The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has announced that they will be conducting their own investigation into the behaviour of James Magnussen, Eamon Sullivan, Matt Targett, Tommaso D’Orsogna and Cameron McEvoy.
“The AOC has appointed Bret Walker SC to investigate issues arising from the swimming reviews, in particular the use of Stilnox by members of the 2012 Australian Olympic Team,” the AOC said in a statement which was published in the Herald Sun.
Sydney barrister Bret Walker SC worked with the AOC in 2008 in their investigation of Nick D’Arcy who was eventually banned from competing in the Beijing Olympics after assaulting fellow Australian swimmer Simon Cowley.
The AOC’s investigation will be independent of Swimming Australia’s Integrity Panel which is being run by former Australian Rugby Union chairman Peter McGrath.
This announcement comes a day after AOC boss John Coates discussed his disappointment in the athlete’s behaviour and the impact he feels it may have on how the Australian public views the sport of swimming, “The biggest worry I have, because of swimming behavioural problems, is that the public doesn’t think as highly of our Olympic teams,” the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) President said on Wednesday.
“The last thing we want is for the mums and dads not to think of our Olympians as role models. We are trying to create greater participation in sport through our team.”
“‘Is that what happens when I send my little girl to the team or my little Johnny to the team?’ That’s what scares me.”
With both Swimming Australia and the AOC conducting thorough investigations into what happened in the lead up to the games in London Olympic Team Coach Michael Bohl told SwimSwam that Swimming Australia is taking the right action and in the end will still be seen in a positive light, “Swimming is a healthy activity that has many benefits that have contributed to the well being of many Australians young and old.”
“It has been our number one Olympic sport for many years and hopefully it will do so well into the future.”
“Australians love to swim and numbers are good in all areas of swimming – learn to swim, junior squads, competition squads are brimming with numbers across the country and I am sure swimming will remain popular in Australia.”
“We have a great history of competitive swimming in this country and the great role models that have popularised swimming in recent times – Kieran Perkins, Susie O’Neill, Ian Thorpe, Stephanie Rice, Petria Thomas, Jodie Henry, Grant Hackett and Libby Trickett and Leisel Jones – all individual Olympic Gold Medallists since 1992 ( past 20 years).”
“Swimming Australia is being pro-active in addressing issues that transpired last year and while in the short term swimming has been involved in controversy, the team will bounce back and in the long term be better for it.”