Party's over for Australian Olympians at Rio

Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:10pm EDT
 
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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australian Olympians will be forced to break from their tradition of wild partying in the athletes village after finishing their events at the 2016 Rio Games, with a strict alcohol ban to be enforced by the delegation's minders.

Australian delegations have generally allowed their athletes to linger after competition rather than head home, with the heady cocktail of youth, alcohol and pent-up energy being released leading to a string of embarrassing incidents.

"We will be expecting an extremely high standard of behavior in Rio - bad behavior will not be tolerated," Australia's new chef de mission Kitty Chiller said in comments published by The Australian newspaper on Thursday.

"Athletes need to understand their responsibilities, so our village and the flight home will be dry."

Australia slumped to its lowest medal haul in 20 years at the London Games, sparking a fierce backlash from Australian media pundits who accused the team of wasting taxpayer money and being more focused on leisure than success.

Members of Australia's swim team, who underperformed at London, were criticized for drunkenness in an independent review and the men's 100 meters freestyle relay team were embroiled in scandal for taking Stilnox, a sedative banned by the Australian Olympic Committee, as part of a team bonding exercise.

The team were also embarrassed by rower Josh Booth who was detained by police for damaging shop windows after being out drinking following the final of the men's eight.

Chiller said athletes who had finished their events would be permitted to attend social functions and would be encouraged to sit down with team managers to work out a "structure" to their post-competition activities.

But all-night partying would not be tolerated.   Continued...