By Duncan Mackay at the Palace Hotel in Lausanne

Peter OLeary London 2012December 4 - Irish sailor Peter O'Leary has escaped being banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) despite winning a four figure sum after betting on an opponent to win in the same event he was competing in at Beijing in 2008, it was announced here today.

O'Leary 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 odds of 12-1, and won €3,600 (£2,900/$4,700).

But the IOC Ethics Commission have decided that he should only be warned because his actions did not impact on the final result.

"There was no proof of any match-fixing," said Mark Adams, the IOC spokesman.

The IOC bars athletes from betting on Olympic events but the Ethics Commission claimed competitors in 2008 may not have been as familiar with the regulations as they are now.

Sailing 2008Peter O'Leary and partner Stephen Milne take on Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson, the British pair O'Leary bet on to win, at the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center during the 2008 Games

O'Leary failed to qualify for the medal race on which he had bet.

But the matter did not come to light until the eve of London 2012 when someone sent an anonymous email to the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) with, what the IOC, described as "a large number of details about the circumstances of the bet". 

Details of O'Leary's bank account and betting accounts were given to a national newspaper in Dublin at the same time.

The IOC has been eager to tackle illegal gambling and corruption by monitoring betting patterns during the Games and informing athletes of what they can and cannot do.

The 29-year-old from Cork claimed that he was not aware that he was doing anything wrong "when openly betting on his own account at the betting operator."

O'Leary, who apologised to the IOC, also claimed that the OCI team member's agreement he signed did not mention the specific issue.

"The athlete was unaware he could not bet on Olympic events," said Adams.

"It is not something we agree with and we condemn it but we will not take any more action." 

O'Leary, is the grandson of Sir Robin Aisher, who competing for Britain, won a bronze medal in the 5.5 metre class at Mexico City in 1968.

The scandal is widely considered to have wrecked O'Leary's own chances of a medal at London 2012.

He and his team mate David Burrows went into the Games trumpeted as Ireland's best hope of an Olympic sailiing medal since David Wilkins and James Wilkinson took silver in Moscow 32 years ago.

But in the end, having to compete under the toll of the media pressure, they finished tenth in an event won by Swedish pair  Fredrik Lööf and Max Salminen, just ahead of Percy and Simposn.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

elated stories
August 2012: Future of Irish sailor in betting scandal still uncertain