Australia 2016 Olympic Dream: Sign Up, Follow Rules or Risk the Chance

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | November 2, 2012 3:52 PM EST

Australian athletes wanting to take that shot to become part of the delegation to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Rio de Janiero ought to sign up to a statutory declaration swearing they have no doping history, follow rules or risk that Olympic dream.

"If they don't sign, they don't go to the games, they won't be selected," Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) president John Coates said.

Not only athletes are the ones required to sign the document, but coaches and officials as well.

Mr Coates, who will put his proposal later this month to the AOC Executive Board at a meeting in Melbourne, said that if approved, the new ruling will not only affect athletes targeting the 2016 Summer Olympic Games but also will be immediately effected to those participating for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia

"What I don't want is for the AOC to have egg on its face like cycling has," Mr Coates said, referring to the highly-controversial Lance Armstrong doping revelations.

Matt White and Stephen Hodge, both Australian cycling officials, have likewise admitted taking performance-enhancing drugs during their professional cycling days. They have been sacked from national and team positions.

"We're trying to make athletes realise the real risks of doping are not just being caught at the time of testing but being caught with other evidence," Mr Coates said. "We want to make sure there's no hidden treasures back there."

"I'd be happy to sign it to prove to people you can win medals at the Olympics clean," Australian dual Olympian Ken Wallace told The Australian. "It is a big step for cleaner sport. It's a serious step for sure."

Imprisonment and heavy fines face those who will declare a false declaration under oath under the new proposal.

"In my opinion, we simply cannot allow the name of the AOC to be damaged, like that of the International Cycling Union, for not having taken every reasonable step possible to ensure that no person in authority on our Olympic team has a doping history," Mr Coates said.

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