Rio 2016 Olympics: Australia sanctions swimmers for breaching security protocol

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Kitty Chiller Australian Olympic Committee
Kitty Chiller (R), Chef de Mission for Australia at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, leads a news conference with boxer Daniel Lewis in which she described the problems that her country's delegation encountered with the athletes' housing in Rio de Janeiro, July 25, 2016. Reuters/Rickey Rogers

Swimmers Josh Palmer and Emma McKeon are barred from attending the Rio 2016 Olympics closing ceremony this Sunday after breaching safety and security protocols set by the Australian Olympic Committee.

An 8 p.m. curfew was also imposed to Palmer and McKeon, who went out partying with fellow swimmers Tuesday night and returned late to the Olympic Village. Palmer claimed he was robbed at Copacabana Beach, but he refused to report the incident to the police. McKeon, meanwhile, decided to stay with two friends instead of returning to the Olympic Village by herself, but she did so without telling anyone.

Due to the incident, the rest of the Australian swimming team were also required to be back to the Olympic Village by 2 a.m. This, according to AOC chief Kitty Chiller, is meant to ensure the security of the athletes until the end of the Olympic Games. 

“This is not a punishment. This is us ensuring that the safety and security of all out team members remain paramount,” Chiller told media in Brazil.

“This could have ended up a lot worse… I do not want to have to call a parent and tell them their child has been mugged, robbed or anything worse.”

According to Palmer’s account, he was mugged and forced to withdraw $1,000 from an automated teller machine after a drinking spree in Copacabana. An intoxicated and disoriented Palmer was brought to the Australian Consulate Wednesday.

For her part, McKeon had violated team rules when she failed to inform the team about her whereabouts.

“To clarify, I’ve followed AOC safety protocol in not travelling to village alone. My error was not texting my team manager,” McKeon said on Twitter.

But Chiller maintained, "Palmer and McKeon's behavior was unacceptable and they breached disciplinary protocols.

“I have raised the need for the swimming team leader to ensure he is aware of his athlete's whereabouts when leaving the Olympic Village."

Aside from the 8 p.m. curfew, Palmer and McKeon are limited to using official Rio Games transportation when travelling to sporting events.

WATCH: Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller tells media about disciplinary sanctions imposed to Josh Palmer and Emma McKeon

(Video courtesy of the Australian Olympic Team

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