Pressure of expectations

OUTSIDERS should think twice before commenting on how Olympians deal with pressure and losing, former Olympic baseballer Mathew Buckley said.

After the Australian men's 4x100 metre freestyle relay team flopped on Sunday in London, TV images of swimmer James Magnussen struggling to explain his performance were shown around the world.

And when another Australian swimmer, Emily Seebohm revealed her disappointment after getting silver in the 100m backstroke, speculation arose about the ability of Australian athletes to deal with losing.

Mr Buckley played baseball for Australia in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and said non-Olympians would find it hard to understand the pressure Australian athletes were under.

"It's quite easy for us to comment when we don't know what they've been through," the Lismore local said.

"It's like asking an accountant how they feel around tax time.

"I'm sure if they had have interviewed some people who lost from other countries after the race, they would've been as disappointed as the Australians."

Olympians in London are the first to be exposed to social media, and Ms Seebohm claimed her obsession with it affected her performance in the pool.

But public opinions were something Mr Buckley distanced himself from while competing in the Sydney Olympics.

"We got a whole bunch of telegrams and, to be honest, I didn't touch them until we finished competing," he said.

"Social media would affect everyone differently. Really strong personalities would probably thrive on it."

And in the back of every Olympian's head is always the thought of knowing they could be forced to do a drug test at any time.

"I didn't get (tested) in Sydney because it's a team event and only two or three of us got tested," he said.

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