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.