Australians on Monday rose to the defence of Jessicah Schipper's coach for selling his training secrets to the trainer of the Chinese swimmers who beat her to take the gold and silver in the 200-metre butterfly final, dpa reported.
Schipper, the reigning world champion and the red hot favourite for the event, took bronze behind Liu Zige and Jiao Liuyang.
Coach Ken Wood, 78, who said he sold Schipper's training programme and dietary details for "big money" because he wanted the cash, said local coaches were underpaid and so peddled their expertise abroad.
While the tabloid newspapers pilloried Wood for being venal and unpatriotic, Australian Olympic boss John Coates defended him.
"It would be very hard for us to impose restrictions on their ability to earn a living when we don't pay them," Coates said. "Any criticism of Ken is unwarranted because Ken has to earn a living."
Sports commentators also slammed the tabloids for targeting Wood. They noted that lots of Australian athletes took up sports sponsorships at US universities and brought their training secrets back home for the benefit of other Australians.
"I haven't heard the Americans complain that foreigners are stealing their training secrets," Tracy Holmes, sports reporter with national broadcaster ABC said. She also noted that former swimmer Brett Hawke was one of many Australian coaches who had found work abroad.