By Willie Jackson
Hasn't the Olympics opened our eyes about other sports in the world?
While I confess to being a rugby junkie I've been wowed by the variety of sports on offer. And it's not just the superstars like Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps who will leave me with an indelible impression of these games.
The most exciting moment from a Kiwi perspective surely had to be Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan winning gold in the double sculls rowing.
I'm not taking anything away from the fabulous Mahe Drysdale or the men's pair Hamish Bond and Eric Murray, who also won gold, but Cohen and Sullivan's victory was breathtaking.
It was as exciting as anything I have ever seen in a lifetime of watching sport.
Their comeback in the race from almost last position brought back memories of the time when our great horse Kiwi mowed down all the Aussie horses coming from the rear of the field to win the 1983 Melbourne Cup.
Cohen and Sullivan's victory was that good.
What wasn't so good, however, was canoeist Ben Fouhy's response after failing to qualify for the final of the K1 1000 metres.
The former world champion and Olympic silver medallist allowed his emotions to get the better of him.
He expressed outrage at some sporting officials who he believed had hampered his career.
Fouhy said it wasn't right that people like him had to do it on the smell of an oily rag.
He'd spent all his savings, was $10,000 in debt, was living off $25,000 and borrowing money to pay a mortgage.
Fouhy's language disintegrated into profanity.
Despite the bad language and the unfortunate timing in terms of his response, surely he has a point? Fouhy is no spring chicken; he isn't a young athlete, as he says “who was 20 years old living in the back of a car”.
He's a proven world champion who needed extra support and help.
His response and these Olympics are a reminder to rugby nuts like me of how difficult it is for minor sports in this country and how professional rugby, league and cricket players have it so easy.
Our best players in these codes earn between a $500,000 and $2 million a year.
That's 20 to 80 times more than Fouhy.
That's ridiculous given that his expertise would be no less than any rugby player or cricketer.
Ben Fouhy's criticism should be investigated.
While he trains and performs like a professional he is paid like a pauper.
Surely it's time to look at preventing this type of embarrassment happening at future Olympics.
Auckland Now, 10th August 2012