"Malicious campaign" wrecked Irish sailor's medal hopes it is claimed

Friday, 07 December 2012
By Duncan Mackay

Peter OLeary at London 2012December 7 - Peter O'Leary (pictured left) was the victim of a "malicious campaign" on the eve of London 2012 which wrecked his medal chances, the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) has claimed. 

The Cork sailor's preparations for the Star class in the Olympics where, together with partner David Burrows, he was considered a medal contender was wrecked when he was accused of illegal betting at the previous Games in Beijing four years earlier. 

The allegations emerged following an anonymous email sent to the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) and Irish newspaper giving details of O'Leary's bank account and betting accounts.

It showed that O'Leary had placed two bets worth a total of €300 (£245/$390) on the British pair of Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson to capture the gold medal in the Star class at Beijing at odds of 12-1, and won €3,600 (£2,900/$4,700).

But the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Ethics Commission ruled earlier this week that he should only be warned because his actions did not impact on the final result and that education about the dangers of betting was not as sophisicated as it is now.

"The ISA notes that the facts found present a vastly different picture than the story portrayed on the eve of O'Leary's opening race of the London 2012 Olympics with team-mate David Burrows at Weymouth," said James Callaghan, the performancer director of ISA.

"The effect of this malicious campaign achieved someone's aim. O'Leary and Burrows placed tenth overall in Weymouth.

"Their form prior to this indicated at the very least fifth was attainable.

Peter OLeary and David Burrows London 2012Peter OLeary and David Burrows saw their London 2012 medal chances wrecked by the betting allegations, claims the Irish Sailing Association

"They regularly placed higher than the eventual gold medallists [Sweden's Fredrik Lööf and Max Salminen].

"The effect of this malicious campaign achieved someone's aim.

"The IOC [Ethics] 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.

"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."

Contact the writer of this story at duncan.mackay@insidethegames.biz


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