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Australian Olympic Committee blocks Athletics Australia from appointing controversial head coach

Australian Olympic Committee blocks Athletics Australia from appointing controversial head coach
March 20, 2015

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has moved to block the prospective appointment of Canadian Kevin Tyler - a former training partner of the disgraced Ben Johnson - as the new Australian head athletics coach.

Tyler, who denied accusations given under oath by his then-coach Charlie Francis that he took performance-enhancing drugs in the 1980s while a top-level sprinter and bobsledder, was on a short-list of six to replace the controversial Eric Hollingsworth as Australian coach.

Tyler was never convicted of any doping offences and insisted he did not knowingly take any banned substances.

However, AOC President John Coates says if Athletics Australia (AA) goes ahead and offers the coaching job to the Canadian, he would be barred from any official role at next year's Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

In a statement, Coates explained "the AOC Executive (has) resolved to inform Athletics Australia that it will decline to appoint Kevin Tyler as an official of the 2016 Australian Olympic Team if nominated by Athletics Australia."

Interim Athletics Australia Chief Executive Phil Jones says his organisation fully understands the AOC's decision, which made it impossible to consider offering Tyler the job.

Jones stated "in many ways he had some good skills to be given the role so we'd have liked him to be a candidate but I don't think we're surprised by the AOC's position given the history and other decisions they have made.

"We understand and accept the decision, as it's the AOC's decision to make.

"We asked the question because we wanted to work out whether Kevin was a candidate or not.

"We've got the answer, which is certainly not unexpected, and now we can move on."

Tyler was the head of coaching and development for UK Athletics at the London Olympics, where he worked alongside current AA high performance director Simon Nathan.

Tyler is currently is now the head track and field coach at Oklahoma University.

The other candidates being considered to replace Hollingsworth in the top coaching job at Athletics Australia include Australians Nic Bideau and Craig Hilliard.

Bideau is a previous coach of Cathy Freeman and Craig Mottram, while Hilliard is the high performance coach of the Australian Institute of Sport.

Jones says the AOC's call on Tyler should not hold up the appointment of a new coach, with the board to continue evaluating the other five candidates.

The situation involving Tyler rekindled memories of AA's ill-fated attempt back in 1997 to appoint Ekkart Arbeit - a central figure in the systemic sports doping program by East Germany in the 1970s and 1980s - as head coach.

That decision was overturned following a furious backlash from past and present Australian athletes, politicians and sports officials.

Arbeit was later found to have been a spy for the East German secret police.

AA has been searching for a new coach since parting ways with Hollingsworth in the wake of the shambolic Glasgow Commonwealth Games campaign.

Hollingsworth unloaded on Olympic and world champion Sally Pearson on the eve of her 100 metres hurdles title defence, saying she had set a bad example to the entire national team after skipping a pre-Games training camp in England.

Dallas O'Brien also resigned as AA Chief Executive in the wake of the Glasgow Games.

Jones is among the candidates to replace O'Brien on a permanent basis.
AAP

2nd March 2015 - INDEPENDENT REVIEW CALLS FOR MAJOR CHANGES TO ATHLETICS IN AUSTRALIA

8th December 2014 - LACK OF LEADERSHIP BLAMED FOR POOR AUSTRALIAN ATHLETICS PERFORMANCE AT GLASGOW COMMONWEALTH GAMES

6th December 2014 - PHIL JONES NAMED ATHLETICS AUSTRALIA INTERIM CHIEF EXECUTIVE

11th August 2012 - FAIRFAX MEDIA SLAM AOC’S OLYMPIC PERFORMANCE AND FUNDING CLAIMS 

6th August 2012 - AOC’S COATES CALLS FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO SCHOOL SPORT


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