Coates defends D’Arcy’s Olympic team place

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    Australian Olympic boss John Coates has defended the selection of disgraced swimmer Nick D’Arcy in the team for the London Olympics, and Swimming Australia has denied reports of a secret deal allowing D’Arcy back into the team.

    Mr Coates said it was a pity the controversy had resurfaced in the lead-up to July’s 2012 Olympic Games and he understood how D’Arcy had polarised public opinion.

    But he said: “We are satisfied that he has learnt his lesson and he understands the standards required to be a member of our team.”

    D’Arcy, 24, regarded as a strong medal chance in London, missed the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2009 Rome world championships after being charged and eventually convicted of an assault in which he king-hit fellow swimmer Simon Cowley in a Sydney bar in 2008.

    Last year a judge in a civil case ordered D’Arcy to pay Cowley $370,000 in damages and costs but D’Arcy declared himself bankrupt.

    This led to speculation Swimming Australia (SA) might drop him from the London team on the grounds that he had failed to meet ethical standards.

    But SA nominated him after he met the qualifying standard, and Mr Coates said the AOC selection committee had received legal advice that D’Arcy’s bankruptcy did not constitute bringing him into disrepute under the terms of the team agreement.

    Cowley, 31, whose face had to be surgically rebuilt after the assault, alleged in a report in Fairfax newspapers on Saturday that SA had done a “secret deal” allowing D’Arcy back into the team.

    Swimming Australia denied the report.

    SA president David Urquhart told reporters in Sydney: “There was no deal done with anyone about anything as far as I was concerned.

    “Any deals that were to be done have to come to the board of Swimming Australia, and that never happened.”

    Cowley said the deal was conditional on D’Arcy dropping threatened legal action against SA.

    According to Cowley, SA chief executive Neil King had told him of the deal in 2009, saying: “I’m telling you this but if you ever repeat it – ever try to tell anyone – I’ll flat out deny it.”

    But Mr Urquhart told reporters: “Kevin can’t remember saying any of the things that were said (in the report).”

    Mr Urquhart said he did not believe D’Arcy’s inclusion in the team raised any morale issues, and D’Arcy’s place was not in doubt.

    Asked if he wished D’Arcy would just bow out of swimming, Mr Coates replied: “Negativity is never good but I don’t wish anyone to bow out of sport and I wish him all the best.

    “I was the person who decided what he did meant he shouldn’t be in the last team. We went through two court cases.

    “But we wish him well now.

    “We are satisfied that he has learnt his lesson and he understands the standards required to be a member of our team.”

    Mr Urquhart said he had no idea why Cowley would make the claim.

    Asked by a reporter: “What price medals?”, Mr Urquhart replied: “I think that’s a little unfair. He has served his time and we believe he is eligible for these Olympics.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • May 6th 2012 @ 8:22am
      Eric said | May 6th 2012 @ 8:22am | ! Report

      Why do we have such grubby liitle egos representing Australia ? Or is our involvement in the Olympics all about money too ?

    • May 6th 2012 @ 8:44am
      Pete Smith said | May 6th 2012 @ 8:44am | ! Report

      The question “what prices medals” was reasonable. But a better question would have been: “Where is the Olympic Family gathering around Simon Cowley?”

    • Roar Guru

      May 6th 2012 @ 9:03am
      Rabbitz said | May 6th 2012 @ 9:03am | ! Report

      “Mr Urquhart replied: “I think that’s a little unfair. He has served his time and we believe he is eligible for these Olympics.””

      Mr Urquhart declaring bankruptcy to avoid paying the debts owed to your victim is NOT, I repeat, NOT serving your time. Being a smart-ar5e little grub who has never shown any contrition is also not a way of serving your time.

      Urquart and Coates should act now, but the closed shop of Australian swimming wouldn’t dare – medals are worth losing all credibility.

    • May 6th 2012 @ 9:04am
      rania haegel said | May 6th 2012 @ 9:04am | ! Report

      As far as I can see the incident has ‘cost’ Cowley far more than the perpetrator D’arcy. Cowley is left with permanent disfigurement to his face and the emotional scars. D’arcy hasn’t even demonstrated remorse by trying to make good the judges decision that he should pay Cowley the $370 000 for damages and costs. I think that if D’arcy wants to swim for Australia again then the absolute
      minimum requirement should be that he accept full responsibility for his thuggish behaviour and try to ‘make good’ by paying the amount the judge decided was appropriate. Once he has done this and apologised again publicly to Cowley for his disgraceful
      behaviour and signed a contract that if he should be found drunk whilst representing Australia, he is out permanently, then I as an Australian can accept him standing on a podium accepting a medal for Australia.
      Violent behaviour is totally unacceptable and drunkeness is no excuse – all our sporting representatives should understand this – don’t drink if you become violent.

    • May 6th 2012 @ 9:45am
      sittingbison said | May 6th 2012 @ 9:45am | ! Report

      This report says “last year” (2011?) he was ordered by the court to pay $370k and then declared himself bankrupt. Without being an expert on such matters, that means he is still bankrupt (is it 3 years minimum?), and therefore fails every possible test of moral suitability.

      What a shambolic, farcical debacle.

    • May 6th 2012 @ 6:02pm
      Christo said | May 6th 2012 @ 6:02pm | ! Report

      According to the Olympic Charter, D’Arcy should NOT be eligible to compete in London anyway. See Chapter 5. II Eligibility Code, which notes that to be eligible a competitor must “respect the spirit of fair play and NON VIOLENCE, and behave accordingly.” “Seemed like a good idea at the time” to break Simon Cowley’s face so it needed to be put back into place with plates, just like it seemed like a good idea to declare himself bankrupt, leaving Simon with his injuries and the bills .I ask you, would Nick D’Arcy have declared himself bankrupt if he thought it would have affected his selection in the Australian team? Highly doubtful. Note the language from Swimming Australia: “Kevin can’t remember saying any of the things that were said (in the report).”. Not remembering is not the same as denying; it is the language politicians use in the event the truth comes out later.

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