Sport Olympics Rio Olympics 2016: Kitty Chiller defends our ‘naughty nine’

Rio Olympics 2016: Kitty Chiller defends our ‘naughty nine’

kitty chiller
Kitty Chiller has divided opinion. Photo: Getty
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Chef de mission Kitty Chiller has defended the nine Australian athletes detained after being caught tampering with their accreditations in Rio, a practice she said is long-held and commonplace at the Olympics.

The so-called ‘naughty nine’ were charged with falsifying a document after being nabbed with stickers on their accreditations when attempting to gain entry to the Boomers’ basketball semi-final against Serbia on Saturday morning (AEST).

“It’s unfortunately a practice that has been traditional,” an emotional Chiller told reporters.

“[It has been a tradition] not only in Australia but other countries as well for many Olympic Games, of putting a sticker on your accreditation with another venue access code on it.”

Brazilian authorities detained cyclists Ashlee Ankudinoff and Melissa Hoskins, Rugby Sevens player Ed Jenkins, archers Alec Potts and Ryan Tyack, rowers Olympia Aldersey, Fiona Albert and Lucy Stephens, and hockey player Simon Orchard for 10 hours, fining all nine 10,000 reals (about $A4100) each and placing them on a two-year good behaviour bond.

Cyclist Matthew Glaetzer was detained but not charged.

The Australian Olympic Committee issued a statement apologising to the athletes. It has paid the hefty fines to allow them to leave Brazil as scheduled on the Olympic team’s chartered flight on Monday night.

Brazilian authorities were holding the athletes’ passports until the fines were cleared, and they have now been handed back.


kitty chiller
Ed Jenkins was one of the players detained. Photo: Getty

Chiller voiced her support for the group between wiping away tears at a media conference.

“Very disappointed that our athletes had to go through what they did go through last night,” she said.

“I think it’s very important to note that the athletes were definitely not at fault and we have, and will, continue to provide as much support and counselling to them and their parents and that has already commenced.”

Chiller remained tight-lipped when asked how the accreditation tampering could not be the fault of the athletes.

“I can’t be any more specific at this point in time until we’ve completed our own investigation,” she said.

“We will complete our own internal investigation about how the circumstances arose that the athletes arrived in the venue with accreditations with a different access code to their own.”

While the punishments may seem harsh, the outcome could potentially have been far worse for the Australians.

kitty chiller
The Aussies wanted to watch the Boomers play Serbia. Photo: Getty

A charge of falsifying documents can carry a prison term of up to five years, but AOC chief executive Fiona de Jong, who is also a lawyer, brokered a deal with the Rio judge which saw the athletes avoid a conviction.

“We have apologised for that mistake at a state special events court,” a more circumspect de Jong said at the same media conference.

“I think every jurisdiction has its own local laws and we are in Brazil, so we understand that our athletes need to adhere to the Brazilian law.

“But the concept of falsifying a document is probably a universal principle, and that’s what they [the athletes] were asked to answer last night.

“The athletes understood that they had perhaps made a mistake, and understood that there’d be consequences for that.

“We worked with them and the local authorities to work towards a solution.

“Of course we’re making those steps to pay the fine quickly.”

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