The president of the Australian Olympic committee has stoked the rivalry between his nation's athletes and Team GB by effectively describing Britain as a nation of soap-dodging losers.
Britain is targeting Australia's typical fourth place at the 2012 Games, to be hosted in London. Overtaking the Antipodeans here would show that is a realistic goal, not a pipedream. Australia's sports minister Kate Ellis has even challenged her counterpart Gerry Sutcliffe to a bet on which country will be better in Beijing.
Coates weighed in yesterday, albeit good-humouredly. Asked if he was surprised by Britain's good start here, including Rebecca Adlington's gold in the pool, said: "Great Britain may have been in lane seven and eight but, um, they seem to be getting there for a country that has very few swimming pools and not much soap."