On Friday evening Kitty Chiller, Australia’s chef de mission, announced that Emma McKeon will take part in the closing ceremonies in Rio. Both McKeon and Josh Palmer were barred from participating in the closing ceremonies by the Australian Olympic Committee on Thursday for breaching their safety protocol a punishment that Swimming Australia supported.
In a statement released early on Saturday, Chiller says that she had received an apology in the form of a letter from McKeon, “She understands how she placed herself in jeopardy and all I was ever trying to do was protect Emma and the 420 other athletes in our team.”
“Based on the content and tone of her letter and my conversation with her, I am satisfied that she does now understands what she has done and she is apologetic.”
Chiller’s decision came after a 24 hour period where she and the AOC had been highly criticized for the extent of the punishment that they had given to McKeon. As we reported earlier in the day Melanie (Schlanger) Wright had put together an online petition that had over 18,000 supporters at the time that the AOC had decided to reverse their decision.
Wonderful news to hear @emma_mckeon reinstated. Thankyou AOC & Kitty. I have no doubt it was Emma’s character that ultimately convinced them
— Melanie Wright OAM (@mel_wright) August 19, 2016
In the article Chiller states that her decision had nothing to do with public pressure, but that it was McKeon’s apology that convinced her to reverse her decision, “It is not a capitulation towards anything,” said Chiller.
“I am aware of the criticism from people in Australia … They are not in Rio. Rio is a very different city to Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane. It is a dangerous city. Rio is a different city. That night could have ended in tragedy for Emma.”