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Chiller puts hand up for 2020 as AOC opens Rio probe

Sport

The Australian Olympic Committee will immediately open an investigation into the accreditation tampering scandal which saw nine athletes detained in Rio, as an emotional Kitty Chiller has declared she wants to stay on as Australia's Olympic team boss for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

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Chiller endured a torrid debut in the job, tasked with improving team culture while also dealing with many security challenges thrown up by the Rio Games and her high-profile performance came in for criticism at times.

However she believes strong groundwork has been laid and she revealed on return home from Rio today that she hoped to stay in the job.

“If people think that I have something to offer I would love to be involved,” Chiller said.

“We’ve set up a great culture in this team now and I would love to continue to build on that in the next four years.”

Australia recorded its worst medal haul in Rio since Barcelona in 1992, with eight golds and 29 in total.

There were also behavioural incidents, with South Australian swimmer Josh Palmer and medalist Emma McKeon sanctioned for late night breaches and several athletes detained for attending the Boomers’ basketball playoff with false accreditation.

The AOC will probe the latter incident, looking into what role others played in the athletes’ entry to the men’s basketball semi-final against Serbia.

AOC chief executive Fiona De Jong says an independent lawyer will take statements from the athletes and anyone else who was involved.

De Jong had to negotiate the release of the nine athletes from a Rio police station following alleged tampering of accreditation passes, seemingly aided by a team official, while a teary Chiller exonerated the athletes of blame and apologised to them.

Chiller today pointed to the youth of the team as cause for greater hope for future performance, despite what she labelled a Games of missed opportunities.

“This was a games where we demonstrated the strength of our youth,” she said.

“Sixty-five per cent of our team were Olympic rookies, 43 per cent under the age of 25, the depth and strength of our team and our youth is our future and Tokyo looms large.”

Having engaged in pre-Games sparring with tennis stars Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic over their behaviour – both opted out of Rio – Chiller largely maintained her hardline disciplinary stance at the Games.

Her performance will be reviewed by the AOC before it decides on its chef de mission for the Tokyo Olympics.

The difficult campaign clearly took a personal toll and Chiller was again teary on the team’s arrival in Sydney.

But she said the team culture was the “biggest success”.

“It was a lot of investment over the last three years and it’s paid off, every single team member bought into it,” Chiller said.

“What you see here today is evident of what you see every day in the village.

“All the athletes supporting each other, working with each other, celebrating and commiserating, it generally was one team.”

-AAP

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