Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has disappointed the country's Olympic chief and athletes by turning down invitations to the London Olympics and the team's key fund-raising event.
The Australian Olympic Committee is particularly disappointed as Gillard will be the first PM not to attend the Prime Minister's Olympic fund-raising dinner in June, an exclusive pre-games fund-raiser that began in 1984 and is expected to raise 1.7 million dollars this year.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, AOC President John Coates described Gillard's absences from the events as a significant political opportunity missed.
"I thought London would be an absolute must for Julia, so I'm disappointed. It's a disappointment to us. It will be a disappointment to our team," the paper quoted Coates, as saying.
Coates and member of the International Olympic Committee's executive board also lamented the contrasting attitude of former prime minister Kevin Rudd, who 'got' the games and mixed with world leaders at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Gillard recently said that the Minister for Sport, Kate Lundy, would represent the Prime Minister in London.
He further said that Gillard would miss the fund-raiser because she would be representing Australia at the G20 and the UN Sustainable Development Conference. (ANI)