SYDNEY (Reuters) – Schoolboy pranks, over-inflated egos, a lack of team unity and unrealistic expectations filtered into the public domain yesterday as reasons for Australia’s poor showing in the Olympic swimming pool.
Australian swimmers suffered their worst Olympic performance for 20 years in London, failing to win an individual title and ending up with one relay gold, six silver and three bronze medals.
Swimming Australia announced a review into the disappointing display during the Games but is still framing the exact terms of reference and structure of the investigation.
Some individual team members, however, have already had their say on television, while the submission of one key figure, head coach Leigh Nugent, has been leaked to the media.
Many of the initial reports focus on the behaviour of the men’s 4×100 metres relay team, who, led off by 100 metres freestyle favorite James Magnussen, were expected to win gold but ended up out of the medals.
Tommaso D’Orsogna, who swam in the 4x100m heats, admitted to being party to misbehaviour during a pre-Games camp in Manchester, where squad members made prank telephone calls and knocked on bedroom doors.
“People are kind of saying ‘it’s just boys being boys’ but unfortunately I come back and I look back on that kind of thing and maybe that would be acceptable in schoolboy rugby… but this is the Australian Olympic team,” he told Channel 10 TV.
“That kind of behaviour shouldn’t be tolerated nor should it be allowed.
“I can definitely confirm that there’s no way that any other Australian team that went away to the Olympics would have been mucking around and doing that stuff.”
Libby Trickett, who helped Australia to the women’s 4x100m relay gold in her third Olympics, said the team spirit had not been the same as she had previously experienced.