Australian papers are reporting that Nick D’Arcy has been cleared by the Australian Olympic Committee to participate in this summer’s Olympic Games, provided he qualifies.
This would avoid a third-straight major championship absence from a man who just might be one of the best 200 butterfliers we’ve never seen.
D’Arcy’s eligibility was called into question after he filed for bankruptcy in December. He was ordered to pay former national teamer Simon Cowley $180,000 in damages over an infamous brawl that happened in 2008 where D’Arcy shattered Cowley’s face in a brawl. D’Arcy was celebrating his appointment to the Australian Olympic squad at a bar, and though the two sides have never agreed on the details, Cowley apparently told D’Arcy to calm down, perhaps with gentle chaps to his cheeks. D’Arcy perceived this as an assault, to which he responded by landing a crushing blow to Cowley’s face that has required multiple reconstructive surgeries.
As a result of the incident, D’Arcy was kept out of both the 2008 Olympics and the 2009 World Championships. He failed to make the 2011 World Championship squad as a result of an injury preventing his participation in the Australian trials.
Now, the AOC, following the lead of Swimming Australia, has said that D’Arcy will remain eligible for the 2012 Australian Olympic squad, despite filing for bankruptcy to avoid paying the settlement.
This is the second controversial decision in recent months where Swimming Australia has supported its athletes’ continued participation in the face of controversial behavior. Their recommendation was alleged to have a heavy influence on Kenrick Monk’s light punishment for filing false police reports late last year.
D’Arcy peaked in 2010 with the 3rd-best 200 fly time in the world of 1:54.61. After battling injury, and without a true championship to focus on, he ranked only 10th in the event in 2011.