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Friday, 07 December 2012

Irish Sailing Hits Out at O'Leary Treatment Prior to London Olympics

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#olympic – Following publication of the report by the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Ethics Commission this week the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) has responded to the findings relating to its sailor Peter O'Leary during the 2008 Beijing Games.

The ISA has hit back at what it has described as a  'malicious campaign' aimed at its Star helmsman that began on the eve of the London Olympics.

 O'Leary's performance in Weymouth was overshadowed by the IOC probe into the Irish sailors bet on the winner of the Star Class Olympic results four years earlier.

The IOC issued the Cork helmsman with a warning this week but this has not drawn a line on the matter with the ISA retaliating this afternoon.

The IOC statement said that they had found "no proof of any match-fixing" and that O'Leary "was not fully aware" of a new protocol against participants betting on Olympic results.

An ISA statement released this afternoon notes that the facts found present a vastly different picture than the story portrayed on the eve of O'Leary's opening race of the London 2012 Olympics with team-mate David Burrows at Weymouth.

The Irish Sailing Association statement says:

While the report clearly shows that O'Leary made a mistake which he freely admitted, it is clear that the rule concerned was a recent development unknown to many athletes, not just O'Leary. While he had been a competitor in the event on which he placed a bet, the report states that this was done on the day of the race for which he had not qualified. Therefore he was not in a position to affect the outcome of the competition which is the purpose of the ban on betting by athletes.

'O'Leary and Burrows placed tenth overall in Weymouth. Their form prior to this indicated at the very least fifth was attainable. They regularly placed higher than the eventual Gold medallists. The effect of this malicious campaign achieved someone's aim.' stated James O'Callaghan, ISA Olympic Performance Director.

The IOC report did not refer to the manner in which this matter was brought into the public arena except to state that it arose from an anonymous email. The motive and timing of this matter, some four years after it occurred has left many unanswered questions.

The ISA regrets that these questions have never been properly probed prior to, during or since this summer's Olympics.


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