Swimming: Trickett urges healing after "toxic" Games

SYDNEY: Australian swimmer Libby Trickett called for healing within the sport after reports exposed a "toxic" atmosphere at the London Olympics including drunkenness, deceit and bullying.

Swimming Australia has vowed to restore its standing with the public after the country's much vaunted swimmers disappointed at the 2012 Olympics and inquiries into its culture revealed discipline was loose and the squad lacked leadership.

Trickett, who has won four gold medals at three Olympics, welcomed the news that officials would further investigate allegations against the team, including that some athletes misused prescription drugs as a prank in London.

"That issue has been left unresolved and it needs to be dealt with in order for us to move on," she told the Australian newspaper.

"It probably has gone too long without being dealt with. It certainly does need to be addressed because... if we let this one go, it's a precedent for the future."

She said all swimmers had been "under a cloud" because no individuals had so far been named.

"But if names are named, we will need to support them through the difficult times that lie ahead for them -- and they will be difficult," she said, The Australian reported.

"We need to come together again as a team and what better way to do that than by embracing these swimmers?"

Australia endured its worst swimming haul in decades in London, winning just one gold medal, six silver and three bronze for its lowest tally in the pool since Barcelona in 1992.

The lacklustre performance, in which no individual swimming gold medal was won for the first time since the 1976 Montreal Games, resulted in the commissioning of two independent reports released on Tuesday.

They revealed that morale within the swimming team was so low one athlete referred to London as the "lonely Olympics" as individuals looked after themselves ahead of the team.

- AFP/al

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