AUS Sprinters Get Deferred Bans & Fines
Apr 19, 2013 - Craig Lord
Members of the Australian men's 4x100 metres freestyle relay team at the centre of the Stilnox sleep-aid saga and behavioural issues have received deferred suspensions and will be "required to make payments" to Swimming Australia.
The penalties follow inquiry and a Swimming Australia Integrity Panel report into the behaviour of the sprinters and the use of the prescription drug Stilnox during the pre-Games camp in Manchester last year.
All six members of the men's 4x100 metres freestyle relay team in London - James Magnussen, Tommaso D'Orsogna, Cameron McEvoy, Eamon Sullivan, Matt Targett and James Roberts, "failed to demonstrate the level of conduct required" of members of the team, the report concluded.
The Australian Olympic Committee is expected to make the nature of the fines public, according to reports Down Under.
In February, all but Roberts publicly admitted taking Stilnox as part of a bonding exercise in Manchester. All six admitted to pranks, such as door-knocking, that disturbed teammates. The sleep-aid was banned by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) weeks before the London Games over fears of dependency.
All but Sullivan, taking a competitive break, at due to race at Australian trials for the FINA World Championships when action gets underway in Adelaide next week.
Swimming Australia president Barclay Nettlefold said the organisation will continue to assist the Australian Olympic Committee in their investigation if required. “We believe these athletes showed poor judgement in their actions and behaviour, and such behaviour is unacceptable for members of the Australian Swim Team,” said Nettlefold. "We have taken many steps towards developing a more positive culture within the team and the organisation already this year, and we’re confident we are heading in the right direction.”
The swim federation issued the following statement today:
Swimming Australia has finalised its Integrity Panel Report following allegations of inappropriate behaviour and has now presented that report to the Australian Olympic Committee for further consideration.
As a result of the Swimming Australia Integrity Panel report, six athletes will be required to make payments to Swimming Australia and will receive deferred suspensions for breaches of their behavioural obligations.
The Integrity Panel investigated allegations of inappropriate behaviour and misuse of prescription drugs by members of the Australian Swim Team during the Staging Camp in Manchester last year.
The Panel found that the six members of the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay team in London failed to demonstrate the level of conduct required of members of the Team by either:
i. the inappropriate distribution and or use of the prescription drug Stilnox;
ii. participating in a bonding session that resulted in prank telephone calls and door knocking to fellow Team members in the late hours of the evening; and
iii. general misbehaviour.
The Integrity Panel also investigated allegations of drunkenness but found no evidence to sanction any athlete, coach or team official in relation to alcohol use during the Staging Camp and swimming component of the Olympic Games.
Allegations of bullying within the Team at the Staging Camp and during the Games were also investigated by the Panel, however no formal complaints were made to the Panel during the investigation and no recommendations of sanctions in that regard were made to the Board.
The Panel also looked into an allegation of inappropriate behaviour by a team member towards another team member in January, and upon consideration of the Panel’s findings the Board has issued a reprimand to the athlete concerned.
Swimming Australia President Barclay Nettlefold said the organisation will continue to assist the Australian Olympic Committee in their investigation if required, as they work towards developing the right culture and ethical framework to enable athletes and coaches to perform at their best.
“We believe these athletes showed poor judgement in their actions and behaviour, and such behaviour is unacceptable for members of the Australian Swim Team,” said Nettlefold.
“We have taken many steps towards developing a more positive culture within the team and the organisation already this year, and we’re confident we are heading in the right direction.”
Swimming Australia will be making no further comment on the matter.