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SBD Global/November 20, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Australian Olympic Committee Allows Alcohol For Athletes But Bans Inebriation

The Australian Olympic Committee on Tuesday said that "athletes will be allowed to consume alcohol at upcoming Games but swaying, staggering, and having rambling conversations will not be tolerated," according to the AFP. AOC President John Coates set out the new team rules in a position statement sent to all national governing bodies of Olympic sports, "driven by a tumultuous period for swimming after the London Games in 2012, which were marred by ill-discipline, drug use and drunkenness." Coates said, "These restrictions have been implemented to ensure that Australia's Olympic athletes are given the opportunity to compete to the best of their ability and with distinction" (AFP, 11/19). The AAP's Joe Barton wrote despite insisting the new guidelines are not a reaction to the London incidents, 2016 Australian Olympic Team Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller said that "it was all about removing anti-social behaviour which can hinder the performances of their teammates." Chiller said, "It's totally about respect. It's about respect for the coat of arms that we wear. It's about respect for the green and gold." Under the rules to apply at both Summer and Winter Games, team members "are not permitted to be present in the Olympic Village or other team locations if intoxicated and displaying inappropriate or disruptive conduct" (AAP, 11/19).

DRINK RESPONSIBLY: REUTERS' Martyn Herman wrote before listing a range of behavior that would be frowned upon, a statement said, "Team members are permitted to consume alcohol responsibly." The statement said that "being disorderly or argumentative, being bad tempered, swaying or falling down, talking boisterously, having rambling conversations and annoying fellow team members would all result in possible disciplinary action." No alcohol "will be permitted in the Olympic Village or on the return flight to Australia following the Games" (REUTERS, 11/19). In Sydney, Nicole Jeffery wrote the AOC insisted it was not the "fun police." Chiller: "It's not about a ban on alcohol, it's not about stopping celebrations -- it's about providing a totally 100 percent high-performance focused environment. We are not the fun police. This is about recommending the responsible consumption of alcohol and ensuring no other athlete in the village is disrupted by the irresponsible consumption of alcohol by other team members who have finished competing." Chiller said that the AOC would not have officials policing the entrance to the Olympic village looking for intoxicated athletes, "but would act on reports of disruption and apply sanctions if necessary." For serious offenses, "these could include sending athletes home" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 11/20).
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