June 11 (Reuters) - Australian swimmers Nick D‘Arcy and Kenrick Monk will not be able to use social media during the London Games after angering the country’s Olympic Committee (AOC) by posting photos of themselves with guns on their accounts last week.
The Australian Olympic Committee said the duo’s postings were “foolish and clearly inappropriate” and forced them to remove the pictures taken while they were at a training camp in the United States.
Back in Brisbane on Monday, Monk and D‘Arcy, who met with Swimming Australia officials, said they would also return home immediately after the completion of their events at the Games, which begin next month.
“Both Kenrick and I understand the sanctions that have been put on us from the AOC,” D‘Arcy, who will compete in the 200 metres butterfly, told reporters without answering questions.
”We’ve had some really serious discussions with Swimming Australia today and as per those discussions, I’ve decided not to engage in social media in the period leading into the Games.
“I think at this stage it (social media) will just serve as a distraction and I think it’s really important in these last seven weeks to focus on your swimming and what you’re doing in the pool.”
The incident was another black mark on the records of the 24-year-olds.
D‘Arcy assaulted Australian triple Commonwealth Games gold medallist Simon Cowley, resulting in him being kicked off the Beijing Games Olympic team in 2008, while Monk told police last year he was the victim of a hit and run accident only to later confess he fell off his skateboard.
Monk, who will compete in the 200 metres freestyle individual event and relay, said the duo had meant no harm in posting the photos and they were simply trying to boost team morale.
“Basically, back in ‘07 we went, as the Australian swim team, to a rifle range and did a bit of shooting. It was a bit of fun and great team bonding,” Monk said.
“Over in America, we thought it would be a fantastic idea and bit of bonding and fun (to go to the shooting range).”
In another strongly worded statement on Monday, Swimming Australia said they would take no further action on the matter.
“They showed poor judgement in posting what we saw as inappropriate photos, in which they appear to be skylarking with guns while in the U.S. last week,” CEO Kevin Neil said.
“While what the boys did was not illegal, posting the photos on social networks encourages public debate, and that debate can be seen to have a negative impact on the image of the sport and their own image.” (Reporting by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; Editing by John O‘Brien)