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Volume 6 No. 212


Australia swimming's men's 4x100m will hold a press conference on Friday afternoon at which they are "expected to reveal explosive details about their behaviour, including the use of prescription drugs," in the lead-up to the London Games, according to Stathi Paxinos of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The revelations are expected to be the "first stage of Australian swimming's apology in the aftermath of this week's damning reports into the sport." It would be the first episode of "naming and shaming following the reports that outlined a catalogue of problems within Swimming Australia and its Olympic campaign." The reports included "chronic mismanagement and favouritism, cases of bullying, abuse of prescription drugs, drunkenness and swimmers failing to remain in the stands to support teammates" (SMH, 2/22).

GETTING THE STORY STRAIGHT: In Brisbane, Phelps & Balym reported six relay swimmers held a teleconference Thursday with Swimming Australia. It was uncertain, which "allegations they would confess to." The Australian Olympic Committee "will be taking a keen interest in any admissions" Friday, particularly what is said about the behavior toward the female athletes and any use of Stilnox, which had been banned by the entire Olympic team (COURIER-MAIL, 2/22). Also in Brisbane, Todd Balym reported Olympic swimmer Jade Neilsen "has spoken out about Australian Swimming's night of shame, accusing three members of the men's 4x100m freestyle relay team of 'inappropriate behaviour'" toward her and a female roommate. Neilsen and her roommate at the team staging camp in Manchester, England "were awoken by late night phone calls, door knocking and disruptive behaviour by James Magnussen, James Roberts and Cameron McEvoy." Neilsen said, "I will confirm that they were being inappropriate. I won't specifically say (what happened)" (COURIER-MAIL, 2/22).

TIME TO HEAL: The AFP reported Australian swimmer Libby Trickett Wednesday "called for healing within the sport after reports exposed a 'toxic' atmosphere at the London Olympics including drunkenness, deceit and bullying." Trickett welcomed the news that officials "would further investigate allegations against the team, including that some athletes misused prescription drugs as a prank in London" (AFP, 2/21).

Officials from 10 of the world's top wrestling nations including Japan will meet Wednesday in Iran "in a bid to reverse" the IOC's decision to drop wrestling from the 2020 Games, according to KYODO. Delegations from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Georgia, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, the U.S., Russia and Turkey "will gather to discuss how to reverse the IOC's decision" (KYODO, 2/20). THE HINDU reported India's Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has urged six-time Olympian and Asian Games gold medalist, Randhir Singh, who is an IOC member, "to take up the case of wrestling" with the IOC exec board. The aim is to "ensure its retention in the core group of sports for the Olympics in 2020." In a letter to the IOC member, Secretary of Sports Pradeep Kumar Deb "emphasised the government’s belief that the exclusion of wrestling from 25 core sports needed to be reconsidered" (THE HINDU, 2/20).

The first meeting of the Madrid 2020 Bid Consortium confirmed that companies supporting the city's bid can take advantage of tax relief. The relief can be as much as 15% of advertising costs and comes as a result of the Spanish government declaring the Madrid bid "an event of exceptional public interest" (Madrid 2020). ... India's junior fencing team "will not be able to participate" in the Asian Junior & Cadet Championship scheduled to be held in Thailand under national flag "owing to IOC's ban on India and this move could also hit the progress of the game as government may stop funding" (PTI, 2/21).