Australian Swim Team Braces For More Fallout After Magnussen Does TV Interview
Leading officials "are bracing for further fallout from the Stilnox scandal" Monday in the wake of world 100m freestyle champion James Magnussen's decision to do a TV interview that aired Sunday night, according to Nicole Jeffery of THE AUSTRALIAN. Magnussen and his five teammates in the Australian 4x100m freestyle team "agreed last week to make a collective confession of their sins, admitting they had taken the banned prescription drug Stilnox as part of a 'bonding exercise.'" They issued a joint statement at a press conference on Friday acknowledging that "they took the hypnotic drug and some of them then engaged in misbehaviour, including prank calls and door-knocking, which disturbed their teammates at their pre-Olympic camp in Manchester," England (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/25). In Brisbane, Todd Balym reported Magnussen's remarks "will be fiercely tested at swimming's integrity panel, with The Courier-Mail aware of at least one senior female willing to testify against the relay team's behaviour stemming from incidents just last month." She claims "to have been pushed out of an elevator by one of the relay men at a race meet in Perth and is aware of bullying of a teenage swimmer at an event camp on the Gold Coast, also last month" (COURIER-MAIL, 2/25). Also in Brisbane, Balym reported Australian swim team head coach Leigh Nugent "is a man in hiding." Attempts to reach Nugent, to explain his many failings as the leader of the London Olympic squad, "remain unreturned." Nugent "has not been sighted publicly since the damning reviews into Australian swimming were revealed this week and was a notable absentee when the men's relay team confessed their sins on Friday." It is believed that Nugent "is losing the support of his fellow coaches by the day" (COURIER-MAIL, 2/24).