The Australian swimming team has been asked not to attend the Rio Olympics 2016 opening ceremony to devote their maximum time in practising the sport.
According to The Star, the barring of the team might be the result of the team’s worst Olympic pool performance four years ago during the London Olympics 2012. However, head coach Jacco Verhaeren said on Wednesday that the speculations were baseless. The qualifying and final rounds this year were scheduled the very next day and it was the only reason behind the team being asked to stay back for practice. The opening ceremony will be held at the Maracana Stadium on August 5.
The head coach added that he wanted his team members to focus on the practice and make sure their performance is better than the 2015 world titles in Russia. Australia placed second then, winning seven golds while the United States snagged the first position with eight gold medals. Verhaeren wished to leave their rivals behind at Rio and capture the top spot on the winners’ chart.
“It was a decision we made following on from our world championship campaign in Kazan last year that we will do everything as a team,” Verhaeren said as quoted by Yahoo News. “We will be marching in the closing ceremony as a team and we will be doing other activities along the way as a team.”
The head coach said that skipping the opening ceremony performance was the only way to help the team stick to their daily routine to ensure they perform well in the Games’ swimming competitions. The Rio Olympics 2016 will feature new late night heats or finals this time.
In the London 2012 Olympics, Australian swimmers managed to win only one relay gold medal, which constituted the worst record since 1992 probably because of the apparent drinking, bullying and misusing of prescription drugs of the members of the team that time.