THE tall poppy syndrome seems alive and well at this year’s Olympics in London.

There are always the athletes who with bravado predict they will smash records and have their country’s population firmly behind them to do just that.

But as soon as they “fail” to achieve expectations there is an immediate backlash.

On a daily basis these athletes undergo hours and hours of training, strict dietary regimes, media attention, their private lives under scrutiny and foregoing the everyday freedoms we often take for granted growing up. Not to mention the pressure, pressure – pressure of living up to a sporting nation’s expectations and their own.

How many people remember the names of bronze or silver medallists or athletes who won one gold.

As the world mocks and doubts, the last place that should give up on James Magnussen is his home town.

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