Fist class performance ,second class treatment ... the Opals. Photo: AFP
THE second-class treatment of Australia's female Olympic basketballers was tip-of-the-iceberg evidence of the gender discrimination that still exists in sport, which the federal Sports Minister, Kate Lundy, leaves the London Games determined to rectify.
Her claim, on the eve of the closing ceremony, that ''basketball is not alone'' came as the Opals captain and Australian team flag bearer Lauren Jackson, and her teammate Kristi Harrower, felt free to discuss the furore over the male and female teams' different travel arrangements after they completed their competition with a bronze medal.
Most of Australia's national women's team flew to London in premium economy class while their male counterparts travelled - as a general rule - in business class.
Optimistic ... Kate Lundy, Sports Minister for Australia, wants change. Photo: Getty Images
Harrower said it was time for the Women's National Basketball League to establish an active player union to work with Basketball Australia, while Jackson said she would happily brief Basketball Australia's new boss, Kristina Keneally, on how it is for women in the game.
Senator Lundy said Australian sports, despite their progress, remained guilty of ''systemic discrimination''. ''Basketball is not alone,'' she said. ''And though it's easy to point to them because of the issue of the business class travel … we have other sports that I think still have some work to do.
''Rugby is one that has an opportunity. It now enters into the Olympic family with the Sevens coming on for Rio [in 2016], and that presents a fantastic opportunity for rugby to embrace the women's game.''
Senator Lundy cited Hockey Australia as a model national federation in terms of its gender equity programs and predicted that, in the aftermath of the Olympics, she would lead ''an increased focus on the sport that women play within our Australian sports system''.
''Post-Olympics, if we're going to be genuine about building on our strengths for our next edge, women and how we support the sport that women play, will be a big part of that.''
Basketball Australia has announced a three-month review.
''There are reviews after every major tournament and it's one of those things where we're like 'here we go, we'll tell them exactly how we're feeling and see what changes','' Jackson said. ''It's on BA. There's only so much you can say or do.''
Jackson said she was optimistic with Ms Keneally at the helm: ''I think that's a huge bonus for us. I think she's very pro-women, she's pro us getting exactly what we deserve.''