Monday, June 11, 2012
Australians 'understand sanctions'
BRISBANE, Australia -- Controversial swimmers Nick D'Arcy and Kenrick Monk have avoided additional punishment above what the Australian Olympic Committee has already imposed on them for posting photos of themselves posing with guns on social networking sites.
The pair have already been told they'll be sent home from the London Olympics on the day the swimming program finishes and have been banned by the AOC from using social media for a month from July 16.
Swimming Australia released a statement Monday saying it had met with both swimmers and would be taking no further action.
The swimmers then held a brief news conference, with D'Arcy reading a short statement but declining to answer questions.
"Kenrick and I understand the sanctions that have been put on us from the AOC," D'Arcy said. "We've had some really serious discussions with Swimming Australia today and as per those discussions I've decided not to engage in social media in the period leading into the Games."
The photo of Monk holding two pump-action shotguns and standing beside D'Arcy, who was smirking and holding a pistol in each hand, in a U.S gun shop spread quickly in social and traditional media last Thursday. They were ordered to remove the photos immediately and later apologized, saying the images were only intended as fun.
D'Arcy has extended his personal ban on using social media, saying it would "just serve as a distraction" leading into the London Games, which start July 27.
"I think it's really important in these last seven weeks to focus on swimming ... Because at the end of the day I'll be coming up against some of the greatest swimmers in the world, especially Michael Phelps, and if you're not on your game you don't stand a chance against those guys," he said.
Swimming Australia CEO Kevin Neil said while there was nothing illegal in what D'Arcy and Monk did by visiting a gun shop during a training camp in the United States, the problem was the manner in which they posed for the photos and their previous indiscretions.
"They showed poor judgment in posting what we saw as inappropriate photos, in which they appear to be skylarking with guns while in the U.S. last week," Neil said. "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."
On the weekend, the AOC's Selection Committee found both swimmers guilty of bringing themselves into disrepute and said both were "repeat offenders who had shown poor judgment in their decision-making."
D'Arcy was excluded from the Australian team for the 2008 Olympics after assaulting another swimmer in a bar fight in Sydney the night he won selection in the squad. He was later convicted and ordered to pay former Australian swimmer Simon Cowley damages for serious facial injuries, but declared himself bankrupt claiming massive personal debts.
Monk was lucky to avoid charges after hitting the headlines last year for falsely claiming to police that he'd been the victim of a hit-and-run auto accident. He later admitted that he was injured when he fell of his skateboard.
D'Arcy is a medal contender in the 200-meter butterfly at London, and Monk is a member of the 4x200 freestyle relay.