Australians won't be punished for altering Rio credentials

SYDNEY — Australian Olympians Natalie Cook and Lachlan Milne will not be sanctioned for altering accreditations to allow fellow Australian athletes into the country's basketball semifinal against Serbia at the Rio de Janeiro Games.

Cook, a former beach volleyballer, and Milne, a ex-canoeist, were working with the Australian team as athlete services volunteers. They placed stickers on athletes' accreditations to allow them access to the game, an investigation commissioned by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) found.

In a statement Thursday, the AOC said Milne also gave non-scanned tickets to athletes outside the stadium to let them inside. Serbia won the men's semifinal 87-61.

Nine athletes were held by police and later fined over the falsified documents after a plea bargain agreement was reached with a Brazilian court. The AOC paid the fines.

Both Cook and Milne were sent home before the closing ceremony, as were the Australian director of athletes' services, James Edwards, and a team staff member.

According to the investigation conducted by lawyer Patrick George, Australia chef de mission Kitty Chiller had warned Edwards that putting stickers over accreditations to help athletes gain entry to venues must be stopped after she learned it was happening with his knowledge.

George said the behavior of Cook and Milne had damaged the reputation of the AOC and Olympic team, but the two were remorseful for having put the team in an embarrassing position.

Acting on his findings, the AOC said it would seek to have the records of the nine athletes' criminal proceedings expunged.

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