

So, their concerns were not about whether the criteria for selection were fair. They were more interested in whether it would help the team win.

I know, as do the swimmers who have missed the boat, that it’s a tough old world out there, but the vast majority of those athletes have known from the start the hurdles they had to clear to gain selection.

Most Olympic sports have a definitive guideline for qualification and the foundation tends to be the stiff cheese rule. If you don’t meet it you will be staying home.

What then is the criteria for Sevens Olympic selection? Putting your hand up, it seems.

Hayne is clearly a talented footballer and given a different route to the one he chose, would have undoubtedly been a star for the Wallabies or a shining light in the Sevens team if he had picked the abbreviated version.

His decision to chuck in his NRL career to try out for the NFL was a courageous one and getting as far as he did was hugely impressive, even if the amount of media coverage given to his every step over that time became very tedious.

Throughout it all, he carried himself well and he seems to be a decent young man.

He has been badly advised on this Olympic move, however. It is simply selfish and self-serving.

His Fijian bloodlines and experience with the Fiji rugby league team have produced what looks to be a sincere connection with the country. However, the best way of demonstrating that might be supporting their Olympic quest in spirit, and not trying to hijack the dreams of a player whose spot is now in jeopardy because of the celebrity-driven reasoning behind this latest stunt.

No problem if he had made the commitment 12 months ago, but not now, not without some previous commitment to the code. There might be debate over to what a designated qualification time might be, but I’m certain a couple of months is too short.

The fastest 100m freestyler known to mankind might emerge from the Chandler pool tomorrow, but he will not be going to Rio, because he has shown his hand too late.

Whether or not Hayne shows much of a hand at Sevens when he gets his chance is irrelevant. It should be too late, and it is sad that Fiji’s coach and their authorities have allowed the latest Hayne soap opera to get this far.