Betting Scandal Hits Olympic Sailing
Allegations of illegal betting have prompted Olympic chiefs to investigate the Irish squad, namely sailor Peter O’Leary.
O’Leary was the recipient of other such charges during the Beijing games in 2008 when he placed wagers on a competitor. Wagers totaling €49 and €259 were submitted using his personal account resulting in a total payout of nearly €4,000.
Chalking it up as a “naive mistake”, O’Leary acknowledged the act and said that his first year appearance during the games in Beijing left him far from medal competition. Due to these circumstances he didn’t see it as a conflict of interest.
A rule was introduced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) during the Beijing Olympics barring any competitor from placing wagers against themselves during competition.
The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) issued a statement yesterday that outlined a formal request for, “a full disclosure of documentation from the person making the allegation so that the allegation can be investigated in a fair and proper manner”.
Currently O’Leary and teammate David Burrows rank second overall in the Star class. The two are favored to win the first sailing medal for Ireland in 32 years. The last was a silver medal, won by David Wilkins and James Wilkinson.
Spokesmen for O’Leary’s who preferred to not be named remained steadfast in the claim that rules regarding betting were only instated as early as one year ago. However, the IOC maintains participants in Beijing were required to sign documents barring them from placing wagers on their own events.
O’Leary will have the chance to submit his defense in writing to the investigating committee. It remains unclear whether or not O’Leary’s government funding will be revoked or if he will indeed be allowed to finish out his Olympic performance.