[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

'Toxic' environment in Aussie Olympics team

Review of problem-plagued 2012 Olympics swim team details bullying, breaching curfews and misuse of prescription drugs.
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2013 12:12
Australia won 10 swimming medals in the 2012 London Olympics [Getty]

A review into the Australian swimming team's performance at the London Olympics has detailed a “toxic'' environment including misuse of prescription drugs and bullying.

Australia's only swimming gold medal at the London 2012 Games was in the women's 4x100-meter freestyle relay, with the high-profile men's relay and world champion James Magnussen failing to deliver on expectations from a country which prides itself on his performances in the Olympic pool.

Australia won 10 swimming medals overall, including six silver and three bronze. It was Australia's worst Olympic swimming performance in two decades.

The problem-plagued squad has been the subject of two reviews, including the Bluestone Review released on Tuesday which outlined the “culturally toxic incidents'' and the “lack of collective leadership'' in response.

The independent review noted cases of “getting drunk, misuse of prescription drugs, breaching curfews, deceit [and] bullying'."

“Situations were left to bleed,'' the report said, adding that swimmers felt alone and alienated and described their London experience as the “lonely Olympics.''

The swim team entered the London Games amid reports of pranks at a lead-in camp, with allegations that senior members of the men's 4x100 freestyle relay team devised an initiation ritual involving taking the prescription sleeping pill Stillnox on a bonding night.

'Consider sanctions'

The review recommended multifaceted leadership development of athletes and coaches.

“Before we look at winning gold medals, we want to win back the admiration of the nation, and we want to engage with our swimming community like never before at every level,'' Swimming Australia president Barclay Nettlefold said in a statement.

“It has been a time of reflection and review and a time to be honest and open about how we can make the right steps towards future success,” Nettefold said.

Any athletes who used prescription sedatives during the London Games faced sanctions from the Australian Olympic Committee.

Swimming Australia “has indicated they will investigate the possible misuse of prescription drugs including Stilnox by members of the swim team,'' AOC president John Coates said.

“The use of those drugs being a breach of (Australian) team policy. If the claims are substantiated and the individuals involved are identified, the AOC will consider their conduct ... and consider sanctions.''

363

Source:
AP
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.