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Monday, May 7, 2012

Nick D'Arcy and the London Olympics

Nick D'Arcy seriously injured fellow swimmer Simon Cowley in a Sydney nightclub in 2008 and was ordered to pay him $370,000 in damages plus costs.  His behaviour was condemned and he lost his place on the Olympic swimming team and his chance to shine at the Beijing Olympics.

It took a long time for Cowley to heal, surgeons inserted a total of five plates into his face, one under his fractured eye socket, two on either side of his broken nose, and another two in his jaw.

Initially, D'Arcy was defiant and denied everything but finally admitted he had a drinking problem and anger issues.  But instead of doing the right thing and going to Cowley to work something out, he declared himself bankrupt and somewhere between three and five years, whatever he owes is not repayable.

Justin D'Arcy

When John Coats, Olympic Australian Committee President announced he was terminating Nick's membership of the 2008 Olympic team, his father was furious.  Nick seemed to take the decision in his stride but his father, Justin D'Arcy, a general surgeon, was outraged and immediately appealed through the Court of Arbitration of Sport.  But the decision was upheld and he didn't get to go with his team mates to Beijing.

David Urquhart

There is now an accusation that Swimming Australia did a deal with D'Arcy after he threatened to sue.  It's alleged that if D'Arcy dropped the threat to sue, they would shelve a judiciary committee inquiry into his behaviour and guarantee him a place on future teams.

In 2009, Swimming Australia released a media statement in which President David Urquhart was quoted as saying "It was good to be able to speak to Nick and also his family and lawyers and come to an agreement that all parties were satisfied with."

Mr Urquhart has denied there was any deal made and on Saturday he said "There was no deal done with anyone about anything as far as I'm concerned."

Laurie Lawrence, mentor to several swimmers heading to London said "I'm happy to work with the boy and nothing would please me more than to see him get up in London and beat Michael Phelps in the 200 metre butterfly."  But even if he wins, will the Australian people forgive him?