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Australia

Australia's Olympic swimmers admit taking banned sleeping drug Stilnox

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 February, 2013, 4:57am
AFP

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The much-hyped Australia men's Olympic freestyle swim relay team yesterday owned up to taking sleeping medication banned by their country's Olympic committee and performing "stupid" pre-Games pranks.

Members of the 4x100m freestyle relay team led by James Magnussen admitted taking Stilnox tablets at a training camp in Manchester, and then making random prank calls and knocking on the doors of teammates.

"We have let ourselves down, and the people who have supported us," Magnussen, Eamon Sullivan, James Roberts, Matt Targett, Cameron McEvoy and Tommaso D'Orsogna said in a statement. "We own up to it … and are deeply sorry for it."

The six were dubbed the "Weapons of Mass Destruction" before the Games but failed to make the podium in their event.

"We did take part in a bonding exercise during which members of the relay team took Stilnox … [after] we went to the movies and went to dinner," they said. "We also acknowledge that our actions on the night were stupid."

Recreational users of the sleeping medication often deliberately try to stay awake, which can induce a "high" and even cause hallucinations.

The swimmers, who will now face an integrity panel, said their behaviour was childish but insisted there was "definitely nothing untoward in their actions", none of them was drunk and they were all in bed by 10.30pm.