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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Olympic team boss Nick Green rebukes Steffensen

Olympic team boss Nick Green rebukes Steffensen

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Olympic team boss rebukes Steffensen

By Paul Mulvey
Sydney Morning Herald
July 16, 2012

Australia's Olympic team boss Nick Green has rebuked athlete John Steffensen over his threat to boycott the London Games and his claims of racism.

Green says the Australian Olympic Committee has not been impressed by Steffensen's accusation that Athletics Australia had not selected him for the 400m because of his race.

The indigenous athlete withdrew his threat to boycott the Games on Monday after he learned he had been named as a reserve for the individual 400m as well as a 4x400m relay runner.

"We have been disappointed with the comments Steffensen has made," Green told reporters at the Olympic Park on Monday.

"We know that for the 410 athletes, it's a great honour to represent this country at the Olympic Games and it's a right that you earn and respect when you get in the team.

"If an athlete is not wanting to compete in any way then we'll deal with that.

"Every athlete comes here with the notion of competing and representing their country at the highest level they can."

Green's first press conference as the head of Australia's team was occupied by the traditional pre-Olympic spot fires, including complaints from shooter Russell Mark that he can't share a room in the village with his wife and fellow shooter Lauryn.

A teammate of Mark at the 1996 Olympics, Green says village accommodation is organised to suit all athletes and any special considerations for couples would create a domino effect.

He also denied the five-time Olympian's claims he was being punished by the AOC over his stance on sleeping pills and because his wife posed in a green and gold bikini carrying a gun for a racy magazine photo shoot.

"I am unsure why Russell is seeking the publicity he is. It is simply untrue," Green said.

But, while he was unfazed by the controversies leading up to the Games, Green says he's looking forward to the July 27 opening ceremony and believes a top five position in the medals table is still a "realistic and genuine target."

"As always at a Games there is other interests before the Games start," Green said.

"It's part of the Games build up, we know that there's always issues.

"Once the sport starts, we'll be talking about the performance of the athletes. All the other stuff that happens is part of the Games and we'll deal with it case by case."

Green also says he's very comfortable with security at the Games despite the ongoing controversy in which contractor G4S has been unable to provide enough guards.

"Our opinion hasn't changed, we feel that the services will provide an excellent security overlay. We're very comfortable with the (security) service," Green said.

The athletes village officially opened on Monday, with the slalom canoeists to be the first Australian athletes to check in on Tuesday.

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