Performance-enhancing substances in sport
Whether the Australian and international public know about it or not, some athletes would have and still consume some performance-enhancing substance or drugs to better their performance and perform at the level that they do. Australia has prided itself on its science and technology in producing a fitter, stronger and better athletes for a sport, although Australia has not yet conquered all the sports as yet. The Australian public really does not know what goes on behind the scenes in a certain sport. We have been informed there are anti-drug agencies such as the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) at work to consistently check up on athletes, and Australia once again has set the standards on substance abuse with ASADA being a world leader in its field and has a strong representation on the board of the World Anti-Doping Agency – “we believe Australia should be at the forefront of the war against doping in sport” (Australian Government (2008)). ASADA helps National Sporting Organizations meet their responsibilities with providing a variety of programs, including educational services. Imagine the benefits of a representative from ASADA visiting a school or local club because ASADA would also talk about other related areas like binge drinking, smoking and illicit drugs. It would be up to an individual of the public to explore this further via various means such as media and contacting sporting organizations. There have been some high-profile drug-busts recently with American Women’s sprinter Marion Jones and American Cyclist Lance Armstrong, both being stripped of their achievements.
Sometimes performance-enhancing drugs may be allowed behind-the-scenes to help athletes and teams better their times and performance and keep up with competition and achieve State, National and World records. This can be due to a number of reasons like the media, sport having progressed especially with science and technology, professionalism in sport, the expectations of the general public and entertainment. No one said a person could run a mile under 60 seconds, but English medical student Roger Bannister decided to do it, and he did. It is questionable whether Roger Bannister was taking an illegal substance or not during this record-breaking feat, especially since he was a medical student who would have some access to medical substances. Ever since then, people have continued to beat the ‘miracle mile’. The same is for other sports, but at what cost in the modern era, especially after people are used to seeing records being broken.
It is questionable whether some form of performance-enhancing drugs should be allowed in certain sports, but top-level athletes do usually put in the hard-work and dedication, which can lead to their bodies being worn down and needing some beneficial substances to recover and maintain themselves. Some athletes need steroids for example to heal quicker, especially contact sports. Some sports use substances more freely like BodyBuilding, Weight-Lifting and Strongest Men competitions. Even head-ache tablets and marijuana are outlawed in some sports, classing them as affecting performance and possibly even performance-enhancing, for example, being in a more relaxed state than usual. High-profile athletes need to be positive role models for current and future athletes, so when word-of-mouth or media get a hold of this, which is common nowadays, it provides mixed responses which are positive and negative. But everyone is used to hearing it all before, especially the big story of the ‘fall-from-grace’. For example, former Australian goalkeeper Mark Bosnich caught for illicit drug use and drunkard George Best from the English Premier League.
Better Promotion of Sport and Sporting Organizations in General
From local sport to elite sports, more promotion is needed to increase awareness and participation in various sports. Sometimes there are advertisements in local newspapers, schools and on the side of major roads, but a more thorough and cost-effective sales and marketing program can help. This can be carried out by the personnel of the sports themselves or some sports can use a designated person(s) or representative(s) to carry out set-objectives and strategies via carried out action plans and liaising and evaluating with management, coaches, athletes and other sport personnel. There are simple but effective ideas in Marketing Communications for sports on all levels to come up with better ways to promote themselves. Some ideas and strategies can earn a business thousands, if not millions, if done correctly and can save a great deal of money than if a person went through a marketing company specializing in this area. There is a wealth of information out there with the Internet, publications and television programs. These ideas and strategies can be quite creative, different and innovative, and get considerable attention and results, for example, use of humor, music, intellectual, design, the media and networking, for instance.
Australia’s Aging Population
More Australian’s are getting older because of low fertility, increasing life expectancy, cost of living and a fast-paced, stressful environment, resulting in fewer children less than 15 years of age in the population (Australian Bureau of Statistics (June 2011)). Families are smaller is size compared to previous years. The Australian Government 2008 report stated that the Australian population is ageing while countries such as China have far younger populations and we saw this at the 2012 London Olympics with a young female Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen even beating some of the men based on times and performances (Australian Government (2008)) Australia’s elite talent pool is estimated at 200,000 athletes and this is quite small compared to America’s 2 million and China’s 20 million, but remember this is people per capita as well (Australian Bureau of Statistics (June 2011) / CSIRO (15 March, 2012)).
Older individuals are now being moved into aged care, looked after as extended family or manage to take care of themselves living on their own in self-care. More proper and relevant sporting and recreation activities need to be provided to look after and cater for this ageing population. Aged-care facilities provide some sort of activities like yoga, aerobics, massage and walking, but perhaps also some gym or gym-like area or centre would be of benefit. Related members of a family or friends could create a schedule of health and fitness for the ageing member, including buying some fitness equipment for the home or room, or sport at the park. Regular competitions and events can also be staged like weekly, monthly and annual local events through to International Masters Games or something similar (CSIRO (15 March, 2012)).
Culture and new migrant populations settling in Australia
Sport has a unique ability “to transcend race, religion, gender and creed” (Australian Government (2008)) . Australia accepts a large number of migrants into the country each year and is one of the more understanding nations in this respect. In 2011-2012 just below 185,000 places were given to migrants based on special skills, family and special eligibility (Australian Government, Department of Immigration and Citizenship (June 30, 2012)). Australia is therefore quite multicultural and diverse with regards to the cultural and related activities on offer, including sport and recreation, social, religious, political and economic. More cultural sporting events could be initiated and continued as weekly, monthly or yearly events. This allows for more social cohesion in migrant communities and in mixing with other communities in Australia and overseas. Examples of sporting activities for migrants are special days in the global and national cultural calendar and other local and community events general and sporting (CSIRO (15 March, 2012)).
Growth or Decline of Sports Sponsorship
The ‘salary cap’ in some sports like Rugby League and Rugby Union can prevent an athlete or team taking on more individual and team sports sponsorship. Australia has held strong by not giving in to the large salaries and sponsorship overseas. However, some lifting of the salary cap is needed for a decent sum of money for athletes, particularly high-contact and endurance sports, particularly star athletes, where the life-span of an athlete in the sport is less like Rugby League and Rugby Union and Triathlon.
Sponsorship, including sports sponsorship, is now an important part of the marketing mix. Perhaps more creativity and innovation is needed with sport sponsorship, including advertising. While some sport sponsorship has declined, like cigarette advertising and the Benson and Hedges International Cricket series, others have flourished like ‘nutrition’ (for example, sports supplements like Blackmores and Nutriway), ‘telecommunications’ (e.g. Vodafone Wallabies, Telstra Stadium at Sydney Olympic Park and Optus), ‘finance’ (e.g. Aussie Home Loans formerly sponsoring Stadium Australia) and ‘alcohol’ (e.g. Bundaberg and the Australian Men’s Rugby Union team). Use of humour, design and music are common themes in advertising, for instance, new Australian insurance company iSelect have a funny advertisement with sponsored NRL team Gold Coast Titans (CSIRO (15 March, 2012) ).
Increasing importance of physical and mental health
The health and fitness boom took off a while ago with people becoming more conscious about being healthy. Australia like the rest of the world should be privileged to live in an age where knowledge and information has progressed quite far, including science and technology, for example sports and general supplements and medicine. With this advancement and progression though has come a stressful and fast-paced lifestyle where there is more stress, sickness and disease, for example depression and anxiety, diabetes and obesity. Factors like diet, regular medication, sport and exercise, therapy and stress management, communication and spiritual faith are areas people can look to keep healthy. Also, community physical activity and programs like ‘Life. Be in it’ have become virtually non-existent. Sport is being more associated with health and this is shown with sport being shifted into the Health portfolio of the Australian Government (Australian Government (2008)) . Preventative health is therefore the main aim, which has been studied and discussed for a long time with minimal action or the general public seeing and experiencing little of it. Preventative health relates to other areas in this report like school sports and local sporting clubs. The Australian Federal Government even set up a ‘Preventative Health Taskforce’ specifically for this (Australian Government, 2008). Members of the general public, including people who follow or participate in sport, need to educate themselves properly and work out and analyze a situation, as preventative measures, with a wealth of information out there on the Internet, health organizations and television programs for instance (CSIRO (15 March, 2012)).
The Australian Government organization AusAID provides the Development of Sport initiative with Pacific Island partner countries like Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu and the Caribbean. The primary vehicles for this initiative are the Australian Sports Outreach Program and Pacific Sports Partnership. The Outreach program helps to address the rise of “non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer” from “physical inactivity, unhealthy diets and harmful tobacco” which also exists in these nations (Australian Government, AusAID (4 April 2012)). The initiative also addresses the problems of supporting people with a disability, social cohesion and teaching youth about discipline. The ASOP Pacific Sports Partnership contributes to social development by “strengthening grass roots sports activities in Pacific Island communities like Rugby League, Football, Rugby Union, Netball and Cricket and build the skills and experiences of administrators, coaches and officials” (Australian Government, AusAID (4 April 2012)) . The work of AusAID ties in with two aims of the Australian Government document, ‘The Future of Sport in Australia’, “to build community sport” and “sustaining the funding base for sport” (Australian Government, Department of Health and Ageing (2009))