Scathing Watt blasts media over gold lust

Australian long jumper Mitchell Watt has lashed out at negative coverage of Australia's London campaign.



Australian long jumper Mitchell Watt has told the media to "wake up" as he lashed out at negative coverage of Australia's campaign at the London Olympics.

The 24-year-old Games debutant won the long jump silver in the Olympic Stadium last night, falling 15 centimetres shy of Greg Rutherford gold medal winning leap (8.31m) for Great Britain.

Watt said he is proud to have won Australia's 12th silver of the London Games, but the long jumper bristled at media questions about Australia's solitary gold medal of 2012.

"I think people need to start understanding that it is not easy to win an Olympic gold medal and there is absolutely nothing wrong with a silver medal," he said.

Watt says Olympic journalists are too negative.

"I was coping questions in the mixed zone last night. The first question I got was 'Aww, a disappointing result'," he said.

"The team is happy, the coach is happy. I got thousands of messages [from] back home that they are happy.

"The only people that are not happy are you guys. So you need to wake up."

The Australian swimming team is also feeling the pain of negative comments, not just from the media, but the public.

Freestyler Cate Campbell was a part of the women's 4x100m freestyle relay team that claimed Australia's only gold to date.

"It think it is almost a little bit hurtful when people say we have been underperforming, because we go out there and we pour our heart and soul into every single performance," she said.

The 20-year-old freestyler denies Australia's athletes are not good enough or do not have a good work ethic.

She says there is nothing wrong with a silver medal.

"What is wrong with standing on the podium? They only give out one gold medal, but they also give out one silver and one bronze and that is just the way it goes," she said.

"It is not through lack of trying, lack of preparation or lack of leadership or lack of coaching that we maybe have not performed as well as Australia expects us."

Cate Campbell's relay teammate Melanie Schlanger also hit out at the negativity towards the Australian team, calling it "harsh".

Schlanger says Olympic gold medals are incredibly hard to get.

"We came very close in a couple of events. James Magnussen was one one-hundredth of a second off. Em Seebohm was maybe a tenth or so," she said.

"If you add that up, point off two extra gold medals, and the attitude of the country would a lot different right now. We would be in that top ten and you know we would probably be called a successful team. So point-one between the difference between slammed and being praised is quite harsh I believe."

The Australian Chef de Mission, Nick Green, now says an Australian top 5 finish in the medal tally will be "very challenging."

"We would be obviously disappointed with the gold medals to date," he said.

Schlanger added to her relay gold with a silver medal last night in the 4x100m metre individual medley relay.

The 25-year-old Queenslander says gold or silver makes no difference to her.

"I am incredibly proud to call myself a silver medallists as well as a gold medallist. I don't rate one higher than the others to be honest," she said.

"To stand on that podium in any form at an Olympic Games is amazing to me so I hope Australia can learn to share that sort of success in different way."


Join us Monday on FANGO for live chat, polls, trivia and more as the world's fastest man, Usain Bolt, attempts to hold onto his crown.

Olympic events on FANGO:

Monday, August 6, 3.50am: Usain Bolt and the 100m final

Wednesday, August 8, 3.50am: Sally Pearson and the 100m hurdles.

Download FANGO here.