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An Olympic-sized apology?


David Polkinghorne

Libby Trickett at Sporting Shooter Pistol Club in Canberra in September 2007.

Libby Trickett at Sporting Shooter Pistol Club in Canberra in September 2007. Photo: Andrew Taylor

Under-siege swimmer Kenrick Monk has defended his controversial photo with Nick D’Arcy as ‘‘just a bit of fun’’ after the pair met with Swimming Australia officials in Brisbane today.

The Australian Olympic Committee  will allow the duo to swim at the London Olympic Games, but they will be sent home straight after they’ve finished competing.

Monk said he would ‘‘just have to live’’ with the Australian Olympic Committee’s decision.

Emily Seebohm, Libby Trickett and Alice Mills at Sporting Shooter Pistol Club in Canberra in September 2007.

Emily Seebohm, Libby Trickett and Alice Mills at Sporting Shooter Pistol Club in Canberra in September 2007. Photo: Karleen Williams

In a statement, Swimming Australia re-affirmed  its support of the Australian Olympic Committee’s decision.

When asked whether the door was open for the punishment to be overturned Monk replied, ‘‘Yes and no’’.

He added that he wouldn’t be using any social media in the lead up to the Olympics after the pair got in trouble for posting a photo of themselves on Twitter and Facebook posing with guns in a California gun shop.

‘‘[Swimming Australia] totally agreed with us that it was a bit of fun, it was just basically putting the photo up on Facebook [that was the problem],’’ Monk said.

‘‘The two weeks the Olympics is on we’ll be using no social media networks, but I’ve said to myself I’ll not be using it at all now leading into London.’’

D’Arcy and Monk removed the photo as soon as the scandal erupted.

They met with Swimming Australia president David Urquhart and chief executive Kevin Neil today.

‘‘They showed poor judgement in posting what we saw as inappropriate photos, in which they appear to be skylarking with guns while in the US last week,’’  Neil said in a statement.

‘‘While what the boys did was not illegal, posting the photos on social networks encourages public debate, and that debate can be seen to have a negative impact on the image of the sport and their own image.’’

Earlier today the Australian Olympic Committee stood by its punishment of the pair after revelations emerged that Swimming Australia had  organised team bonding sessions at a Canberra rifle range.

A photo of Libby Trickett firing a vintage pistol at a Swimming Australia camp from 2007 emerged last night, taken when the entire squad was at the Sporting Shooter Pistol Club in Majura.

Despite the photos of Trickett and her teammates with guns, the Australian Olympic Committee released a statement this morning saying the images have ‘‘absolutely no bearing on the decision’’ it made.

Monk also attended the gun club on a bonding session.

‘‘Kenrick Monk and Nick D’Arcy have been sanctioned by the AOC for breaching their Team Agreement as members of the 2012 Australian Olympic Team,’’ the statement said.

‘‘The Canberra gun range visit was an initiative of Swimming Australia.

‘‘It had nothing to do with the AOC. It was 2007, they were not members of any Olympic Team at that time.

‘‘It has absolutely no bearing on the decision taken by the AOC at the weekend.’’

11 comments so far

  • This whole subject is the most stupid beat up ever by the news services, the AOC and some whingeing whining members of the public. The two swimmers were persecuted for gross double standards that currently prevail throughout the community and the "standard setters", whoever they claim to be, should shut up and mind their own business until laws are broken or the safe handling of a weapon becomes illegal everywhere. If there is a genuine attempt ban anything to do with guns then the Shooting team should be immediately dropped and the use of firearms banned everywhere and for all Australians. The current double standards that apply in this country is exceeded only by the stupidity of our sports administrators who jump on the bandwagon when they have some loudmouths aim criticism at them and then make decisions which in hindsight demonstrate their immaturity and susceptibility to pressure group manipulation. Let's start operating under the law and not by the court of minority public opinion.

    Date and time
    June 11, 2012, 8:57AM
    • What a bunch of geese the AOC are , egg on their once smug faces anyone??

      shoot em up
      Date and time
      June 11, 2012, 9:18AM
      • I agree with Colin, things have gone too far. We expect our athletes to be angels and not have a life. Just train, perform and go home. Sure we don't want bad behaviour but everyone wants to let their hair down and have some fun.

        These athletes perhaps should just setup their Facebook accounts to only allow close friends to see what they post and not give the people who like to judge others harshly any ammunition.

        Date and time
        June 11, 2012, 9:20AM
        • What a pack of fools Swim Australia are, I mean really what are they on about? who runs Swim Australia? the Media? the crazy anti-gunners? Swimming Pools kill hundreds every year yet no seems to care who poses with pool close at hand!

          Major Payne
          Out Back
          Date and time
          June 11, 2012, 10:39AM
          • The photo is not offensive, but the fact Darcy seems to have evaded his responsibilities toward the athlete he assaulted, is. I am appalled he is able to say he represents Australia.

            Date and time
            June 11, 2012, 10:56AM
            • Immediately following the new report on the facebook photo the Olympic shooting team was announced.... does that bring the entire olympic movement into disrepute?

              This 'story' was one big over-reaction. Do I think it is silly to take and post the photo - yes - am i appalled/ repulsed and now have a dim view of swimming or the team?

              They did nothing illegal and did not hurt anyone. The only people to look really out of step was the anti-gun lobby and swimming Australia.

              Spin Sick
              Date and time
              June 11, 2012, 11:08AM
              • Swim Australia are hypocrites. If D'Arcy & Monk were in Paris, they would pose with the Eiffel Tower. They are in America so they pose with guns. They are doing normal tourist things.

                Date and time
                June 11, 2012, 11:33AM
                • The comments so far are the usual libertarian calls that we see on these fora and on talkback: if it's legal then it must be good and anyone who says otherwise is some kind of commie/wowser/environmentalist loony who has no idea of how to 'let their hair down and have fun'.

                  These are not just fast swimmers, they are privileged people who are heavily supported by their communities to look for personal sporting glory, and who know full well they are role models to others. They may work very hard and make sacrifices sure, but these people are not on an altruistic crusade and there should be strings attached to their public support.

                  More deeply, I have never understood why we Australians are so forgiving in the name of 'boys will be boys'...

                  One of the swimmers already has a public finding of violence against him and should know a lot better than to do anything that looks like he thinks violence is acceptable and cool.

                  I have a young son and am very keen not to engage in such pathetic cop outs because I don't think he'll learn to be responsible if he can just excuse any thoughtless conduct as the kind of thing that everyone says members of his gender will invariably do. He will get some lattitude for misplaced enthusiasm, but he won't be allowed a standing excuse merely by being able to point to his XY chromosomes and his age. He'll be expected to show care and judgement, even in carrying out legal activity.

                  But I fear that I am out of touch with modern Australia with its far too aggressive libertarianism. Poor old leftie dinosaur, find me a tar pit and put me out of my misery!

                  Bill Bosworth
                  Date and time
                  June 11, 2012, 11:46AM
                  • Oh, please AOC - get a life. So if they were in Uluru and posed near a great big rock, they'd be what, racist? Please, nothing to see here, just move along.

                    Date and time
                    June 11, 2012, 12:33PM
                    • The names of all eleven of those gun-toting shooters have been noted, and I won't be buying any products they endorse.
                      Can't have it both ways, AOC

                      Date and time
                      June 11, 2012, 1:29PM

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