Emma McKeon looks every bit the innocent Aussie golden girl but there IS a wild side to one of the greatest Olympians ever – and it almost cost her the chance to march in the Rio closing ceremony
Australia’s golden girl Emma McKeon couldn’t have wished for a better Tokyo Olympics – a far cry from the Rio Games in 2016 when she was almost barred from the closing ceremony.
The 27-year-old raked in a total of seven medals at this year’s Games, including four gold — the equal most by any woman in any sport in Olympic history.
But her reputation hasn’t always been as golden as her winning streak, with the swimmer on the verge of getting into big trouble at Brazil‘s Olympiad.
Australian swimmer Emma McKeon (pictured) scooped seven Olympic medals at the Tokyo 2021 games – including four gold
The four-time Rio medallist made headlines at the games after a night out with teammates in Copacabana’s party district saw her fail to return home to the Athletes’ Village.
After her teammates headed home from the late-night party, McKeon chose to stay overnight with friends from the Swedish swim team without telling her coach.
She didn’t return to the village until 10am the next day, with Olympic officials thinking the swimmer was in bed hungover when she missed a morning television cross.
A night out in Copacabana’s party district saw McKeon (pictured far right) initially banned from Rio’s closing ceremony after the AOC found her in breach of team rules
The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) later found McKeon spent the night away from the Athletes’ Village without informing management, making her in breach of team rules.
A disciplinary decision handed down a brutal punishment that saw McKeon banned from marching in the Rio closing ceremony.
The severity of the ban saw Australian MPs like Labor’s Ryan Park weigh in on the controversy and a change.org petition was setup in support of the swimmer.
The Australian scooped up four medals at the Rio 2016 Olympics including silver at the 4x100m Medley Relay (pictured McKeon posing with with relay teammates)
Mckeon, who claimed gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay, later sent a handwritten letter to Australia’s chef de mission Kitty Chiller, requesting that the ban be lifted.
‘The tone and content of her letter, and her conversation with me, proved to me that she now very much understands the seriousness of our safety protocol,’ Ms Chiller told a news conference.
Olympic officials reversed the ban after McKeon’s appeal.
Mckeon has a tally of five Olympic gold medals to her name, the most in Australian history tied alongside Ian Thorpe.