Feeling a bit sorry for the Missile

In sport on August 2, 2012 at 11:48 am

… I mean the nickname alone suggests a certain explosiveness which may or may not be predictable. Just ask the North Korean space program.

Poor old James Magnussen, eh? Fancy being only an Olympic silver medallist. Shit, eh?

For the last 6-12 months the bloke’s been told he’s the next Ian Thorpe. The next Michael Phelps. And even Michael Phelps hasn’t been able to live up to that one this time around.

And not just told by his mum and his best mates. Everybody. Every media pundit, every Twitter follower, every Facebook friend, every Joe Bloggs on the street has told Magnussen the same thing. You’re going to win four gold medals at the Olympics, mate. It’s all over. Shut the gate. Turn up and it’s yours.

So when he sank like a stone in the 4x100m relay he threw a bit of a tanty. (He didn’t really — he was just a bit quiet and unhappy and unwilling to bare his soul to the world — in tabloidspeak, that’s a tanty). Who wouldn’t, frankly?

And who amongst us has not been a bit of a princess on the sporting field in our youth?

Let’s face it, that hit-and-missile Combank ad is looking a little too close to the bone right now, isn’t it? That would be enough to make anyone grumpy.

Personally, I was the embarrassment of my mother’s existence through my petulant junior tennis career — the language alone!! — and my former colleagues at the Gold Coast Bulletin still talk about the day I jumped on my Akubra after shanking off the 15th tee during the annual staff golf day.

So why wouldn’t the 21-year-old be disappointed. He’s 21.

At the risk of telling him that he only needs to turn up in Rio to win a bucket ‘o’ gold, I’m betting the lessons learned this time around will stand him in good stead come 2016, if he decides to hang in there.

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