Monday, 13 August 2012

How to strike gold - Debbie Downunder

Hello to all of you, readers new and old! I know it's been forever, but I've been ever so busy. Fortunately I'm filing this report from London, far from Aunty A and that ebony hairbrush of hers! This is what happened to me at the Olympics. I hope you all enjoy.
Love Debbie D XXX.

There are advantages to being friends with HRH The Duchess of Cambridge. One of those is an all access pass to the biggest show in the world: the 2012 London Olympics. Unfortunately there are also disadvantages, if you’re relying on a member of the British royal family for your access to the Games then you’re expected to spend a bit of time with them and that means watching a lot of equestrian events when there are other more interesting sports involving your country going on.

I don’t dislike the equestrian events, the only event other than the cross country leg of the three day event with as much potential for mayhem is possibly the points race in the velodrome or maybe the BMX. The thing is I’m not really a horse person. I love Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival, but anyone who has actually attended the Spring Carnival will tell you that the horses are the last thing it’s about.

I put up with the equestrian for two days, and begged off the show jumping round saying that I had developed an allergy to horses. As they left for Greenwich Park that morning I think Kate was wishing she could plead the same allergy. William, Harry and the rest of the family love the horses, but it’s not really Kate’s thing. I could hear her telling the Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie to be on their best behaviour unless they wanted to find themselves over cousin Kate’s knee and their aunt Anne, backed that threat up.

Once everyone was gone I headed for the Aquatics Centre. Admittedly my Aussies hadn’t exactly set the pool on fire as they were expected to do, but seven young ladies had won themselves a gold medal on the first day of competition by winning  the 4 X100 metres freestyle relay. I’m sure you’re thinking, but you said seven, aren’t there only 4 in a relay? That’s true, but it’s common, especially in swimming to send a different team out in the heats than the one that swims the final. The only team member that swam both the heats and the final was the 18 year old Brittany Elmslie.

I managed to collar all seven girls: Brittany, Alicia Coutts, Cate Campbell, Melanie Schlanger, Libby Trickett, Emily Seebohm and Yolane Kukla. I’d met Libby before at a Commonwealth Games, and so she introduced me to the other girls. Given the performance of the rest of the team I asked the girls what had motivated them to swim so fast.

Australia's golden girls of the pool show off their medals. From left: Alicia Coutts, Cate Campbell, Brittany Elmslie and Melanie Schlanger. 

The talkative Cate Campbell answered with a laugh “Libby, Em and Yolane said they’d spank us if we messed up their hard work in the heats!”

Talk of spanking did not really surprise me, it had been common amongst the girls in the Commonwealth Games team I’d interviewed. Libby confided that word of the practice had gotten out, and it had been curtailed, which to me was another reason why the team had not performed to expectations. Privately Libby, and Alicia Coutts who had come in on the tail end of the spanking era agreed. Coincidentally, or maybe not, Alicia was Australia’s best performed female swimmer of the meet. The baby of the team Yolane Kukla seemed a little disappointed that they’d won, she’d been promised a go at Cate’s backside, and the two girls were quite competitive, as well as Yolane being friendly with Cate’s younger sister Bronte, also on this team. Brittany Elmslie blushed when I asked her what would happen to her seeing as she was in both heats and finals. Libby Trickett answered for her young team mate, explaining that as she had swum both heat and final, she was exempt from any punishment, of course she also wouldn’t get to spank any of the other girls. 

Emily Seebohm seemed rather subdued, possibly unsurprising as she had recently won a silver medal in the 100 metres backstroke, despite breaking the Olympic Record in the semi final, however she had swum slower in the final and been touched out by American Missy Franklin. Although a silver medal at the Olympics is something pretty special Emily felt she had missed a golden opportunity (sorry couldn’t resist), and had later blamed a possible addiction to Twitter and Facebook. Following that admission her mother; Karen, had confiscated her phone and promised her with a spanking if she tried to check them before it was returned.

Emily Seebohm and her mother Karen enjoy high tea at Claridges. Emily's smile seems a bit forced to me, I wonder if she's sitting on a hot bottom after possibly violating Mum's Twitter and Facebook ban.

In general the first week was pretty slow as far as Australian gold medals went. I was thinking that relay gold in the pool might be it. Kate and I went to hockey matches, but they were mostly featuring Great Britain and as Australia was on the other half of the draw I had hopes for the finals stage. It was not to be, though. Australia crashed out of the medals before that point of the tournament. I was there at the game where Great Britain lost to Argentina. I headed off after the final siren, Kate stormed off to the rooms, muttering darkly. I do hope the girl’s bottoms recovered before their bronze medal match against New Zealand.

Kate and William developed an interest in the cycling, I suspect mainly because the British team was looking to clean sweep the velodrome. It wasn’t easy for an Aussie girl to sit there and watch our green and gold heroes go down to the host nation again and again. That was until the womens sprint final when Anna Meares took on her long time rival the legendary Victoria Pendleton and beat her!

Anna Meares was another competitor I knew from the Commonwealth Games. Their mother had confided in me that she spanked both her and sister Kerrie when they got too intensely competitive with each other on the track or with other opponents. Anna had been trying for years to beat Victoria Pendleton at the Olympics and she could not hide her excitement at having finally achieved that victory at the British girl’s home Games in her final ride. “I love Vicky,” she told me. “She makes me ride harder and faster, but I really, really wanted to beat her tonight.”

I wondered what had made the difference this time. Surely she always wanted to win. “Oh I do,” Anna assured me. “Tonight was different. I spoke to Mum on the phone earlier, I was thinking of her when I rode that last race. She’s never punished me for poor performance, but I found thinking of her using the strap on me because I hadn’t given everything in that race spurred me on.”

Another thing Mrs Meares had instilled in her daughters via means of corporal punishment was fairness in racing and adherence to the rules. Interestingly the reason Anna Meares had won the first race in the best of three sprint was due to Miss Pendleton being deemed to have infringed in that race, so possibly Mrs Meares efforts had in some way helped her daughter without her even realizing it.

Anna Meares celebrates her win on the track with a triumphant fist pump and then shares a hug with her friend and rival Victoria Pendleton on the podium.

The Weymouth and Portland sailing regatta also proved to be a gold mine for Australia. The men fished three gold medals out of the water there. While going to watch my countrymen compete I ran into an old friend. Princess Mary of Denmark (prior to marrying Prince Frederick, the Princess was Mary Donaldson of Tasmania). Denmark’s Prince is a keen sailor and met his future wife when competing for his country in the 2000 Games in Sydney. Mary and one of the nannies were trying to keep 3 small, bored children entertained and well behaved while Daddy watched the boats.

While trying to herd toddlers, Mary said that her life couldn’t have worked out any better. She had a loving husband and three beautiful children. Frederick would assume the throne when his mother; Queen Margrethe, either stepped down or passed away.  As Margrethe is 72 and in rude health neither looks like happening any time soon. Mary confessed that she has regular ‘Princess reviews’ with her mother-in-law, and one out of every four reviews see her draped across the formidable Queen’s lap having her full womanly bottom spanked to a deep rich cherry red. They hurt, but they’re given with love and to make her a better person and a role model for her adopted home.

The Danish Royal family enjoy some time in the gardens at home.

I was able to get to the Olympic Stadium when Australian hurdler Sally Pearson made her bid for gold in the 100 metres hurdles. For those that don’t know about Sally, here’s a quick history. As Sally McClellan (she married in between Olympics) she was a surprise silver medallist at Beijing. In the intervening years between Olympiads, the blonde Australian did everything she could to change the colour of the medal. She won the World Championship, became 2011’s female athlete of the year, was almost unbeatable in her chosen race and lowered her personal best to 12.28, agonizingly close to the world record of 20.21 held by Bulgarian Yordanka Donkova and set in 1988.

Sally suffered a rare defeat in her final hitout before the Olympics, narrowly losing to American Kellie Wells. Apparently she had suffered a fall in training, which aggravated a back injury. The athlete wrote the performance off as ‘a bad day at the office’, and got back to preparing for the race of her life.

Sally had consistently improved her time in the heats and the semi finals to be the fastest qualifier in the finals. Her three rivals for the gold were the reigning Olympic champion Dawn Harper, her recent conqueror Kellie Wells and the highly visible and outspoken Lolo Jones. All three were American.

It was unfortunately a wet night, which may have put paid to any thought of breaking the world record. Sally streaked down the field and over the hurdles, with Dawn Harper at her shoulder the entire way. As it turned out only 2 100th’s of a second separated the girls and it was decided by a photo finish. Sally had successfully completed the journey she began four years ago in Beijing and would have a gold medal in her luggage when she departed London.
It took a while, but I was eventually able to get an interview with Sally and her long time coach, the maternal Sharon Hannan. Sally is an amazing athlete and a great role model for any aspiring Olympian, she gives a lot of credit for it to Sharon Hannan.

The older woman blushed and told Sally to shush. “You weren’t saying that after your little tantrum following the loss,” she told the bubbly blonde athlete.

Sally blushed, and said “We don’t have to tell Debbie about that.”

Sharon smiled and asked her charge “You’ve never read the magazine she used to work for have you, Sally?”

Sally shrugged and replied “No, it’s a funny name, though.”

Sharon favoured me with a gentle smile “Sally’s a treasure most of the time. You ask her to do something and she does it. Although she never showed it she was under considerable pressure coming into this race, and it did get to her. There was a blow up after that loss to Kellie, wasn’t there Sal?”

Sally let out a long breath and replied carefully “Yes, Sharon.”

“What happened?”

“You did what you always do when I get a bit big for my britches.”

“I took them down and spanked that little bottom until you agreed to get over yourself and get on with the business of winning a gold medal, didn’t I?”

“Yes, ma’am,” the gold medallist answered contritely, and then brightly to me. “I’m glad Sharon does it every so often, though. I need it and I think it drives me on to succeed.”

Sally Pearson hurdles her way to gold and then shares a hug with her long time coach Sharon Hannan.

I left the stadium well pleased with my night’s work.

After speaking to Australia’s gold medallists, I concluded that spanking has an important part in their training. Of Australia’s 7 gold medals, 3 of them were won by individual or teams of women. Spankings seem to make them perform to their best, given the performances from many of the Australian men maybe that’s a lesson they should take from the ladies.

London was a wonderful Olympics and something that Rio should aspire to in 4 years time. I wonder who I can get in with over there to get the same sort of access Kate so graciously extended to me here in London?


  1. Given their successes, I wonder if any of the American ladies have spankings as part of their training regimen.
    I would certainly be willing to uh, assist them... ;-)


  2. Agree Phil especially the soccer ladies!

    Well done and nice report, news here was that Australia was not happy with the overall performance, so maybe spankings are soon to be given Down Under.

    Nice one, thanks

  3. Thanks for the comments, Phil and Ron. I think the USA team have some of the best facilities, coaches available and I believe they also train harder and longer than most others, it's something Australia should look at. Ron, the disappointment, for me anyway, stemmed from the fact that in many cases the Australian athletes didn't give their best performances when it counted. I don't think anyone will be spanked (shame), but some hard questions are going to be asked.