Pranks and lack of team spirit affected Australia’s Olympic swimming squad
Schoolboy pranks, overinflated egos, a lack of team unity and unrealistic expectations have been blamed for Australia’s poor showing in the Olympic swimming pool.
Australia failed to win an individual title and ended up with one relay gold, six silver and three bronze medals – their worst performance for 20 years.
Swimming Australia had already announced a review but some team members have had their say on television and the submission of head coach Leigh Nugent has been leaked.
Many of the initial reports focus on the men’s 4x100 metres relay team, who were expected to win gold but ended out of the medals. Tommaso D’Orsogna, who swam in the heats, admitted that during a pre-Games camp team members made prank telephone calls and knocked on bedroom doors.
“People are kind of saying ‘it’s just boys being boys’ but I look back on that kind of thing and maybe that would be acceptable in schoolboy rugby but this is the Australian Olympic team,” he told Channel 10.
Libby Trickett, who helped Australia to the women’s 4x100m relay gold, said the team spirit had not been the same as she had previously experienced.
“I just felt in previous years there was a more cohesive unit,” she told Fox TV.
Nugent’s report to the Swimming Australia board, leaked to the Sydney Morning Herald, said that expectations put on the team were based on “fantasy” and were “regardless of the comparative world positioning”.
D’Orsogna, meanwhile, also said he had witnessed favouritism for some of the bigger names in the team.
As for the allegation that team members had been subjected to initiation rituals involving Stilnox – a strong sedative banned by the Australian Olympic Committee just before the Games – D’Orsogna said: “I’m not going to be the guy that stands up here and lies to Australia but, at the same time, I’m just not going to comment.”
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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