Love my cycling, ridden every form of 2 wheels since I was 3 years old. Love the outdoors in general, love seeing the Aussies do well on the track at the Olympics etc but Wednesday night I was absolutely appalled to hear on Gruen Sweat on ABC that the Australian tax payers have pumped between $380 and $500 million dollars in the last 4 years towards the Aussie Olympic team. I dont know about anyone else out there but im pretty sure some of that money could be spent elsewhere considering that this years team is pretty bloody useless. Divide that up betweeen the couple of hundred athletes we send and its over $2 million each. Im pretty sure Cadel and BMC won last years tour on one athlrtes budget.
Ethan, here is a bigger waste of money that encourages sedentary lifestyle and obesity related ill health, as well as disease from air pollution.
For too long cyclists have subsidised motorists. Four road projects for vehicles totalling nearly $2 billion being paid for with my taxes as well as yours are the Port River Expressway ($19.4M) , the duplication of the Southern Expressway ($445.5M) , the South Road Superway ($930M)  and the Northern Expressway ($564M) .
That's a bit of a strawman argument. Some of these projects are geared towards better FREIGHT movement. I understand that you feel short-changed as a cyclist (as do I) but it's probably important to pick the right battles!
Alasdair, admit that my post above was from an unpublished comment that I submitted recently. A media story on cycling attracted the usual complaints about any money (in this case $40,000) being spent on cycling facilities.
Stand by my argument that the amount spent on Olympic athletes is minimal compared with what is spent on roads. When Cadel won TDF, there was an increase in cycling. Today a friend said that the Olympics has increased swimming pool attendance.
The money should be spent putting the freight back on rail, where it used to be. Coastal shipping is also a very efficient mover of bulk goods.
Australia is a big place, its important to help rural australia by subsidising transport costs.
but that doesn't mean our populated areas should be treated the same way.
Congestion Tax is looming, but its a matter of political courage.
Probably the wrong forum for me to mention this on but my biggest complaint is that on some of them they didn't go far enough! Southern express should have been both ways to start with. South road needs something done in a huge way, the Superway is a good idea but should be to port road at least. Port river expressway, great and a bargain at 14m, compared to the price of others there.
The Fin Review has a nice article: http://afr.com/p/opinion/olympic_gold_at_any_cost_just_don_pAvsssjN...
I'm sure a better spend of money would be on health, education (and I don't mean by paying the AIS athletes HECS fees for them), and research. But I guess those areas have long term benefits for the country, rather than precipitating a sense of national pride based solely on sporting achievements once every 4 years that seems to only benefit a few individuals and two dozen or so large corporations with advertising rights at the olympics.
There could be flow-on effects from national elite sports funding - obviously I don't have the numbers but it's possible that pumping money into elite sport encourages the uptake of amateur sport to the extent that, from a health savings point of view, it could come out revenue-neutral.
I have no idea whether this is true or not but it'd be worth looking into.
Yeah, I don't doubt that there is some flow-on effect. I'm just a bit over this "a silver or bronze medal is an utter catastrophe and we need to spend more money to get gold" hokum. It's ok, I'll go grump somewhere else :-)
It does sound like an obscene spend (forget whether you think this olympics was 'successful' or not) but if that $ includes the building, improving and maintaining of facilities that we weekenders and our kids get to enjoy, such as the velodrome, swim centre or athletics track - then you might be seeing some personal benefits too.
Remember when the Olympic Games was for "amateurs" and the Eastern Block countries were criticised for ploughing so much money into their training programs for .....propaganda?