OLYMPIC swimming star James Magnussen has suggested double standards when it comes to judgement and expectations of our winter and summer Games athletes.
Speaking after gold medal snowboarding hope Scotty James collected bronze in Pyeongyang, the two-time 100m freestyle world champion felt it had a lot to do with the “laid back, relaxed feel” of winter sports.
“They’re listening to music during the event. You’ve got sponsors on the boards, you’ve got advertising everywhere,” Magnussen said on Fox Sports’ Bill & Boz on Wednesday night.
“Whereas the (summer) Olympics is this super professional, super intense environment where none of that’s allowed.
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“You’re not expected to show any personality, you’re not expected to have fun.
“You’re there for a reason and that’s to win golds.”
Magnussen — who is gearing up for April’s Commonwealth Games — knows all too well the fierce backlash that can be felt after falling short of Olympic gold.
The 26-year-old was red hot favourite for individual 100m freestyle gold at the London 2012 Games — and wasn’t shy to tell the world about it — before finishing second to American Nathan Adrian by an agonising 0.01 seconds.
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His silver was viewed more as a failure than a success in the eyes of many and he’s far from the only swimmer to suffer such a fate.
“They certainly seem to take a different mental approach at the Winter Olympics and I think as a result we, as the public and the media, are judging them less harshly than we may judge a (summer) Olympic athlete,” said Magnussen, who also won relay bronze in London and Rio.
“If Scotty James was a swimmer going into that event as the world champion and expected to win, and he got bronze, how would we be reacting to that?”
James cried tears of joy after Wednesday’s event and hasn’t let on at all he’s disappointed to miss the top prize.
“I feel like I’m celebrating a gold medal,” James said.
“Years and years of this has all come to fruition at the right time.
“I’ve been working so hard and spent so much time away from home and it all came out today.
“I was able to put the run down I wanted to do and I’m just excited to be able to do that.”