The debacle that the Australian Olympic team has faced during the Rio Olympics 2016 has extended far beyond under-performing athletes. Apart from having their worst medal haul since 1992, nine Australian athletes were detained in Rio in connection with a sticker accreditation scam.
According to the Herald Sun, the Australian athletes that were arrested by Brazilian authorities have been named as Ashlee Ankudinoff and Melissa Hoskins (cycling), Ed Jenkins (rugby sevens), Alec Potts and Ryan Tyack (archery), Olympia Aldersey, Fiona Albert and Lucy Stephan (rowing) and Simon Orchard (hockey).
All nine athletes have been accused of using tampered accreditation stickers in order to be allowed into games where they do not have access to. This is a practice that has been rampant in the Olympic games, where athletes who want to support their countrymen have been sneaking into venues.
Australian Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller, however, has insisted that the accreditation scam is not the athletes’ fault. “The athletes were held at a police station for many hours, and I apologize for the trauma they went through. The problem with the accreditation was not their fault,” she said.
The Australian Olympic Committee was forced to pay a $36,000 fine in order to facilitate the release of the athletes. A series of negotiations were led by AOC lawyer Fiona de Jong. She managed to push for a fine and the return of the athletes’ passports. They were lucky to be able to avoid jail time, which is entirely possible for the offense that they were accused of.
Ms. Chiller has since assured that the AOC is doing everything that they can to clear the athletes of the charges. They are also making sure that the entire delegation will be on the flight back to Australia on Monday.
The Australian AOC has had a lot to deal with during the Rio Olympics 2016. Prior to the accreditation issue, two swimmers were penalized for partying and staying outside the Olympic Village beyond the permitted time frame. One of them was also allegedly robbed.