Brockhoff rant hurt Pullin: Boss

Australian winter team boss Ian Chesterman has revealed that the tirade by the father of Belle Brockhoff on the morning of the men's snowboard cross event affected gold medal favourite Alex "Chumpy" Pullin.

Chesterman also defended Australia's overall performance in Sochi, even though it is the first time the country has left the Winter Olympics without a gold medal since Nagano in 1998.

Pullin had gone into these games as Australia's best hope of gold but only made it to the quarter-finals.

The disappointing performance came after Bruce Brockhoff claimed publicly on the eve of the competition that several people would be "dancing on the graves" of Olympic officials if Pullin didn't deliver.

"I don't think any man's an island," Chesterman admitted. "There were a lot of things going through Chumpy Pullin's mind on the morning of his race. It was already delayed by one day, and I'm sure that wasn't helpful either. I can't go through all the details of what was going through his mind. He came into these games with high expectations himself. But it doesn't help to have criticism launched from the outside before your competition."

Chesterman said of Team Outcast, the splinter group headed by snowboarder Torah Bright over funding: "It was a distraction that we didn't need. It was not an issue amongst athletes, who parked it before the games, but more so parents. To those parents I say this: by all means support your children, but at games time it is best that you are seen and not heard."

Much debate has stirred in recent days about the level of funding directed towards Australia's winter Olympics team, which leaves with two silver (Bright, Dave Morris) and bronze (Lydia Lassila) but no gold.

Roughly $20 million has been channelled into winter athletes in the past four years, with less than half of that coming from the taxpayer.

Chesterman dismissed the notion of a HECS-style payback scheme, something federal sports minister Peter Dutton last week discussed on radio.

"You cannot put a price on the cost of a medal," Chesterman said. "The idea of athletes paying HECS has been floated. This is not new. The vast majority of athletes live off the smell of an oily rag and they are chasing their Olympic team with only base support outside family and friends. Some are on a scholarship, but that covers costs only.

"I don't think asking them to pay HECS is justified."

This story Brockhoff rant hurt Pullin: Boss first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.