A review of the Australian swim team’s performance in London last summer, released Tuesday, details “toxic incidents” and a “lack of collective leadership” that might have led to the team’s worst showing in two decades.
Some of the most damning evidence against the team, which took home only a single gold from the Olympics, includes cases of “getting drunk, misuse of prescription drugs, breaching curfews, deceit, bullying,” which left some younger members alienated from the rest of the team.
“Before we look at winning gold medals, we want to win back the admiration of the nation, and we want to engage with our swimming community like never before at every level,” Swimming Australia president Barclay Nettlefold said in a statement. “It has been a time of reflection and review and a time to be honest and open about how we can make the right steps towards future success… That starts with discipline and setting the right standards of behavior from the top down.”
Australian Olympic committee President John Coates added that some athletes found to have been misusing prescription drugs may face coming sanctions for breaching team policy, but Nettleford added that this isn’t about hiring or firing or sanctions right now.
“This goes back to governance. We have clearly got some issues we have to address in governance.”
Last November, Australia become the first nation to make its athletes sign a “no doping” pledge to compete. If they refuse to sign, they won’t be chosen for the team. If caught lying, the athlete could face up to seven years in prison.