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SBD Global/June 11, 2012/OlympicsPrint All
Australian swimmers Nick D'Arcy and Kenrick Monk will be sent home from the London Olympics immediately following the final day of the swimming events "as punishment for posting inappropriate images on social network sites this week," according to Dominic Bossi of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The Australian Olympic Committee has decided to send the duo back to Australia at the conclusion of their commitments in London "as a result of images posted of the two swimmers brandishing guns while competing in California a fortnight ago." D'Arcy and Monk have also been "banned from blogging and using any social media sites throughout the games, including Twitter and Facebook" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 6/10). Meanwhile, the AAP reported that by leaving early, D'Arcy and Monk have "been denied the chance to let their hair down" around fellow athletes at the Olympic Village. Australia's Team de Mission Nick Green sent a letter to both athletes explaining the decision. It read: "Given this incident and our previous discussions concerning your conduct, I now have concerns regarding your lack of judgment." Green said that the decision to allow them to compete "had nothing to do with the possibility of the pair winning medals in the pool." Green said, "This has nothing to do with medals; it is all about upholding Team values, in particular the high standards of behaviour set out by those Olympians who came before you." The duo "quickly apologised for the photos," which appeared on Facebook and Twitter before being pulled down by Swimming Australia. The 24-year-olds will meet with Swimming Australia officials next week (AAP, 6/09).
CLAIMS OF HYPOCRISY: In Melbourne, Wes Hosking reported that swimmer Eamon Sullivan "has accused Australian team officials of hypocrisy" over the gun-toting controversy because "athletes attended a shooting event in the name of team building." Sullivan "jumped to the defence" of his teammates. He told Channel 9, "They haven't really done anything wrong. Shooting is an Olympic sport -- shooters don't get in trouble for posing in their Speedos." It came as the AOC was "accused of double standards" for allowing Olympic shooter Lauryn Mark to strip down for Zoo Weekly magazine. The AOC said that it would "not stop Mark's photo shoot" (HERALD SUN, 6/11). Sullivan said that Swimming Australia took the team to a Canberra rifle range "as part of a bonding session" in '07. Sullivan argued that shooting is an Olympic sport and "shooters don't get into trouble posing in their Speedos." Also in Melbourne, David Murray reported Swimming Australia was "due to make its own judgment" after a Monday meeting (HERALD SUN, 6/11). In Sydney, Samantha Lane noted that "an embarrassing double standard has been exposed" as Swimming Australia now faces "pressure from dissenting London-bound athletes." Australian Swimmers' Association President Brenton Rickard said, "I think ultimately they look a little silly and stupid posing like tough guys in photos, but at the same time, to me, they've just participated in a legitimate pastime and unfortunately they've been portrayed in this harsh light" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 6/11). Meanwhile, Craig Christopher wrote that D'Arcy and Monk have been portrayed as "not only reactionary but mean-spirited." Also, it seems that the AOC is "not above partaking in a healthy dose of hypocrisy." Swimming Australia "took the swimming team to a gun range as part of a team-bonding exercise" prior to the 2008 Beijing Games. Apparently, "firing guns is okay, but being photographed with them is a heinous crime." The AOC "seems to be lacking the Olympic spirit and due regard for fair play" (BLEACHER REPORT.com, 6/10).
London bus workers have voted "for strike action" over what they said will be a "massive increase" in workload during the Olympic Games, according to Rose Jacobs of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The workers are "angry that transport chiefs are set to cash in" on two years of annual bonuses worth £80,000 a year on average if the system runs according to plan during the Games. More than 20,000 drivers were balloted "on whether to stop work during the Olympics if their request for extra pay is not granted." Unite, the union representing the drivers, said that this bonus would reflect "the extra work they will put in" when as many as 3 million extra people per day will use public transport (FINANCIAL TIMES, 6/9). Unite Regional Secretary for London Peter Kavanagh said, "It's a disgrace that London's mayor, Boris Johnson, and the bus companies have allowed this dispute to get this far." Kavanagh added, "Our members are only asking for an extra £17 a day, which will just about buy you a pint of beer and a portion of fish and chips at the Olympics" (BBC, 6/9). In London, Dan Milmo reports transportation officials said the union's claims were "spurious and inaccurate" because the bonus plan for directors "is not based solely on performance over the Olympics" and it's part of the executives' contracts (London GUARDIAN, 6/10).
More than 75,000 firms that helped to deliver the London Games are "fighting a 12-year gagging order preventing them from talking about the work they have done," according to Merrick & Leftly of the London INDEPENDENT. Business leaders are "trying to force" Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Jeremy Hunt and senior ministers to override IOC rules "banning marketing of their work in building the Olympic Village." The rules, which have applied to all Games in recent years, "are designed to protect the rights of high-spending sponsors during the 10 weeks of the Olympic and Paralympic Games." Yet the 12-year ban on the mostly British firms even mentioning on websites that they have supplied construction equipment, plumbing or plastic seating "makes a mockery" of claims by Prime Minister David Cameron that the Olympics will deliver a "lasting economic legacy that will benefit the whole country." Businesses have been lobbying the government and the Olympic Delivery Authority "behind the scenes" for several weeks. A review of the rules by the ODA Chair Sir John Armitt and commissioned by Hunt, is being finalized. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said the report could be published before the Games begin next month. If the Armitt report favors more lenient IOC rules, it could "force a major showdown between the government and the Olympic body" (INDEPENDENT, 6/8).
Toronto is "mulling another Olympic bid," according to Kelly Grant of THE GLOBE AND MAIL. The city council has voted to ask for a staff report on pursuing the 2024 Summer Games after Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, also a "member of the mayor's inner circle, tacked the last-minute request onto a motion to explore a bid" for the 2025 World Expo. Although Mayor Rob Ford's "lukewarm response sunk a nascent bid" for the 2020 Games, Minnan-Wong said that the mayor is "open to hearing the pros and cons of chasing" the 2024 Games. This would mark Toronto's "third shot at its Olympic dream" since losing the 1996 Games to Atlanta (THE GLOBE AND MAIL, 6/8). The CANADIAN PRESS' Colin Perkel noted that the decision to consider bidding for the 2024 Summer Olympics "was given a solid thumbs" from London Mayor Boris Johnson, whose city will host the Summer Games next month. Johnson: "Go for it, Toronto. You won't regret it if you get it" (CP, 6/10).