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The 2012 Team Australia News and Hospitality Thread

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  • 3 weeks later...
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Australian sports minister rows in GB kit after losing Olympic medals bet


LONDON - Australia's sports minister Kate Lundy carried out an embarrassing forfeit Sunday after losing an Olympic wager with her British counterpart.

Lundy donned a British team kit and rowed 1,000 metres of the London Games course on Dorney Lake, as she had pledged to do if Britain won more medals than Australia during the Olympics.

Britain took 65 medals, including 29 gold, while Australia collected 35 medals with 7 gold.

Crowds cheered Lundy, a former rower, as she took to the water in a single scull to carry out her forfeit.

"It's a fantastic opportunity. I'm very grateful to the minister for suggesting this should be my ritual humiliation," Lundy said after completing the task.

Had Britain fallen short, sports minister Hugh Robertson had promised to wear an Australian field hockey uniform and dribble a ball around Australia House, the country's official government residence in London.

"I'd rather not use the word humiliation. There was a bet and a forfeit and we both wanted to pick a sport we were familiar with," said Robertson, who was on hand to watch Lundy.


LOL - I like the new forfeits for the traditional bet - I seem to remember the bet used to be only for a case of champagne.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Pranks plague men's swim team as bully claims emerge

Swimming Australia will launch an investigation into the culture of the national swimming team after allegations surfaced of bullying, favouritism and disturbing pranks that undermined the team's morale as it prepared for the London Olympics, according to a report.

The Swimming Australia board will meet today to appoint a review panel as allegations emerged of behavioural issues, including pranks carried out during the team's training camp for the London Games, according to News Limited.

Team insiders told The Australian newspaper that senior members of the men's 4 x 100m freestyle relay team, favoured to win gold in London but which emerged without a medal, devised an "initiation ritual" that involved taking the controversial sleeping tablet Stilnox on a bonding night during the swimming team's preparation camp in Manchester.

Members of the relay team also reportedly upset their teammates and coaches at the camp on July 20 by knocking on their doors and making prank calls late at night.

Some members of the six-man relay team - consisting of Eamon Sullivan, Matt Targett, James Magnussen, James Roberts , Tommaso D'Orsogna and Cameron McEvoy - also reportedly received special treatment and misbehaving members went unpunished, anonymous sources told the newspaper.

Several of the swimmers contacted by the newspaper admitted that they had misbehaved on the night, but none admitted to taking Stilnox, which was banned from the Australian Olympic team.

The Australian swimming team in London won just one gold medal, in the women's 4 x 100 metres freestyle relay, Australia's worst haul since 1992 in Barcelona, and the first time since the 1976 Montreal Games the nation has not won an individual gold medal.

Other disturbing allegations of ill-discipline among the team include claims that two male swimmers kept the body hair they shaved off before competition and scattered it in the beds and bags of other swimmers.

One of the youngest team members was allegedly bullied by older team members, while team morale was reportedly so low that some swimmers were pleased when the men's 4 x 100m relay team failed to win a medal.

Brenton Rickard, Olympic medallist and president of the Australian Swimmers Association, told The Australian that he had personally spoken to 90 per cent of the 44-member London team, and was "alarmed and disheartened by the feedback".

One anonymous international swimmer claimed that the team spirit had been deteriorating since 2009, attributing it to poor leadership from the Swimming Australia board and head coach Leigh Nugent.

Nugent refused to comment on the claims to the newspaper.

Swimming Australia and the Australian Swimmers Association have been contacted for comment.

Brisbane Times

And this is on top of Darcy's and Monk's transgressions.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Distance great Perkins to review Aussie Olympic flop

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia's top sports authority has chosen double Olympic gold medallist Kieren Perkins to be part of a review panel charged with probing the national swim team's flop at the London Games amid reports of bullying and disharmony away from the pool.

Australian swimmers delivered their worst Olympic performance for 20 years in London, failing to win an individual title and ending up with one relay gold, six silver and three bronze medals.

Swimming Australia quickly announced it would conduct a root-and-branch review, but that was taken out of their hands in the wake of accusations of favouritism and 'schoolboy pranks' that rocked the well-funded sport's establishment.

In addition to Perkins, who won the 1,500 metres freestyle gold at the 1992 Barcelona Games and at Atlanta in 1996, the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) said it had also named eight-times Olympic swimming medallist Petria Thomas to the panel.

The ASC holds the purse strings for government funding of sports Down Under.

The high-powered panel, chaired by former ASC Chairman Wawrick Smith and which includes Australian Institute of Sport Director Matt Favier, would also include business consultant and former Commonwealth Games swimmer Tim Ford, the ASC said in a statement on its website (www.ausport.gov.au).


Apart from analysing the sport's resource management and talent development programmes, the panel would also interview coaches and swimmers about "current team culture, relevant competitor country analysis and the impact of social media on athlete preparations," the ASC said.

Australia's swim team was dogged by criticism well before the athletes hit the London pool, with Swimming Australia panned by local media for financing the Olympic comeback bids of Ian Thorpe and a number of other ageing former champions.

The team was further slammed for selecting butterfly specialist Nick D'Arcy, who was ordered by a court last year to pay damages for causing severe facial injuries to an Australian Commonwealth Games swimmer when he punched him at a bar in 2008.

D'Arcy, who avoided payment by declaring bankruptcy, was later embroiled in another scandal when pictures of he and Olympic team mate Kenrick Monk toting firearms at a U.S. gun shop were posted on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The most angst was reserved for the team's performance in the pool, however, with particular focus on 100 freestyle world champion James Magnussen and his 4x100 freestyle relay team mates.

Favourites to win both titles, Magnussen was pipped for gold while the relay team finished outside of the medals. All were later swept up in allegations of disruptive behaviour during pre-Olympic training in Manchester.

A number of swimmers have since spoken out about a lack of team cohesion and morale in London with one of the relay members admitting to late-night hi-jinks in Manchester, including prank phone calls and banging on hotel room doors.

Reports also emerged of an incident of bullying within the team, with one rookie swimmer allegedly slapped and taunted over his physique by more senior team mates.

The ASC said procedures would be put in place by the panel to ensure views could be "submitted confidentially", and that it expected the review to be completed before the first quarter of 2013 ahead of annual funding allocations.


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  • 2 months later...

No doubt swimming is traditionally one of Australia's most powerful Olympic sports but the group drawn critique for winning one gold, six silver and three bronze medals in London.The Australia group has also been criticised for its performances at the velodrome, having so far won just silver in the gents group desire and bronze in the females group dash.

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High achievers to get Olympic Games cash, non-performers to miss out

THE fallout from Australia's disappointing London Olympic campaign will become a financial reality for athletes tomorrow when the Australian Sports Commission announces a radical plan to rectify our slide down the medal table.

In the countdown to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, not everyone will be happy.

News Ltd can reveal the ASC, the organisation charged with distributing government funding, will unveil a plan that favours high achieving individual athletes or sports that have genuine medal chances.

Sports that didn't aim up in London will have their budgets slashed - while the better performers will be the financial winners.

Sailing, rowing, track cycling, canoe/kayak and gymnastics will be the big winners - while the sports under pressure include equestrian, taekwondo, triathlon, weight lifting, wrestling, beach volleyball and boxing.

And while Australia's swimming team was largely canned for under-performing in London, the expectation before the Games was for 11 medals and they finished with 10 - so swimming will retain similar levels of funding.

The ASC has called a press conference for tomorrow to make the announcement.

A source last night said: "They are going to say here is a certain amount of money but you are going to have to jump through a certain amount of hoops to keep getting that amount of money.

"They are going to make the sports much more accountable and keep a much closer eye on how they spend the money."

That will include an emphasis on high performance, coaching and sports science that have all suffered in the years since the highs of the Sydney 2000 Games.

After winning 58 medals in Sydney, Australia finished with 50 in Athens and 46 in Beijing. But in London, Australia came home with just 35 medals all up including seven gold, 16 silver and 12 bronze.

That had Australia placed 10th on the overall medal table and behind New Zealand on a per capita basis.

The government grants about $170 million a year to sport with Olympic sports getting about $120 million.

Previously, the ASC used a scattergun approach to funding, and while the biggest sports always got the bulk of the cash the little sports were never totally ignored.

But post-London that will change with "target funding" the new buzz phrase in the countdown to Rio.

AOC boss John Coates said, in the wake of London, that he was happy with the funding provided by the government but money needed to be spent more wisely in the future.

The AOC has set itself a top-five finish on the medal table in Rio for gold and overall where it is aiming to send 480 athletes - up from the 410 in London.

Courier Mail

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  • 2 months later...

First report in today...Press conference involving the Mens Relay Team doesn't make for an easy road ahead for the panel.

Prescription drug taking, larrakin antics and unprofessional attitudes paint a picture of a rated team totally out of control, with the end result of epic faliure.

The team admitted to crank calls to fellow swim team members, door knocking and dorm rampageing. More disturbing actions such as harrasing the women team members and most frightening of all the dangerous use of prescription drug and energy drink mixing are to go to a higher authority for investigation.

This team was a medal chance, but didn't even rank...

...It must be a Gen Y thing.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Swim coach Nugent to be sacked after disaster of London Games

AUSTRALIA'S head swimming coach, Leigh Nugent, is set to be sacked following Australia's troubled campaign at the London Olympic Games.

News Limited newspapers report today that Nugent's dismissal by Swimming Australia could be announced today or tomorrow.


has faced claims that he ignored complaints that members of Australia's

men's 4x100 relay team had harassed female swimmers at the Games, where

the Australian swim team performed poorly. The reports say the Swimming

Australia board told Nugent at a meeting in Melbourne on Monday that he

would be removed from his position.

Nugent's dismissal would

make him the highest-profile scalp following two damning reports which

were handed down last month into Australia's performance in London.


move comes amid major changes at the top of Swimming Australia with

former British Swimming chief Michael Scott expected to be installed in a

new position of high-performance director next week. Scott is a former

director of the Australian Institute of Sport. It was unclear last night

why Nugent had been sacked.

Meanwhile, the Australian Sports Commission is taking a carrot and

stick approach to ensuring the seven leading Olympic sports comply with

new governance principles by year's end.

The ASC has warned that

swimming, athletics, cycling, sailing, rowing, hockey and basketball

could face a funding cut of up to 20 per cent if they fail to comply

before the 2014 funding review in 12 months.

But it is also

dangling a $5 million fund in front of them if they produce innovative

programs, particularly in talent identification and high-performance

leadership development.

Those sports contacted yesterday are

confident they can comply with the now mandatory governance principles

for sports receiving more than $5m a year in federal funding.


national body must become a company limited by guarantee and observe

accepted corporate practices in board structures and financial


Additionally, the sports are advised to "seek to

achieve a target of 40 per cent female representation" on boards by

2015, and adopt sports science best-practice principles. The board of

each sport will have "a positive obligation to inform themselves about

sports science practices and to supervise them in a manner consistent"

with anti-doping policies.

That obligation has clearly been added

because of the Australian Crime Commission report into doping, and the

ongoing investigation of sports science practices in AFL and NRL clubs

by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.


Australia chief executive Dallas O'Brien said that his organisation had

already established an integrity unit to keep watch over sports science

practices and its governance regulations only needed "tweaking" to

comply with ASC requirements.

The sport that may have most work to do is traditional pacesetter swimming, following its fall from grace in the past year.


is a vacuum in leadership in Swimming Australia's Canberra office,

following the departure of key staff last year, none of whom have been


The absence of anyone in authority was apparent last weekend during the NSW championships.


than half the Olympic team competed but with Nugent also absent, there

was no one to provide leadership above the swimmers' personal coaches.

The Australian

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