Swimming-mad Australia needed someone to blame after their disappointing showing at the London games, and it looks like they've found it. A report commissioned to investigate why the Aussies didn't bring home a single individual gold for the first time since 1976 laid it on a "toxic" team culture that involved bullying, harassment, and abuse of prescription drugs.
Well, hold up, what does that actually? The men's relay team, at the center of the allegations, held a press conference in Sydney today to give their version of events. Here's what they say that one wild night, during a training session in Manchester before the Olympics, entailed:
• They saw The Dark Knight Rises.
• They went out for tapas.
• They each took one tablet of Ambien, which is legal under the IOC, but was banned just before the Olympics by Australia's Olympic committee. (This was apparently something of a longstanding ritual, handed down from relay team to relay team.)
• They made prank phone calls to female swimmers in the hotel.
• They knocked on doors, then ran away before they opened.
• They were asleep by 10:30 p.m.
(Emily Seebohm, the swimmer who blew the whistle on the shenanigans, says there was more to it than that.)
The consequences could be dire. The AOC could impose sanctions, including withdrawing funding from the relay team for the 2016 Olympics. Medal-winners could lose cash bonuses they already received. Swimming Australia has formed an "integrity panel" to investigate further, while the AOC has enlisted a senior jurist to conduct its own probe.
Meanwhile, Australian football and rugby leagues are beset with major scandals involving steroid use, recreation drugs, organized crime links, and match-fixing. But no, let's worry about some ding-dong-ditch.