Australian review of London swim flop
SYDNEY (AFP) –
Australian swimming announced an independent review of the sport’s culture at elite level after a poor show at the London Olympics and rumours of drug pranks and initiation rituals.
Australia’s swimmers won just one gold, six silvers and three bronzes in London, their lowest tally in the pool since the 1992 Barcelona Games, and were without an individual gold medallist for the first time since Montreal in 1976.
Swimming Australia, the sport’s governing body in the country, said consultancy Bluestone Edge would lead a probe of top level “culture and leadership”, in parallel with a broader post-Olympics review already under way.
“The work will cover our swimmers, coaches, our executive management group and the board,” said newly-appointed Swimming Australia chief Barclay Nettlefold.
He added that Bluestone “have been engaged in similar work with elite sporting teams and corporate organisations, with demonstrated success”.
A wide-ranging review launched in August is examining why the once-dominant swimming team fell so short, with rumours of ill-discipline, misbehaviour and initiation ritual pranks with sedatives among the men’s relay squad.
The Australian Swimmers’ Association, the representative body for the sport’s athletes, welcomed the separate culture and leadership inquiry.
“Our swimmers should feel confident about the direction the sport is heading,” said ASA general manger Daniel Kowalski, himself a medallist at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics.
Swimming Australia said the review was expected to be completed by February next year.