A married heterosexual couple who are both on the Australian team for the London 2012 Olympics have claimed that they are being discriminated against over gay couples because they were told they couldn’t share a room in the Olympic Village.
Shooter Russell Mark told News Ltd newspapers that he was told that he and wife Lauryn Mark, also on the Australian shooting team, would have to stay at a hotel at their own expense if they wished to room together during the games.
‘The stupid part of this, which I have argued to them, is that there are tons of gay couples on the Olympic team who will be rooming together so we are being discriminated against because we are heterosexual,’ Russell Mark told News Ltd.
Russell Mark told News Ltd that he believed the decision was payback for his speaking out against the Australian Olympic Committee’s (AOC) ban on the sleeping tablet Stilnox, and his wife’s decision to pose in a bikini for a lad’s mag.
‘They are pissed with my stance on sleeping tablets and what pissed them more than anything else is the photo shoot,’ Russell Mark said.
‘It’s just too hard for them. What I am asking them isn’t too hard but it’s obvious the AOC have a problem with it.’
Lauryn Mark agreed with her husband’s sentiments.
‘I am very frustrated because in sport there are a lot of same sex couples and its OK to be partners with someone of the same sex but if you are heterosexual you are penalized,’ Lauryn Mark told News Ltd.
However an AOC spokesman told News Ltd that it was up to Australian shooting officials to allocate where athletes slept in the Olympic Village, not the AOC.
The only openly gay sportspeople on the Australian 2012 Olympic team are champion diver Matthew Mitcham and beach volleyballer Nat Cook.
However Mitcham’s partner Lachlan Fletcher is not a professional athlete, and while Cook’s wife Sarah Maxwell is also a beach volleyballer, she not on the Olympic team, so it is unclear who the Marks are referring to.