Published: Feb 22, 2013 04:03:32 PM Updated: Mar 19, 2013 09:24:04 AM
Swimming Australia has today announced that the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay team will face the newly formed Integrity Panel following their admission of guilt in relation to a bonding session held in Manchester at the staging camp prior to the Olympic Games.
Following the release of the reviews earlier in the week, Swimming Australia was approached by the swimmers involved - Tommaso D’Orsogna, James Magnussen, Cameron McEvoy, James Roberts, Eamon Sullivan and Matthew Targett - through the Australian Swimmers Association (ASA) to put forward their side of events.
As a result of this proactive approach by the athletes, Swimming Australia and ASA officials met with the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay team yesterday, where the six athletes involved admitted to immature behaviour while in Manchester at the staging camp for the Olympic Games.
The behaviour includes using a prescribed sleeping tablet (stilnox) as part of an initiation process and disturbing other members of the swim team via door knocking, prank calls and poor judgement.
Swimming Australia President Barclay Nettlefold said this will now be a matter for the Integrity Panel.
“Coming forward with their side of events is the first sign of the culture of accountability and responsibility that we are trying to achieve,” said Nettlefold.
“The boys are extremely remorseful for their poor judgement in this matter and that is clear. None the less they have shown poor judgement and we now need to follow the right processes to deal with these admissions.”
The Integrity Panel will begin work on these investigations immediately.
Please find below a copy of the statement prepared by the six swimmers as read by Australian Swimmers Association CEO, Daniel Kowalski.
I read to you a statement prepared by the six men sitting wtih me:
As proud members of the Australian Swim team, we acknowledge that by our actions in continuing a recent tradition on the men’s team we have let ourselves down and the people who have supported us.
We stand here collectively today to confirm that we did take part in a bonding exercise during which members of the relay team took stilnox as reported in the Bluestone Edge review following a day of relay team bonding where we went to the movies and then to dinner.
It was at this dinner that Matt and Eamon were asked how they had bonded with the senior members of the team when they were junior members and both Eamon Sullivan and Matt Targett shared their stories of initiation onto the relay squad and together we decided to continue in what we felt was a harmless activity and tradition.
The stilnox was prescribed to both Eamon and Matthew prior to our arrival at the Manchester Camp.
The scripts were filled in Australia before their departure to their staging camp in Spain and prior to the AOC’s announcement the drug was baned.
While stilnox is NOT a banned substance on the WADA list, and has been used for many years, we all acknowledge that at the time stilnox was consumed it had been recently prohibited for use by the AOC.
What ensued was at the time seen as harmless fun. We sat around the hotel room telling stories, laughing and bonding just as we had wanted to do.
At one point some team members left the room and decided to make prank calls to random rooms and did knock on the doors of our teammates but at no time did we ever feel it was anything more than childish behaviour and there was definitely nothing untoward in their actions.
We were all in bed by 10.30pm. The tradition has been that the bonding session would remain between us. We honoured that tradition.
We acknowledge that our actions on the night were stupid.
Further, at times some individuals have denied the incident took place in part because of tradition but also to give the review due process to run its course.
We have chosen to announce this today as together we want to put this episode behind us. A lot has been written, speculated and talked about with regards to this particular incident; we own up to it, take responsibility for it and are deeply sorry.
We will now all cooperate with the investigation that will be conducted by the newly formed SAL Integrity Panel.
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