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SBD Global/March 7, 2013/Olympics

Australian Swim Scandal Will Impact AOC's Ability To Raise Sponsorships For 2016 Olympics

The Australian Crime Commission's report on doping may have tarnished Australian sport's int'l reputation, but Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates believes that swimming's Stilnox scandal "will have a greater impact on his organisation's ability to raise sponsorship to support the 2016 Olympic team," according to Nicole Jeffery of THE AUSTRALIAN. Coates said that he "had a lot of explaining to do" when he attended the IOC's exec board meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland last month because the claim that doping was widespread in the major professional sports in Australia "had been misinterpreted as applying to all sport." Coates said, "I got a lot of questions, but I was certainly able to explain it." But Coates is more concerned about the AOCs reputation in the domestic commercial market as a result of behavioral issues at the London Olympics, primarily in the swimming team. He said, "Our sponsors know we take a very strong position on doping ... But certainly some of the behavior aspects of the swimmers, and there was a rower, too, who was sent home, are going to cause some problems" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 3/6).

STAYING TOUGH: REUTERS' Nick Mulvenney reported Coates, who will be looking to raise A$40.2M ($41.13M) through marketing ahead of the next Summer Olympics in Brazil in '14, said that "one sponsor had called to congratulate the AOC on the hard line" it was taking on the matter. While Stilnox was very publicly prohibited by the AOC in the lead-up to the Games because of its side-effects, "it is not banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency" code. Coates said, "The unwashed public out there tend to group it all together as the same. I bet you there's a lot of people in England and places that are salivating. Our friendly rivals" (REUTERS, 3/6).
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