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The Gold Coast Bulletin - - OPINION -

GOLD COAST BUL­LETIN Fri­day, Septem­ber 17, 2004

RE­LA­TIONS within the Aus­tralian women’s eight row­ing crew hit a new low with Olympian Ca­tri­ona Oliver slap­ping team­mate Sally Rob­bins in front of on­look­ers at an of­fi­cial func­tion.

Row­ing Aus­tralia chief ex­ec­u­tive An­drew Dee con­firmed the in­ci­dent and said Oliver would be sanc­tioned.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Dee, who was not present at the Aus­tralian Olympic Com­mit­tee func­tion that fol­lowed Syd­ney’s wel­come home pa­rade, Rob­bins was speak­ing to head coach Noel Don­ald­son when Oliver walked past and slapped her on the shoul­der.

The in­ci­dent was the lat­est in a se­ries of heated ex­changes be­tween Rob­bins and other mem­bers of the women’s eight, with Rob­bins en­dur­ing the wrath of her team­mates over the pre­vi­ous few weeks af­ter she stopped row­ing dur­ing their fi­nal at the pre­vi­ous month’s Olympic Games.

“It is re­gret­table and re­ally it is quite un­ac­cept­able,” Mr Dee said. “So we are just go­ing to hear what she has to say and take it from there.”

A state­ment from Oliver was later re­leased by Row­ing Aus­tralia: “I re­gret what took place last night and I’ve sent my apolo­gies to Sally,” Oliver said.

“I’d like to ex­tend that apol­ogy to all the other ath­letes at the func­tion last night.”

The in­ci­dent was an em­bar­rass­ing turn­around for Oliver who had in­sisted ev­ery­thing was fine when she spoke at a news con­fer­ence in Athens.

“We’re not punch­ing each other, we’re not fight­ing with each other we’re not scream­ing at each other ... said Oliver at the time.

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