Fri, Sep 14, 2012 - Page 18 News List

Veteran Olympian criticizes Aussie behavior

AFP, SYDNEY

Australian swimmer Libby Trickett disembarks at the Sydney Domestic Airport on Aug. 15.

Photo: AFP

The behavior of some members of Australia’s London Olympic men’s swimming team was “childish,” veteran swimmer Libby Trickett said yesterday, amid accusations of disciplinary problems and pranks.

Australia endured its worst swimming haul in decades in London, winning just one gold medal, six silver and three bronze for its lowest tally in the pool since Barcelona in 1992.

The lacklustre performance, in which Australia failed to pick up a single individual swimming gold medal for the first time since the 1976 Montreal Games, is being considered as part of an independent review of the sport.

Reports Wednesday claimed some members of the six-man freestyle relay team had an initiation ritual in the days leading up to the Games that involved taking Stilnox — a sleeping medication banned by the Australian team.

There are also claims of swimmers upsetting teammates and coaches by prank calling and knocking on their doors late at night at their camp in Manchester, two days before the team went to London.

“I did hear about the knocking on doors and prank phone calls,” Trickett, a three-time Olympian, including in London, told reporters.

“I kind of look at this and think this is very childish. I am all for having a good time and being light-hearted, but I just think there is a time and place,” Trickett added.

Tommaso D’Orsogna, a heat swimmer for the under-fire relay team, admitted to the Ten Network they behaved more like schoolboys than Olympians.

“That kind of behavior should not be tolerated, nor should it be allowed. I can definitely confirm that there is no way that any other Australian team that went away to the Olympics would have been mucking around and doing that stuff,” he said on reflection.

D’Orsogna refused to confirm the Stilnox allegations.

“I am not going to be the guy that stands up here and lies to Australia, but at the same time I am just not going to comment,” he said.

Reports have also said there was a general feeling within the squad that some individual swimmers pursued their own aims, rather than those of the team, something D’Orsogna acknowledged.

“We are not there to win medals for ourselves and I think that is something that some people may have lost sight of more than anything,” he said.

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