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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 207
J USTIN ROSE’S 18TH GREEN CELEBRATION TOLD US ALL WE NEEDED TO KNOW. The shirt grabbing, the chest beating, the unbridled ecstasy at achieving what no other person had achieved for more than 100 years. The first lesson we can all learn from the Rio men’s golf tournament is to never presume to know what Olympic competition will mean to its participants. Uncertainty surrounding the legitimacy of the tournament evaporated long before a ball had been struck, as some of the world’s best players did more than just immerse themselves in the Olympic spirit – they positively drowned themselves in it, lapping up every moment as they prepared for their once-in-a-century shot at Olympic gold. Youhavetobeinittowinit,astheysay, and Rose was one of the few elite players who built his season around Rio. And it showed. He came ready to win and deserves every plaudit that’s thrown his way. If Rose’s emotions didn’t sell you on the Olympic concept, the sellout 15,000-strong crowd who attended on Sunday should have. So what can we take from golf’s return to the world’s biggest sporting event? What have we learned from Rose’s win over Henrik Stenson, Matt Kuchar and our own Marcus Fraser? If the Rio experiment was a template for a sport’s successful debut at an Olympics, what tweaks and adjustments can be made to ensure the sport doesn’t disappear off the IOC’s radar as fast as it arrived? Pleasingly, there appeared to be a genuine appreciation from the players who attended that they had a responsibility that went beyond simply competing for a medal. They were ambassadors in a way that is required of few other sports. Certainly for the Rugby 7s – the other new competition included for the first time at this Games – there was nowhere near the same level of scrutiny levelled at those taking part, nor was there an unspoken mandate that they should talk up and promote their event within an inch of its life.
GA Express 206
GA Express 208