Leaked documents that triggered betting dispute may have cost Irish duo podium place at Olympics


SAILING:Irish Sailing has characterised the betting controversy in this summer’s Olympic Games involving Irish sailor Peter O’Leary as “malicious”.

Following an IOC Ethic’s Commission report, ISA Olympic performance director James O’Callaghan has suggested that the timing of the release of documents to an Irish newspaper outlining O’Leary’s betting details may have cost Ireland a medal in Weymouth.

O’Callaghan yesterday noted in a statement that O’Leary and partner David Burrows regularly placed higher than the boat that won the gold medal and that the leaked private documents, which were made public as London 2012 racing was about to begin, may have influenced the performance of the Irish boat. The source of the leak is unknown.

“O’Leary and Burrows placed 10th overall in Weymouth,” said O’Callaghan. “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.”

O’Callaghan also takes issue with the disparity between the story that unfolded prior to the Olympic racing and the facts found by the IOC investigation relating to the particular matter of O’Leary’s betting on a race in the 2008 Games in Beijing.

“While the report clearly shows that O’Leary made a mistake which he freely admitted, it is clear that the rule concerned (regarding betting practices by athletes) 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.”

The ISA statement goes on to express regret that the IOC did not look into how O’Leary’s private details were put into the public domain via a newspaper, nor, did it investigate the motive or timing for the release.

“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,” noted the statement. “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.” O’Leary was not sanctioned following the IOC inquiry.

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