The six members of the Australian men’s 4x100m swim relay, which finished fourth despite being favored to take gold, will face an integrity panel after admitting they used banned sleeping pills during an initiation before the London Games.
The men admitted to the incident after it was reported in a review commissioned by Swimming Australia, which detailed how “toxic incidents” and a “lack of collective leadership” might have led to the team’s worst showing in two decades.
London silver medalist James Magnussen and teammates Eamon Sullivan, Matthew Targett, Tommaso D’Orsogna, and Cameron McEvoy said they took Stilnox, which was prescribed to Sullivan and Targett before it was banned by the AOC for containing zolpidem, after a bonding night out to the movies and dinner.
The group also admitted to “childish behavior,” including prank calls and knocking on teammates’ doors.
“We decided to continue in what we felt was a harmless activity and tradition,” they said. “We acknowledge that our actions on the night were stupid.”
Even though the drug is not on the World Anti-doping’s list of banned substances, the swimmers could face sanctions, fines, removal of funding, and the possibility of not being selected for future events, such as worlds and the Rio Games.