SPORT

Aussie Swimmer Josh Palmer Robbed, Dazed, Confused In Copacabana

The swimmer was forced to withdraw $1,000 in cash from an ATM.

19/08/2016 12:19 AM AEST | Updated August 19, 2016 08:04
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Joshua Palmer competes in the Men's 100m Breaststroke heat 3 on Day 1 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 6, 2016 in Rio.

Australian Rio Olympics swimmer Josh Palmer has been robbed in Copacabana and severely reprimanded by Australian team officials after a late night out that went horribly wrong.

Palmer, who didn't make it past the heats in his 100m breaststroke on night one of the Games, has told officials that he was approached by a man late at night in the famous Rio beachside suburb of Copacabana.

He had been at a nightclub with teammates, but then separated from them and was drinking with a friend at a beachside kiosk when a man approached him. The man forced Palmer to withdraw $1,000 in cash from an automatic teller machine.

Palmer, 25, was found later by two businessmen in the Copacabana district who reported that he was disoriented and had lost his wallet and phone. According to the Australian Olympic Committee, the businessmen then phoned the Australian Consulate, who contacted the Head of Security for the Australian Olympic Team, Greg Nance.

Palmer was eventually picked up from the consulate by Swimming team leader Wayne Lomas.

Palmer is understood to be OK now, but has been banned from attending the closing ceremony. So has swimmer Emma McKeon, a multiple medallist at these Games. McKeon was out with Palmer and other Australian teammates, but she stayed the night with friends in Copa without informing team management.

David Gray / Reuters
McKeon with her bronze medal from the 200m freestyle.

"Palmer and McKeon's behaviour was unacceptable and they breached disciplinary protocols," said Australia's chef de mission in Rio, Kitty Chiller.

Australian swimming team management has now imposed a 2am curfew on all athletes going out to enjoy the Rio nightlife.

"I have raised the need for the Swimming Team Leader to ensure he is aware of his athletes' whereabouts when leaving the Olympic Village and that the swimming athletes observe the 2am curfew," Chiller said.

"Swimming management has also decided athletes must advise the Team Leader of their arrival into the Olympic Village and they must present themselves to a Swimming official by 10am.

"Given the security problems we have encountered over the past few weeks I find the behaviour of the disciplined athletes disrespectful to the remainder of the Team.

"I would like to thank the businessmen who found Josh and delivered him to the Australian Consulate and I appreciate the support given to the Team by Consulate staff".

Chiller said McKeon and Palmer must remain in the Village between 8pm and 8am and only travel to sporting events in official RIO 2016 transport.

Palmer has chosen not to make a formal complaint to police about the robbery. Both athletes have apologised.

Meanwhile, Swimming Australia CEO Mark Anderson issued a statement. Part of it read:

"Our athletes' safety, health and well-being is of paramount importance and the sanctions applied reinforces this position for the two involved athletes and the team.

Over the course of the Olympic Games the Australian swim team has represented Australia and the team well and have been very mindful of their responsibilities as Australian Olympic Team members.

The values of the Olympic Team and the Australian Swim team are our foundation. We hold each other accountable for these values. These are two isolated incidents that do not reflect on the whole team."

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