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Australian relay team to come clean on pranks

Updated: 2013-02-22 07:11
By Agence France-Presse in Sydney ( China Daily)

Australian swimming officials said six members of the men's 100m freestyle relay team from the London Olympics had come forward to confess about a controversial team bonding session ahead of the Games.

Australian relay team to come clean on pranks

Swimming Australia said the six, who had talked themselves up as the self-described "Weapons of Mass Destruction" before an embarrassing flop in the pool that saw them walk away without a medal, would reveal all on Friday.

"Swimming Australia can confirm that the six members of the men's relay team have come forward to discuss their involvement in a team bonding session in Manchester prior to arriving in the Olympic Village," the governing body said in a statement on Thursday.

The relay team failure was part of a lackluster showing by the once-dominant Australian swimming team in London, which delivered its lowest tally in the pool since Barcelona 1992 - one gold, six silver and three bronze.

It was Australian swimming's first Games without an individual gold medal since the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

Reports circulated after the Games that the relay team had a hazing ritual in the lead-up to competition that involved taking Stilnox - a sleeping medication banned by the Australian team.

There were also claims of prank calls and late-night doorknocking at the Australian team camp at Manchester two days before the Olympics began.

Swimming Australia said it would be making no further comment until Friday's media conference.

All six members of the squad, which was spearheaded by the much-vaunted James Magnussen, will front the media along with Swimming Australia president Barclay Nettlefold and Daniel Kowalski, head of the Australian Swimmers Association.

This week, two separate reports into team culture and leadership at London, documenting "toxic" incidents of drunkenness, bullying, and prescription drug abuse, were released.

(China Daily 02/22/2013 page23)

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