'U can't lie no more': Steffensen hits out at athletics boss on Twitter
by Samantha Lane
July 17, 2012
Twitter rant ... John Steffensen. Photo: Danielle Smith
John Steffensen has heaped a further tirade of criticism on Athletics Australia chief executive Dallas O'Brien despite incurring criticism himself from Olympic chef de mission, Nick Green, who has made his disappointment in the outspoken sprinter clear since landing at the Games village in London.
Hoping for a late call-up to race the individual 400 metres at the Olympics after being named as a reserve for the event - seemingly against the wishes of O'Brien - Steffensen claimed that AA's high performance director Eric Hollingsworth has been gagged over the saga, and that O'Brien had lied about events that have left the window open for the dual Commonwealth Gold medallist to race instead of teenager Steve Solomon.
After national Olympic boss Green yesterday chastised Steffensen for his outspokeness around his non-selection for the individual race - Steffensen has raised racism as a factor - the sprinter launched another barrage of criticism against O'Brien on Twitter. His posts included:
"Dallas u can't lie no more!I have a paper trail for days!Save your self n start telling the truth!U can't hide behind bias media!
"I dare someone to interview me and Dallas our Ceo together!! He would nerver (sic.) do cause he knows would expose the lies!! Why they gag eric!!
"...it took me 8 Years to expose the injustice Dallas you made a promise to me this year and I kept quiet!Now u wanna lie in the paper"
After international press, including USAToday and EuroNews, picked up on saga but wrongly described Steffensen as Indigenous, the 30-year-old highlighted the error. Steffensen's heritage is South African.
A member of the 4x400 metre relay team that won silver at the Athens Olympics, Steffensen initially threatened to boycott the London Games over his non-selection in the individual event. Though Steffensen won the 400 metres at the Olympic trials early this year, Solomon has since been picked ahead of the 30-year-old after posting better times and winning back-to-back national titles.
Steffensen did not defend his Commonwealth Games crowns in Delhi two years ago, pulling out in another storm of controversy in which he accused Athletics Australia of being "egotistical and outdated". He was subsequently banned for three months for bringing the sport into disrepute.