Australian shooter looks to defuse Olympic Village room-sharing dispute
Thursday, 19 July 2012
July 19 - Shooter Russell Mark has looked to calm his row with the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) after he publically complained that he was not allowed to share a room with his wife Lauryn at the Olympic Village despite the pair having both qualified for London 2012.
Mark (pictured above, right), who won gold in the men's double trap at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics before taking silver in front of a home crowd at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, expressed his frustration after being banned from sharing a room with his wife, who is also a shooter, despite the fact that he claims gay couples are sharing beds at the Olympic Village.
The 48-year-old said he believed the decision was due to the fact that his wife (pictured above, left and below) posed for a provocative photo-shoot in Zoo magazine and also because he recently criticised the AOC for banning the sleeping pill Stilnox.
The incident has led to a war of words between the couple and Australia's Chef de Mission Nick Green but Mark said he has now accepted the decision and admitted it is important that the row now comes to an end so that everyone involved can concentrate fully on the Olympics.
"I put up my argument and they put up their argument and they won," he said at a press conference here.
"We need to concentrate on shooting now.
"It's not perfect but that's the way it is.
"I don't agree with that but it's the Olympic Games.
"This issue has got far too much publicity because there is not much other controversy here but I hope it will all go away soon.
"The decision has been made and the last thing I wanted was for this to turn into a slanging match between Nick Green and myself so we simply have to move on.
"I'm not saying I won't sneak across the hall though.
"Officially I won't be; but unofficially perhaps."
He also insisted he had not meant to insult the gay community when making his earlier comments about not being able to sleep in the Olympic Village with his wife while gay couples were.
"It wasn't an anti-gay comment by any means," Mark said.
"It is sort of strange that the irony of this is that I am not gay, but my heterosexual wife and I were not allowed to stay together.
"That was the analogy, but if people take it the wrong way there is nothing I can do about that.
"I apologise if it went the wrong way.
"I heard Matty Mitcham [Australia's men's reigning 10 metre platform diving Olympic champion who is openly gay] took it the wrong way, but it was not a crack at him by any means."
Lauryn has also looked to play the issue down.
"Once a decision has been made, it would be silly to dwell on it and let it affect our performance, so now comes down to being focused," said the triple Commonwealth Games champion.
"If who we room with affects our performance then we are not strong enough athletes.
"We've got to get on with the job of hitting clay targets and try to win gold medals."