Aussie shooters barred from sharing room

Last updated 18:33 17/07/2012
Lauryn Mark
Zoo Magazine
CONTROVERSY: Olympic shooter Lauryn Mark poses for a photo shoot in Zoo magazine.

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Australian double trap shooter Russell Mark has accused the Australian Olympic Committee of double standards after they barred him from rooming with his wife - and teammate - at the London Olympics while gay couples will share beds.

Mark and his American-born wife Lauryn were told by team chef de mission Nick Green they could not cohabitate in the Olympic Village before they flew out for London yesterday.

The 48-year-old six-time Olympian believes the ban is retribution for his stance in support of athletes being able to use sleeping pills - a vigorous debate sparked by the AOC banning the medication Stilnox earlier this month - and his wife's photo shoot for a men's magazine.

A shotgun-toting Lauryn, 32, posed in a bikini for the spread in an the latest issue Zoo magazine, which was released hours before the couple flew out.

She agreed to the photo shoot to save her husband from an embarrassing scenario at the Games opening ceremony after he lost a bet with a young shooter he coaches.

Mark vowed to wear a Borat-style "Mankini" at the ceremony if his Aussie Rules team Carlton lost to St Kilda in May.

St Kilda won but his wife offered to do a photo shoot instead providing money was donated to a Melbourne hospital.

The couple were told they would have to rent a hotel room if they wanted to stay together during the Games.

They have opted to stay in the village so Mark will room with Michael Diamond and his wife will share with another female shooter.

Mark said there was a clear double standard because gay couples on the team were able to share accommodation but heterosexuals in a relationship could not.

"The stupid part of this is 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." he told news.com.au.

"Every couple, whether they are married or de facto should have the AOC trying to bend over backwards to accommodate their needs.

"They are pissed with my stance on sleeping tablets and what pissed them more than anything else is the photo shoot."

The couple, who have three children, said they had been able to stay in the same room when competing at other events.

"I knew the Zoo shoot might be a problem but now I know what a big problem it was. It has created a huge backlash with the AOC," Lauryn said.

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- Fairfax Media

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