SEPTEMBER 28 - BRITAIN'S athletes who competed in the Olympics last month in Beijing are "greedy" and put "money before medals", a member of the team has claimed today.
The attack from discus thrower Phillipa Roles is made in an interview published in Wales on Sunday and she also claims that the replacement of Dave Collins as performance director by Charles van Commenee in the newly created role of head coach will not make any difference.
She told the newspaper: “There’s been a lot of hype but I can’t see too much changing because the attitude is terrible."
Britain's athletes underperformed in Beijing winning only four medals, including one gold, missing the target of five set by National Lottery distributor UK Sport, leading to Collins being replaced by van Commenee.
Roles said: “In my view, Lottery money has been the worst thing that’s ever happened to the sport.
"It works in rowing and cycling because the attitude is spot-on, they’re very professional and grounded.
“But in athletics they [the athletes] don’t think about medals.
"Instead they ask, ‘How much Lottery money am I going to get?’ and, ‘How much is my sponsor going to give me?’
“They should totally strip Lottery money out of athletics.
“People still achieved when they loved the sport and there was no Lottery money around.
“Now athletes are just trying to live pop star lifestyles.
"But I feel really sorry for them when they retire because they’ve got nothing to back them up.
“They’ve got no degrees, no qualifications and I wonder how the hell are they going to live when they retire.
“I don’t envy them, I pity them.
"When your life is over as an athlete what are you going to do after that?”
Unlike the majority of Britain's athletes in Beijing, 30-year-old Roles was not funded by the National Lottery and works as a train driver to support herself.
Beijing was her second consecutive Olympics but she failed to reach the final, finishing 16th in qualifying.
Roles told Wales on Sunday: “People were looking down their noses at me.
“When we got into conversations it was almost as if they were speaking Chinese to me.
"They were just thinking where the next pay cheque, house, car and phone was coming from.
“Before they’d even run their finals - or in many cases failed to make finals - people were saying, 'I’m going to run this meet and earn 20Gs'.
“I was just thinking, ‘What does 20Gs mean?’
"But it was clear that people were just in it for what they can get out of it.
“There was no love for the sport, only money."
To read the full article visit http://www.walesonline.co.uk/sports/sports-news-round-up/2008/09/28/athletics-greedy-athletes-ruining-sport-says-rolesathletics-greedy-athletes-ruining-sport-says-roles-91466-21914083/.