Swimmer Ian Thorpe, Australiaâ€™s most decorated Olympian, has called on national bodies to stop setting gold medal targets as it puts too much pressure on athletes.
Speaking at an Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) summit on â€œAthlete Wellbeingâ€ on Tuesday, the fives-times Olympic gold-medallist and 11-times world champion said the focus should be on athletes representing the country â€œwellâ€.
â€œI donâ€™t think itâ€™s beneficial when sporting organisations are talking about how many gold medals weâ€™ll win at a competition and that will be the highest number weâ€™ve ever won,â€ the 35-year-old told the Beyond the Podium forum in Canberra.
â€œIt puts an immense amount of pressure on athletes around something they have no control over.
â€œWhat Iâ€™d prefer to see happen is we know the athletes represent our communities, theyâ€™ll represent the diversity of this country and theyâ€™re going to represent it well, to the best of our ability, and that will lead to gold medals.â€