Swimming Australia has denied allegations it cut a secret deal with London-bound butterfly star Nick D'Arcy that persuaded him to drop legal threats against the federation, before being welcomed back to the Olympic Team. Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates said he saw no reason to investigate Swimming Australia's conduct, or revisit the merits of D'Arcy's selection for London.
D'Arcy was sacked from the Olympic team in 2008 and was banned from the 2009 world championships after pleading guilty to assaulting fellow Olympian Simon Cowley. D’Arcy’s “Guilty” plea before Magistrate Favretto ensured there was no trial. No witnesses to the event could be called, nor, their statements introduced as evidence.
Simon Cowley's horrific injuries after being attacked by Nick D'Arcy.
Picture: Channel 7 Source: No Source
With the benefit of evidence that was not before (Magistrate Favretto) a NSW District Court judge ruled in 2011 civil action for damages that D’Arcy had not acted in self defence and he was ordered to pay Cowley more than $370,000 in damages.
D’Arcy successfully filed for bankruptcy and was declared bankrupt last year.
This is not the first assault with which D’Arcy has been associated.
Iron man competitor Tim Peach claims D’Arcy king hit him and left him with two black eyes and a broken nose in an altercation outside a Mooloolaba night club in 2006. “I was unrecogniseable with two black eyes and a broken nose", says Peach.
D’Arcy’s father, a surgeon, organised X-Rays and recompensed Peach for lost wages.
Now it has also been revealed that D’Arcy previously threatened another athlete, pole vaulter Matt Boyd. He had gone to Boyd’s house with a group of friends, smashed a glass door and a letterbox, reportedly because Boyd was being friendly with a female whom D’Arcy was seeing.
D’Arcy’s father paid restitution and no complaint was made to the police.
The development raised questions about whether Swimming Australia, or the AOC, might rule him out of contention for London for failing to meet behavioural and ethical standards. At the Australian Olympic Committee, Fiona de Jong says that she took legal advice on D’Arcy’s eligibility for the London Olympics – “The question is”, says de Jong, “does his declaring bankruptcy bring him or his sport into disrepute?”
I think she has missed the point and avoided the underlying issue. D’Arcy is a person with a history of causing bodily harm to others. He has pleaded guilty to having recklessly caused grievous bodily harm to Cowley and has been convicted of that offence which, at maximum, carries a 10 year imprisonment. He was given a 14 month suspended sentence. The real question for the Olympic Committee should be:
“Is Nick D’Arcy a fit and proper person to represent Australia at an Olympic Games? Does his behaviour and lack of obvious contrition embody the spirit of the Olympic ideals?”
Swim Team Coach Laurie Lawrence wants him in the team and D'Arcy's coach Michael Bohl says he's a "Hot favourite for an Aussie Gold medal."
Seems that's all that counts!