Kenrick Monk and Nick D’Arcy, should they have copped a penalty?
If you missed it, here it is.
Olympic swimmers Kenrick Monk and Nick D’Arcy took this photo of themselves chilling out in an American gun store before posting it on twitter. For many, including the Australian Olympic Council (AOC) who incidentally banned the pair from attending London 2012’s closing ceremony and from using social media at the Games, it was a regrettable moment of frivolity. For others, like travel writer Ben Groundwater, this was the act of experiencing culture.
For the most part, I agree: if it were France they were in, they’d be holding Baguettes. There’s also a certain amount of hypocrisy in society’s dismissal of the incident. Francis Leach on Offsiders made the observation that such a reprimand is at odds with the glorification of crime on television.
But the disapprovers do have a point, only, it’s hidden behind the question: If it was two other Olympic swimmers would there be as much of a problem?
The short answer is no. It wasn’t a problem for the AOC when athletes attended a Swimming Australia sanctioned bonding session at a Canberra rifle range in 2007. It certainly wasn’t a problem for our Olympic shooters.
Repeat offenders often cop a sharper blast of criticism than those with a good record. Monk, a self admitted one-time liar, and D’Arcy, convicted of assault in 2008, both have earned a shortened leash.
The severe nature of their punishment is not linked to the crime, but their record.
In Inside Sport this month, James Henderson showed how the AOC is putting medals before morals by back-flipping on its own guidelines to allow D’Arcy to race. Henderson writes:
The puzzling aspect of the D’Arcy verdict is that it appears to breach the AOC’s own published selection criteria… “An athlete is eligible for selection if they have not at any time…been convicted of or charged with any serious offence involving violence…which is punishable by imprisonment.”
So D’Arcy, by the AOC’s standards (the AOC have the final say on the make-up of the Australian team, above the individual sporting bodies) shouldn’t be competing at the 2012 Olympic Games. The decision to include D’Arcy, Henderson concludes, is medal-focused.
We, the public, are disappointed that D’Arcy is even going to the Olympics and we’re pleased for the opportunity to ‘shoot him down’. As for Monk, he got the public offside, then stood himself in the firing line and got hit. Here’s hoping our father-daughter Olympic shooting team (pictured above) don’t decide to get snaps by the pool.