Australian Men's Relay Team Inappropriate Behaviour May Have Been A Factor On Their Finals' Performance
In case you haven’t heard, the Australian Men’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay team (comprised of James Magnussen, Eamon Sullivan, James Roberts, Matt Targett, Cameron McEvoy and Tommaso D’Orsogna) has been under the microscope in recent weeks, following allegations they were “behaving inappropriately” and “misusing the drug Stillnox”
Today, they released a statement admitting that the following events did occur: Matt Target & Eamon Sullivan decided to continue a tradition of the relay team to initiate the new member of the team. Matt & Eamon had also been prescribed Stillnox prior to their departure from Australia, also prior to the AOC’s announcement that the drug was banned. At the time the following events were seen as harmless fun. They sat at the hotel, chatting and bonding. Some team members decided to make prank calls to random rooms, and knocked on other team members doors.
“We own up to it, take responsibility for it, and are deeply sorry for it.” the relay members said in a statement. Australia does have a history of sportsmen behaving badly, especially within the AFL or in cricket. When they’re on a winning streak, nobody cares about what they’ve done in the past or questions if they’ve been doing something to enhance their performance. However, when they don’t win, people start to question and inspect every single detail of their lives. Is that the case here, though?
In my personal opinion, this is the sort of culture and behaviour that should not be promoted at all, and needs to be handled quickly and severely in order to lessen the likeness of it occurring again in the future. In the case of the relay team, I do honestly think at this point (keeping in mind several investigations are still underway) that the boys were simply acting childish and had no harmful intentions when prank calling or kick-knocking.
The members who used/abused the Stillnox prescription should be seriously consequences, as this type of behaviour is blatantly unacceptable. (it is reported Stillnox was mixed with energy drinks such as Red Bull, until confirmed, I will not add my opinion on this)
I do stand by my feelings that this issue has been blown out of the water. That is, it isn’t as big of an issue as people are making out. Yes, it was clearly wrong and immature, but if it was handled at the time then there would be no reason to make it public. They boys would have been dealt with, punished, and that would be that.
Was their behaviour and the use of Stillnox the primary reason they didn’t swim as well as they were expected too? Or was it simply down to the fact the public’s expectations of them were too high, and placed an unnecessary amount of pressure on them?
Pieter Van Den Hoogenband of Netherlands, Eamon Sullivan of Australia and Alain Bernard of France compete in the Men’s 100m Freestyle Final at the National Aquatics Centre during Day 6 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 14, 2008 in Beijing, China.