Australian Olympic Committee head John Coates admitted Wednesday that he is concerned about the public’s perception of the Olympic team after reports that some swimmers created a “toxic” environment at last summer’s London Games.
“The last thing we want is for the mums and dads not to think of our Olympians as role models,” Coates told Reuters Wednesday. “We are trying to create greater participation in sport through our team.”
Last month, six members of the Australian men’s 4x100m swim relay admitted using banned sleeping pills and partaking in “childish behavior” during an initiation leading up the London Olympics. 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.
Stilnox is banned by the AOC, not the World Anti-doping Agency, but Coates is still concerned that the fallout from this these disciplinary issues could still create problems with sponsors int the future.
“Sponsors know that we take a very strong stand on doping, our sponsors know that during the Games we have a total ban on illicit drugs,” Coates dded. “But certainly some of the behavior aspects of the swimmers is going to cause some problems. We are looking at it and we need to sort it out.”
Steve Langton, who was described by driver Steven Holcomb as the “best push athlete in the world,” announced his retirement today.
A collegiate sprinter and jumper at Northeastern University, Langton decided to try bobsledding after watching the 2006 Winter Olympics. He filled out an online athlete resume, and, by the 2010 Games, he was an Olympian.
At the Sochi 2014 Games, Langton teamed with Holcomb to win a bronze medal in the two-man race. It was the first Olympic medal in the event by American sled since 1952. He claimed another bronze medal as a member of Holcomb’s four-man “Night Train.”
“In Sochi I competed on the world’s biggest stage, I won two medals for my country and I did so along not only the best teammates but best friends anyone could ever ask for,” Langton told USA Bobsled.
Langton, who has a 62-inch standing box jump and can squat more than 500 pounds, was described by Men’s Health as “the most powerful winter Olympian” in the lead-up to 2014 Games.
“[Langton’s] work ethic and discipline rubbed off on the other athletes and made everyone better,” said USA Bobsled & Skeleton Chief Executive Officer Darrin Steele. “I have no doubt that he’ll find success in the next chapter of his life as well.”
Langton appeared on “The Amazing Race” in 2015 with his girlfriend, Aly Dudek, an Olympic short track speedskater.
None of the push athletes on the current U.S. roster have Olympic experience. Holcomb will compete in the World Cup opener this Saturday with Sam McGuffie, a former University of Michigan football player. The race will be McGuffie’s World Cup debut.