Olympics outrage: Female athletes fly economy, men fly business

Thursday, July 19, 2012
Female Olympians get second-class treatment
Australian women's basketball team the Opals

Australian female athletes are being given second-class treatment on their long-haul journey to the London Olympics.

The Australian women’s basketball team, the Opals, have confirmed that they had different travel arrangements to the men’s teams.

While the Boomers made the long-haul flight trip in business class, the Opals were bailed up in premium economy — they were upgraded from their original economy class booking.

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The Opals have never complained about the unfairness of differing travel standards between the teams, but have today spoken out joining an escalating international debate sparked by revelations that the Japanese women’s soccer team flew economy to London while their lower-ranked men’s team were up front in business.

Like the Japan’s soccer players, our female basketballers have a strong chance of securing gold in London. The Opals have won silver medals at the last three Olympics, but while the men’s team have come close, they have never won an Olympic medal.

While the Opals haven’t commented on the record over the issue, it’s clear they’re not happy about their lesser travel arrangements.

Basketball Australia has denied sexism, claiming the player’s average heights determine their seating.

"Different factors are taken into account when organising travel arrangements for our national teams — height and size being a primary consideration," a spokesperson said.

Related: Nervous Olympian Zara Phillips

"The average height of our male basketball players is 200.2cm. The average height of our female basketball players is 183cm.

"Ultimately, each national team has a budget, and the leadership group of each team is consulted on how that budget is spent — including travel arrangements."

Your say: Do you think female Olympians should get the same travel privileges as men?

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