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Is James Magnussen's age really an excuse?

Posted by: Tom Elliott | 25 February, 2013 - 3:21 PM
Magnussen

As part of the ongoing review of our Swimming squad’s performance at the London Games, 100m freestyle silver medal winner James Magnussen has attempted to explain away his poor behaviour by stating that at the age of just 21 he was too young and inexperienced to really know what he was doing.

Now while 21 is undoubtedly young, is it ok for someone who is legally an adult to abrogate himself of responsibility for a series of silly acts which seems to have brought the reputation of his sport into disrepute?

And more broadly, should Magnussen’s statement cause us to rethink the age at which a youth eventually becomes an adult?

Remember that at age 18 in this country, a person suddenly becomes entitled to drink, vote, drive and serve in the armed forces (hopefully not in that order). They can also get married, have kids, take out a mortgage, serve as a director, and so on – in short, they are handled all the rights and responsibilities of being an adult.

Yet 18 to perhaps 22 or 23-year-olds are also capable of many stupid, childlike acts. They’re more likely to crash cars, take drugs and engage in other forms of risky behaviour that make it amazing enough to survive into adulthood to keep the human race going.

So should we extend adolescence beyond 18 to as late as, say, 24 or 25? Perhaps stagger the onset of adulthood over a few years so that the James Magnussens of this world have a bit more time to get used to the responsibilities that accompany the various rights? At the very least, separating the ages at which a person can legally drink and obtain their licence would seem to make a great deal of sense…

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Blog comments Your Say

  • He's been to the Nick Darcy school of slippery moves and lame excuses...another weak- livered member of the swimming team propped up for a second/third chance by the team officials. That pool water must slowly seep into all their brains and flood their common sense triggers!

    Cathy Tuesday 26 February, 2013 - 11:34 PM
  • Magnussen is an arrogant, irresponsible jerk clutching at straws to justify his behaviour. As he is never likely to grow-up, I would suggest he be permanently excluded from all future representation.

    Jake Tuesday 26 February, 2013 - 5:07 PM
  • You don't see Olympic gymnasts act this way and they are usually the youngest atletes of the Olympics, especially the women. Age is just an excuse. Michael Phelps was 15 in his first Olympic games and 19 in his first Olympic games where he medaled. He didn't behave like this.

    Carrie Tuesday 26 February, 2013 - 11:00 AM
  • I THINK ITS ABOUT TIME PEOPLE SHOULD BE MORE RESPONSIBLE AND ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR OWN ACTIONS.
    AM SURE THE SWIMMERS TOOK ALL THE CASH ETC THAT ARE GIVEN TO THEM

    chris watts Monday 25 February, 2013 - 5:02 PM
  • This is a typical narcissistic mindset;Anything that I "may" happen to do wrong will always be the fault of some outside agency.

    jgl Melb Monday 25 February, 2013 - 3:57 PM

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