Funding and Games

This week while running into the local IGA supermarket for some ice cream, *coughs* kale.  I made super quick eye contact with a fundraising individual right near the entrance. This is something I try to avoid. Don’t get me wrong I will support many a cause, but the methods that these outsourcing agencies go to get a regular direct debit out of your account are extreme. By the time I have managed a trip from one end of the mall to another I have signed up to save bears, whales, cured cancer, sponsored a couple of children, lathered myself in an exotic cream from the Dead Sea and subscribed to Foxtel. I just can’t say no, even when my bank account does.

Fundraising got BOLD in the last few years. No longer is it a tin can and a cheeky sticker. They have EFTPOS, payment plans and they go in hard. “Can you spare $100 a month?” Erm. Can you see my shirt with non-ironic holes caused by moths? “What about $75,  we take it directly out of your account, you don’t need to worry about a thing”. Except maybe the gas, electricity, phone, internet, mortgage, car payments also coming out that day?
I will always give, but only within my means. And usually, the first 10 options are not within mine. I go straight to the bottom of the list. $5. Maybe $10. Okay, sometimes $20.  This particular one though was a raffle which is less commitment and was for the Australian Paralympic team. You just can’t say no to that. Because that would make you a douche canoe.

I have never really dug the Olympics, too Sporty McSport face for me, and it only ever represented a gap in the Grays Anatomy plotline for the year. Meredith and McDreamy will they or won’t they, will they or won’t they. For those playing at home they did, didn’t, did and didn’t then someone died, or something. They lost me at Cristina Yang’s departure. However in 2020, based on what I have learned outside the IGA supermarket I am going to get inner my jock on and throw a little support behind our Australian Paralympic team. This is not about disability inspiration porn, but inequality in funding which just is not cool and not that uncommon in Australia.

A $10 million funding boost was offered up for Australian Olympians and Paralympians by the Australian Government in December 2017 in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but when you look at the fine print, our Paralympians will be again getting crumbs as the published list only includes para-canoeing and wheelchair rugby in the bonus round. Our Paralympian team in Australia is funded largely by a non-government agency the Australian Paralympic Committee, while their able-bodied compadres come under the Australian Sports Commission, which sits under the Australian Institute of Sport which is wait for it.. totes government funded.

kurt fearnley - australian paralympic team facebook page
Kurt Fearnley Photo: Australian Paralympic Team Facebook Page

Now, as the charming fundraising gentleman explained, the cost of getting a Paralympian to Tokyo in 2020 is going to be substantially more than an able-bodied athlete due to medical equipment, transport and accommodation for carers as well as a medical hub. So you would think that their government funding per person with said needs would be a teeny bit more. Not so. While the figures and costings for 2020 aren’t in the public domain just yet Rob Flude over at The Final Whistle worked up some costings from the Rio Olympics in 2016.

In the 4-year build up to Rio, the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) – through the government’s organisation, the Australian Institute of Sport – has funded Olympic sports to the tune of $377 million (422 athletes plus support staff) and Paralympic sports about $62 million. On a per-athlete basis, Olympians, therefore, receive more than double their Paralympian equivalents .

Rob Flude

But the medals and the faaaame…

Is it a return on investment? Sure able-bodied Olympians are probably more well known, although I personally wouldn’t recognise an Australian Olympic swimmer unless they were in their Bonds undies in a magazine. So let’s have a little look at where we are sitting in the tallies.  The Rio Olympics had Australia sitting at 10th place with 8 gold, 11 silver and 10 bronze. On the other, much harder to find tally, our Paralympian team came in 5th place with 22 gold, 30 silver and 29 bronze. I’m crap at maths and not that mint with investments but come on. Our para-athletes are crushing it!

My moth bitten shirt and broke ass weren’t quite able to meet the $1500 to fly a Paralympian to Tokyo in 2020 or even $50 for physiotherapy, but I did cough up enough for a pin, a reminder and a self-promise to bang on about it for the next two years. So how can you help?

You can make a donation and make some noise.  Do you have some clout in the workplace? The APC corporate program can create a team building day. Having an event? Get your keynote speaker here! Way more interesting than that cooking/marrying a stranger/renovation comp C grade celeb Karen from accounts arranged through her cousin.

Or be like me and get a cool pin and a chance to win $65,000.

Photo of a pin supporting the Australian Paralympic Committee with words “Believe and together we are invincible.”


MJ x





Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s