These Athletes Can Show Nick Kyrgios What It Means To Be An Olympian

His decision to withdraw from Rio is pure narcissism.

03/06/2016 12:13 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:53 PM AEST
Jason Reed / Reuters
He's thrown away his Olympic hopes

Nick Kyrgios won't be at the Olympics. Phew. The Olympics are too good for this bloke.

Kyrgios is clearly a thoughtful and passionate person. Here's a post he wrote about his obsession with basketball's Boston Celtics which will help you look beyond his frequent outbursts of offensive behaviour on the tennis court.

But Nick Kyrgios is trouble of a sort which the Australian Olympic Committee doesn't need in Rio. The 21-year-old Canberran complained on Friday that "the AOC has chosen to publicly and privately disparage me".

Yeah? Well here's the thing.

While Kyrgios rarely plays a tournament without an outburst of cringeworthy behaviour, here's how Australian athletes already selected for Rio have been conducting themselves.

Backstroke swimmer Madison Wilson was told by her coach to stop helping out in the children's hospital so often in the lead-up to the Olympic trials, because her dedication to those less fortunate was hampering her preparation. That's selflessness.

Archery hope Taylor Worth shoots 300 arrows a day then goes to the gym. When he finally gets home, he refrains from watching TV after 9 pm because one night of poor sleep in four years might harm his medal chances. That's discipline.

Equestrian Scott Keach was thrown from his horse at his only Olympics at Seoul in 1988. He's waited 28 years for his shot at redemption and he'll get it in Rio. Has he ever complained? Not once. That's patience.

Sixteen-year-old school student Aislin Jones excels in maths, science and playing the flute, and will make her Rio debut in trap shooting after sacrificing virtually every afternoon after school for the last four years. That's dedication.

Cyclist and London medallist Annette Edmonson was slammed so hard by a car in training she dented its side panels. But she got on a plane three days later and competed in the World Championships so she wouldn't disrupt her Rio preparations. That's courage.

Kayaker Ken Wallace has a relaxation technique he uses to great effect in his Rio preparations. It's called mowing the lawn and its the best cure yet invented for a bad day of training. No equipment slamming or vile sexist abuse, just a quiet retreat into domestic labour. That's mindfulness.

Hockey player Jamie Dwyer is quite possibly the greatest ever player in his sport, and scored the goal which gave the Aussie men's team their sole Olympic hockey gold in 2004. He spends every available moment with his kids. That's maturity.

Safwan Khalil and Carmen Marton are both the children of refugees and will represent Australian in taekwondo in Rio. For them, fighting is a beautiful art, not a torrent of verbal abuse directed at an opponent or chair umpire. That's classy.

I'm sure you get the point here. But I'll spell it out anyway.

All of these athletes are incredibly hard working. None of them earns a fraction of the money Kyrgios makes. And each and every one of them would do -- or already has done -- everything in their powers to get to Rio.

Nick Kyrgios? Sure, he'd like to be there too. "I have expressed every intention of trying to win a medal for my country in Rio," he said in his statement on Friday.

But let's be realistic about what Nick Kyrgios wants. He wants to be there on his terms. And what his terms mean are the strong likelihood -- and, in fact, the near certainty -- of bad behaviour during one of his tennis matches.

The Australian Olympic Committee didn't want to risk that. They were probably going to be pick Kyrgios anyway through gritted teeth. But they were never going to have the sit-down Kyrgios wanted.

Why not? Because the AOC didn't need to spell out what they wanted from him. Rio chef de mission Kitty Chiller is on record as saying she wants to instill a new, upbeat team culture divorced from the spoilt-bratism which pervaded the London 2012 team.

The AOC can't afford to be looking over its shoulder in Rio wondering what the hell sort of obscenity Nick Kyrgios has unleashed on a tennis court on any given day. They'll be busy with rowing and kayaking at dawn, swimming finals that end after midnight, and everything in between.

Did Kyrgios really need a sit-down to have this spelled out? To have officials say "hey Nick, we just need to be sure we're getting good Nick, not belligerent Nick."?

Olympians are not all of one mould. Some are humble, others are brash. But all of them are united by one thing. They all want to be Olympians more than anything in the world. And they're happy to do that on terms set by the Olympic movement and its guardians.

Nick Kyrgios' fragile ego couldn't handle that. That's narcissism.

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