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Calls grow for Stilnox swimming bans

February 28, 2013

Aussie Mens Relay

Swimming great Dawn Fraser has received widespread support for demanding Australia‘s so-called Stilnox swimmers be banned for life.

Of more than 39,000 people who have responded to a ninemsn poll on the topic, 58 percent have thrown their weight behind Fraser, who made the shock call after being voted Australia’s greatest sportswoman at an awards ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra last night.

Members of the men’s 100m freestyle relay squad, James Magnussen, Eamon Sullivan, Tommaso D’Orsogna, Cameron McEvoy and Matthew Target admitted taking the sleeping drug, which was banned by the Australian Olympic Committee just weeks prior, at a pre-Olympics camp in Manchester.

Fraser said she believed a life ban was appropriate for the swimmers, with Australia under pressure to punish known drug takers.

“I think they set a bad example. They wouldn’t inspire me if I was a youngster coming up in the sport of swimming,” she said.

Fraser’s comments have sparked debate across the country, with ninemsn readers among those supporting the Olympic legend.

“I totally agree with Dawn, we are viewed by many around the world as a nation of liars and cheats in the sporting world,” wrote Peter Thwaites.

“Drug taking in sport should have zero tolerance and I agree with Dawn Fraser,” Lloyd Herrington added.

Others have been quick to dismiss Fraser’s comments as an overreaction, with many suggesting the swimming legend was being hypocritical given her chequered past.

“Dawn Fraser disgraced Australia by stealing a flag at an Olympic Games in 1964 and was banned for 10 years, she has no right to comment on others’ behaviour,” Daniel W said.

“This is a bit rich coming from a woman who got up to all sorts of mischief in her youth at an Olympics,” another reader wrote.

During the 1964 Tokyo Olympics Fraser was arrested for stealing an Olympic flag outside the Emperor’s Palace before being released without charge and given the flag as a souvenir.

She was also suspended for 10 years, later reduced to four, by Swimming Australia for marching at an Opening ceremony when she was told not to and for competing in a unofficial swimsuit which she found more comfortable.

She claimed there was a huge difference between being a larrikin and drug taking.

The relay squad has also admitted to initially lying in a cover-up of the drug-taking just 10 days before the London Olympics began.

“The tradition has been that the bonding session will remain between us. We honoured that tradition,” they said last week.

The swimmers have admitted their actions were “stupid” and Sullivan, the most experienced of the relay squad, has apologised for his lack of leadership.

A sixth member of the relay squad, James Roberts, has denied taking Stilnox.

The team finished fourth in the final despite going into the Olympics as strong gold medal favourites.

Vote statistics are accurate as at 1pm (AEDT).


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