Chiller, the face of Australia's 'ordinary' Olympics

Sun Aug 21, 2016 5:49pm EDT
 
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By Nick Mulvenney

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - In Australian vernacular, the phrase "a bit ordinary" is a damning understatement with a meaning closer to "pretty terrible".

Australia's team chief, Kitty Chiller, is one of the few who would not argue that it fairly aptly sums up the nation's Rio Olympics.

The post mortem, or "blame game" as Chiller put it, was already underway back home on Sunday as the 51-year-old sweated on getting the nine athletes embroiled in an accreditation row out of Brazil on Monday's team charter flight.

It was the final frustration of Australia's troubled Games, taking in accommodation complaints, theft, a small fire and one of their swimmers being mugged a few days before the nine athletes were detained.

In competition, things went only marginally better and defeat for the men's basketball team by a single point in the bronze medal match on Sunday left Australia with eight gold medals and 29 in total.

That was close to their tally from London four years ago (8-35) but 10th place on the final medals table in Rio was well short of the their target of a top-five finish.

While the likes of Kyle Chalmers and Chloe Esposito will be rightly lauded for their gold medal-winning exploits, Chiller may end up being the most memorable face of Australia's Games.

Brought in as Australia's first woman chef de mission to replace the amiable Nick Green after the London Games were blighted by a swimming team scandal, the former modern pentathlete laid down the law from day one.   Continued...

 
Kitty Chiller, Chef de Mission for Australia at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, wipes her eyes during a press conference in which she spoke about the fines levied against a group of their athletes for entering the basketball arena without proper accreditation, in Rio de Janeiro August 20, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Helgren