With great celebrity comes great expectations, but not necessarily great pay envelopes, or so says Michelle Jenneke as she prepares to represent Australia in Athletics at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast 2018 as the games are commonly known.
She disappointed the home crowd with her underwhelming performance at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games and more than a little publicity surrounded the revelation that her funding was cut by Athletics Australia.
The fact that was not widely known, even as accusations of Jenneke wasting taxpayer money were widely disseminated, was that the subsidy she was receiving on an annual basis would barely cover rent for more than a few months in her hometown of Kenthurst, northwest of Sydney.
Speaking with news.com.au, Jenneke revealed the true extent of her publicised funding cut.
“I don’t think people really understand the way the whole system works. It was made a big deal after Rio that I had my funding cut — what a lot of people don’t understand is that funding was $8000 a year,” Jenneke said. “A lot of people say, ‘She’s wasted all our taxpayer money.’ It’s not really that much money that goes into each of these individual athletes.A lot of the media spurred that on and throw out these comments without actually giving the background knowledge of what’s going on behind that and even the politics of how those sorts of things work. In an ideal world it would be great to give people the information so they can know what it’s like but I’m a realist and I don’t see that happening.”
Jenneke will hope to silence her naysayers when the Gold Coast 2018 XXI Commonwealth Games get underway in early April.
She has a spot she earned after finishing behind Sally Pearson at nationals last month.
Maybe if she does well Athletics Australia will give her back the $8000, but Jenneke might do as well or better in her role as ambassador for Blistex, the official lip balm sponsor of the Commonwealth Games.
She says the average punter should temper their expectations about her performance, but those punters can rest assured that she will not be slowed down by chapped lips.