Australia: Olympic 4x100m free relay gold medalist Melanie Schlanger has become the first member of the London 2012 squad to call for head coach Leigh Nugent to fall on his sword. In a week that delivered two damning reports that revealed the extent of bad behaviour, members of the men's 4x100m free relay team at the heart of the crisis of culture attended a press conference to make a public confession. Now the focus is shifting to dry land. Schlanger tells Wayne Smith at The Australian, that she believed Nugent had changed his story several times when it came to when knew that some of the relay boys had taken Stilnox, a prescription sleeping pill often used by athletes trying to cope with jet lag but banned by the Australian Olympic Committee. "I personally don't trust him to be our head coach," said Schlanger. "His story changes every day. How can he stand up in front of the team and tell us what we can and can't do? The situation has become far too volatile for him to remain as head coach. If he was a football coach in any code, his job would have been taken away already. The fact that we are an Olympic sport shouldn't make us any different." Pro-sport Down Under has much greater problems, of course, with legal action pending on those alleged to have been involved in doping and match fixing). The views of any swimmers there in Manchester and London when it all unfolded last year carry weight. Those views differ, however, the likes of Olympic silver medallists Emily Seebohm and James Magnussen having already having provided different versions of events on "the night of pranks" at holding camp in Manchester. Swimming Australia president Barclay Nettlefold insists that Nugent has his full support. Nettlefold, meanwhile, today tweeted Schlanger with "enjoy the footy. My brother was an ex lions player#oneofmyfavouriteAFLteams". Coach Michael Bohl told Smith that Nugent still had the support of Australian coaches, just as one Olympic coach also suggested that that may not be the case. Expect further developments from Down Under. Five months to Barcelona world titles.
Anti-doping: Lance Armstrong is being sued by the United States Government. The action alleges that the now-shamed cyclist defrauded the US Postal Service by accepting sponsorship money and then taking banned performance-enhancing drugs. The Government has joined a civil suit against Armstrong, the American who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life from cycling late last year after the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) found him guilty of using drugs for most of his career. Armstrong confirmed his deception in an interview with Oprah Winfrey this year. Travis Tygart, the chief executive of USADA, is reported to have written to the US Attorney General Eric Holder on January 14, urging him to join the civil case. The letter is dated the same day as Armstrong confessed to Oprah, that interview broadcast three and four days later. "This lawsuit is designed to help the Postal Service recoup the tens of millions of dollars it paid out to the Tailwind cycling team based on years of broken promises," Ronald Machen, the US Attorney for Washington, D.C., said in a statement. The sponsorship money totalled more than $30 million, the Government said.
Great Britain: World s/c, European and Commonwealth 400IM champion Hannah Mileyclocked 8:33.98 to win the 800m freestyle on the opening evening at Britain's university champs in Sheffield. Closest to her was Ellie Faulkner, on 8:38.08. The men's 1500m free went to Daniel Fogg in 15:30.51, his effort a negative split.
USA: Olympic champion 18-times over, Michael Phelps donned a Baltimore Orioles No. 18 jersey and took batting practice with the squad in Sarasota, Florida, this week. A golfer since stepping down from his swim blocks in the wake of a London 2012 swansong in the pool, Phelps made his stop at the baseball club during a break from filming for the reality show in which he's learning to play golf. One of the coaches apparently told Phelps “use your lower half. This ain’t no breaststroke.” Nor butterfly but if ever there was a swimmer who used his lower hal;f better than any baseball player ever did it would be Phelps.
USA: Banned swim coach Rick Curl pleaded guilty to one count of child sexual abuse involving one of his former swimmers, Kelley Currin, in the 1980s, during proceedings this week. Sentencing is set for May 23. Curl, 63, faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.