John Steffensen fires another verbal tirade at Athletics Australia

JOHN Steffensen has accused Athletics Australia of racism after being overlooked for an individual 400m spot at the Olympic Games.
The Commonwealth Games champion last night launched a Twitter attack and threatened to boycott the Olympics after rising teenage star Steve Solomon was given the only available position.

And he did not let up this morning, appearing on Channel 9 and accusing AA of discriminating against him.

“I’ve put up with being racially vilified by this federation, being discriminated against on many teams,” Steffensen said.

“It’d help if I was (a) different colour, then a lot of decisions with my federation would be totally different, but I’ve never brought that up, I’ve always kept quiet on that.”

“But it is the fact, it’s the way it is, but I live with it and I keep running and I keep representing my country and I keep winning Australian trials.”

Steffensen last night suggested he might withdraw from the Games, giving up his position in the 4x400m relay team.

“I dnt want no handouts cause I didn’t earn my spot!! But if they put another ath ahead of me then I’m pulling out the games!!” he tweeted.

It was always going to be a tough decision for the AA selectors as Steffensen and Solomon both had B-standard qualifying times, but had failed to run the A-standard which would have guaranteed selection.

Steffensen defeated Solomon in the Olympic trial in March before getting injured in the final of the Stawell Gift, with that hamstring injury coming back to haunt his London preparation.

While he has struggled, 19-year-old Solomon has excelled and won a bronze medal at the world junior championships in Barcelona on Friday in a personal-best time of 45.52sec - just 0.22sec outside the A-standard time.

Steffensen received confirmation of his non-selection via email from AA chairman of selectors Dion Russell.

The 29-year-old again indicated this morning he was reconsidering his future after the Games snub.

“Do you think I do this for fun? You think I waste my time running at training for fun? For this? No, they can have athletics, I don’t need to do this no more, I’m happy with my life,” he said.

“I followed the rules, I run trials, I win trials, I didn’t make the qualification. You never heard of me this last six months. I didn’t say nothing. I was going to run the relay and go home and do the right thing by the sport.”

“So now I’m saying something because they’re not doing the right thing by me and at age 30 and the amount of years and effort I’ve put into the sport and the medals and everything I’ve done for the sport, I deserve a little bit of respect.”

There are many who are predicting Solomon could become one of the best 400m runners in the world. “This kid is a gun,” leading coach Nic Bideau said.

Former Olympian and Channel 9 commentator David Culbert hasn’t ruled out Solomon being a factor in London.

“He certainly has all the goods to make the final, he’s that good,” he said.

Solomon was defeated by the Dominion Republic’s Luguelin Santos, who has won a number of races on the European circuit this year and, despite only being 18, is considered a medal threat in London.

Steffensen, who turns 30 next month, has never been selected for an individual 400m berth at the Olympics even though he has been to the past two Games as a member of the 4x400m relay team.

Don’t know John Steffensen’s particular circumstances but racial villification would be a hard allegation to sustain against Athletics Australia which has appointed to black British men as head coach/high performance managers out of the last three men to be in the role. They are Eric Hollingsworth (2009- current) and Keith Connor (late 2000 to mid-2005 from memory), both of whom have held the role for at least four years.

plus they have selected several aboriginals over many years…

I can understand the frustration he is going through.

A bit over the top.

All he had to do was run the A standard…

Sounds like the OC have nominated 2 athletes.

If the OG are their own identity then AA maybe should have followed protocol then maybe ???

Eric Hollingsworth is black? I must be color blind LOL.

More coloured than Steffensen (and for that matter darker skinned than some of the blonde Aborigines protesting for Land Rights.) albeit Steff is from South Africa OK.

I know he irritates people with his antics, but when you beat someone at trials and they take some younger guy, I’d be pissed too. The amount of time, energy given to training (not to mention other opportunities forsaken) for a 30 year old athlete must be respected. Yes, if he ran the A standard that would have been ideal, but sometimes it’s physically impossible, in this case possibly because he ran a lucrative pro race with a markedly different velocity curve than his specialty because the money may have been too good to pass up. Is that the likely scenario KitKat?

Are you serious Neospeed? You need to get your eyes checked. Eric has the same skin colour as Steffensen. Point KK is making is that if there was any semblance of truth to Steffensen’s racial vilification claims, neither Keith Connor or Eric Hollingsworth would have got a look in as head coach.

This is typical of Steffensen - when he’s running well, he’s happy, enjoys the limelight and the accolades.

BUT when he’s struggling (46.45 last start suggests he’s a long way from decent shape) he creates confrontations and accuses everyone else of conspiring against him. AA and especially its CEO Dallas O’Brien have worked overtime helping this bloke and as soon as he misses out to a 19 year old who is in much better shape, it’s AA’s fault and Dallas is a liar.

When pressed for one example of this alleged racial vilification, he claims “no-one wants to know about that stuff” so he offers nothing.

On the contrary if there have been incidents of him being disadvantaged on account of the colour of his skin then WE all want to know about it. The media would be all over it.

An out of form Steffensen is an out of control Steffensen. He refuses to acknowledge the reality of his current predicament. There’s a guy 11 years his junior in much better nick and that’s why Steve Solomon has been selected for an individual spot.

Anything but blame himself so that he can remain king of his own castle. He is ruled by his ego…

I think the race card is a bit over the top.

He won the selection trials and has a ‘B’ qualifier. My understanding is that is enough to get him selected (as no one run an ‘A’)

AA have said he will not be running the individual 400m as Solomon is in better form. Well that is correct, as Solomon has raced at World Juniors and John has been getting over injuries and preparing himself for the relays.

I don’t agree with how AA has handled this situation at all. I am all for Solomon running the individual 400, but he gets in on selectors discretion as is allowed under the selection criteria to give an athlete experience for Rio and not because he is the inform athlete.

Perhaps we are referring to a different Eric Hollingsworth. This is the Eric Hollingsworth that that I have seen up close in person and I have seen some blonde Swedes with a darker skin tone after spending a bit of time in the sun LMFAO!

That’s OK Neospeed, I can only assume you’ve never seen Eric in real life and have to rely on pictures to form your opinion. I’ve known Eric since his days at Williamstown Athletic Club in the early 90’s and from my the numerous times I have met and dealt with the bloke, it’s ludicrous to compare him with a blond swede. I think the comparison with another Englishman - Daley Thompson would be far more apt.

john steffensen2.jpg

eric hollingsworth.jpg

This argument is pretty stupid really, so lets get back to the gist of the issue…I believe our sport at the top level is 100% free of any racism and Steffensen’s unsubstantiated rants are akin to bringing the sport into disrepute. He needs to be made accountable for the comments. AA needs to organise an independent commission to investigate his claims (and call his bluff). Otherwise he will continue to cast aspersions on people’s characters and attract further bad publicity to the sport.

Daley Thompson clearly looks part black because his father is/was black. His mother is white. Keith Connor clearly looks black.
EH looks like he may have a touch of Pakistani or something in him, but no African ancestry, if you ask me. I’ve seen him many times when he trained his athletes at Sandringham athletics track. I agree that his skin tone is not much different to Steffensen’s.
I know a blonde Swede whose skin tans really well in the summer to the extent that it looks no lighter than the skin of EH & Steff.
Nuff said! :smiley:

John Steffensen drama haunts athletics boss Eric Hollingsworth

by: Glenda Korporaal
From:The Australian
July 25, 2012

John Steffensen talks with Athletics Australia national high performance manager Eric Hollingsworth. Picture: Michael Dodge Source: News Limited

IT was one of those comments that stops a press conference in its tracks. Athletics Australia high-performance manager Eric Hollingsworth was meant to talk about the strength of the Australian track and field team.

But the press conference, in the drama theatre of the Tonbridge School where the Australian athletes are training, was overshadowed by the comments of outspoken 400m runner John Steffensen, who erupted with anger on Twitter two weeks ago when he was passed over for the 400m individual event.

Hollingsworth became increasingly short as he was asked several questions about Steffensen’s allegations that he had been the victim of racism by Athletics Australia officials in the past.

Finally he could contain himself no more.

[b]“This isn’t a sun tan I’ve got, ladies and gentlemen,” he declared to the assembled press. “I’m very sure of that.”

Hollingsworth was born in London to a Polish mother and a father from Trinidad. His message was clear. He is not a racist.[/b]

So he was annoyed that Steffensen’s outspoken comments and his allegations of racism dominated the press conference.

Steffensen claims an official abused him in Beijing and removed his bags from a room he shared with team captain Steve Hooker at the athletes village.

“The staff member that was involved in that incident in Beijing isn’t on this team. So as far as this team goes I don’t believe John has any issues with anyone on this team,” Hooker said yesterday.

“That is stuff from the past and unfortunately John is still carrying that around with him and still has an issue with it.”

Steffensen, 29, a member of the 4x400m relay team that won silver in Athens, has been selected in the relay team for London.

Running almost a second slower at the moment than up-and-comer Steve Solomon, 19, who is also on the 4x400 relay team, Steffensen reacted angrily when he learned Solomon had been selected for the 400m.

Hollingsworth said he still expected that Steffensen would run the relay, despite his public threats not to take part if Solomon was selected for the 400m.

“He is in camp, he’s here,” said Hollingsworth. "He’s going to start his training program once he gets over this setback and we will get on with business.

“My focus is only on Australia and what we are going to try to achieve over the next couple of weeks. The rest of it, as far as I am concerned, is behind me and we are moving forward with what we are trying to achieve.”

In sharp contrast to Steffensen, Solomon, who also appeared before the press for the first time since the controversy erupted, insisted he was not affected by Steffensen’s comments. He said the chemistry of the men’s 4x400 metre team would remain strong.

Solomon, who has just won a bronze medal in the World Junior Championships in Barcelona in a personal best time of 45.52sec (still outside the Olympic A-qualifying time of 45.30sec), said he was not worried about Steffensen’s comments.

“In all honesty I wasn’t aware of the tidal wave outbreak (as a result of Steffensen’s comments) because I was in competition in Barcelona,” Solomon said.

Solomon said he was confident the relay team would run well.

“We are all good friends in the 4x400 team,” he said. “We are all cracking jokes and having a good time together. I don’t think our performance will be hindered by this. In fact I think it may be strengthened by the chemistry that we do have together. It will give us an added edge over the other teams who do come in and run as four individual runners.”

Solomon said his recent performances in Europe had given him the confidence that “I am in PB shape and that I can mix it with the best in the world, age or non-age relevant”.

Solomon said Steffensen’s comments against his selection for the individual 400m did not put any pressure on him in his preparation for the Olympics.

“The biggest pressure that I get from anyone is the pressure that I put on myself,” he said. "That is always at the top, so any pressure I get from other athletes is almost irrelevant because I am the one putting pressure on myself to perform.

"I am just really looking forward to going into the championships and hopefully doing the best I can for myself and my country.

“I am in a really happy place at the moment and I usually perform well when I am happy.”

Nice find, Youngy. Maybe EH has been reading this thread lol. Of course there are a lot of Indians in Trinidad & if i were a betting man i’d say he has a touch of Indian in him :). Speaking of sun tans, you were able to develop a reasonable one back in the day,r:17,s:31,i:222

I was on the tram on my to work this morning when I opened your link…I had to contain my laughter. Very funny. Good work.

When the Com games were on Peter Norman went to them as John Steff’s guest.

Jusy saying