Duo barred from closing ceremony

RIO DE JANEIRO • The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has imposed a curfew on two swimmers who failed to return to the Games Village during a night out.

Emma McKeon and Josh Palmer, who were among a group of Australian swimmers out at a nightclub in Copacabana on Tuesday, must stay in the Village between 8pm and 8am, while Swimming Australia has imposed a 2am curfew on all its athletes.

As further punishment, neither will be allowed to participate in tomorrow's closing ceremony.

McKeon, 22, became separated from her team-mates and chose not to return to the Village. She remained in Copacabana with a female friend, but her failure to tell officials where she was violated team rules.

"To clarify, I've followed AOC safety protocol in not travelling to village alone," McKeon, who won a gold, two silvers and a bronze in Rio, tweeted late on Thursday. "My error was not texting my team manager. #noclosingforme"

According to the committee's account of events, Palmer, 25, also became separated from team-mates but continued drinking with a friend from Melbourne at a beach kiosk.

  • 8pm- 8am

    Curfew hours imposed by Swimming Australia on two errant athletes.

He was then approached by a man who forced him to withdraw US$1,000 (S$1,350) in cash from a nearby ATM at gunpoint, he told Olympic officials.

Palmer, who failed to make the final in the 100m breaststroke, was apparently found at 2pm on Wednesday by two businessmen in the Copa district, who said he was "disoriented" and had lost his wallet and phone.

They called the Australian consulate, who then contacted the team's head of security. He chose not to lodge a police complaint.

The two swimmers have been restricted to travelling to events only in official Olympic transportation.

The punishment was handed down by Kitty Chiller, the Australian chef de mission, who said in a statement that their behaviour was "unacceptable" and in breach of disciplinary protocols.

"Given the security problems we have encountered over the past few weeks I find the behaviour of the disciplined athletes disrespectful to the remainder of the team," she said.

Before the Games began, Chiller had barred Australian athletes from drinking alcohol in the Village, and from being drunk around athletes who were still competing in events.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2016, with the headline 'Duo barred from closing ceremony'. Print Edition | Subscribe