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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Steffensen now coaching Kevin Moore/Steff banned from competing for six months

Steffensen now coaching Kevin Moore/Steff banned from competing for six months

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Read more:

Steffensen moves to next phase

By Daniel Lane
The Age
January 27, 2013

Steffensen, who is due to front an Athletics Australia tribunal to learn whether he'd be punished for his claim during the London Olympics that racism was rife in the sporting body, is coaching 400 metres runner Kevin Moore - a Commonwealth Games gold medallist when he competed in the 4 x 400 relay event in Delhi.

As an athlete who hasn't been afraid to highlight what he has considered to be the deficiencies of his sport, 30-year-old Steffensen is aware that some may think he would use his time coaching 22-year-old Moore to influence his charge's thinking on the sport. But Steffensen said that if he did his job as a coach properly, Moore would be cocooned from the frustrations that had caused despair.

''Kev is his own man, he makes his own decisions,'' Steffensen said. ''Our relationship means it's what's best for Kev, not for John. Whatever I have going on externally has nothing to do with him. People are entitled to their opinion and will have their opinion, but that's the least of Kev's problems.

''All I've said is if he has an opinion to be honest and to own it. For any problems [he might have with officialdom], I'll handle that. I've done it for seven years when I shouldn't have had to. All I ever wanted was to run. I want Kev to enjoy the sport for the sport. No kid should ever go through what I did. Track and field is a lovely sport and that's what the focus should be on - not the outside stuff.''

Swedish-born Moore, who was being courted as an Olympic athlete by his late father's birthplace of Malta, said he wasn't concerned by Steffensen's reputation as Athletic Australia's public enemy No. 1.

''It doesn't faze me, not at all,'' he said. ''I know what John is like as a person, I've known him for four-years and I think it's sad how he is treated. If someone wants to like me, or not like me, for hanging out with John, that's their opinion. I have my opinion and he's a great coach.''

Steffensen was in coach-mode as the pair trained at Sydney Olympic Park's Athletic Centre, imparting the lessons he'd learnt during his time with famed American mentor John Smith, who trained the likes of Sydney Olympic gold medallist Maurice Greene.

''Basically, he's helped me improve from taking me from training the way I was and living the way I was, to being an elite athlete,'' Moore said. ''When we started training together four months ago I realised he had a very good eye. He's a perfectionist and I'm learning from him that near enough is not good enough. His strength, though, is while some coaches can say do this and that, John has actually done it and he knows what I should be feeling, and, when you feel it, you understand what it is you're striving for.''

Steffensen said while his career had its highlights, which included winning the Melbourne Commonwealth Games gold medal, the Athens Olympic silver medal and a bronze at the world championships, he said Moore could also learn plenty from his mistakes.

''Kev is not a novice runner, let's not get that twisted,'' he said. ''He has a 400 Commonwealth Games gold medal already and he's been in the top of Australia for the last few years - he ran 46 seconds flat as an 18-year-old - it's just about giving Kevin the tools to be the best runner he can possibly be.

''He can learn from my errors, like the times when I was tired and did a workout that was detrimental to me because I got hurt, there were times when I got off the plane, trained straight away and got hurt, there was the time when I competed at the Stawell Gift, injured my hamstring and ruined my Olympic campaign. If you limit those things it gives you a better chance to be successful.''

Last edited by Admin on Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:20 pm; edited 1 time in total

2 Steffensen banned for six months on Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:19 pm


From AA

Athletics Australia impose six-month ban on John Steffensen

The Board of Directors of Athletics Australia has determined that sprinter John Steffensen be declared ineligible to compete in international and domestic competition for a period of six months for making statements and engaging in conduct likely to bring the sport of athletics into disrepute contrary to IAAF Rules, Athletics Australia By-laws and the Athletics Australia Team Member Code of Conduct.

This decision by the Board of Directors comes after the completion of an exhaustive independent investigation in late 2012 into allegations made by Steffensen around the London Olympic Games. This investigation, which was undertaken with Steffensen’s participation, determined that the athlete’s public allegations through the media of racial discrimination and vilification against him could not be substantiated. Additional public claims by Steffensen that Athletics Australia Chief Executive Officer Dallas O’Brien had misled him were also determined to be unproven.

The Board of Directors then determined that it would refer the allegations to an independent tribunal. Steffensen subsequently chose to waive his right to an independent tribunal hearing and therefore, in accordance with Athletics Australia By-Laws and the IAAF Rules, he was deemed to have accepted that he had committed the breaches. The imposition of a penalty then reverted back to the Athletics Australia Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors agreed to an extraordinary request from Steffensen to hear his concerns ahead of imposing any sanctions and conducted an hour-long discussion with the athlete via video link late on Wednesday 30 January 2013.

The Board took into account Steffensen’s statements and also his previous three-month suspension in 2010 before determining unanimously that a six-month suspension was appropriate considering the seriousness of the breaches.

The ban will come into effect immediately, allowing Steffensen to return to competition on 1 August 2013.

- ENDS -

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