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Olympic rower apologises for insults

Müller is in the clear after apologising for his comments

(Keystone Archive)

Swiss Olympic gold medallist, Xeno Müller, has apologised for insulting remarks made against members of the Swiss rowing association. His apology clears the way for the Swiss star to take part in next month's world rowing championships in Lucerne.

The Swiss body had threatened to ban Müller from the event unless he made a written apology for the comments published in the Independent Rowing News. In an interview with the US magazine, the California-based athlete described the association's officials as "assholes in suits."

He went on to pick out the Swiss Olympic head coach Hansjörg Wirz for particular criticism, calling Wirz a "humungous asshole."

But in a verbal apology conveyed on Swiss television Müller has now toned down his comments.

"As a role model for the young, I should not have used such a strong expression," he conceded. "I apologise extremely for using that expression."

Although Müller insisted that he still stood by his opinion, the apology appears to have mollified the rowing association.

Director René Fischer accepted the apology and said the matter was now settled. "Xeno had apologised," Fischer said. "We have to accept that and forget what has happened."

Müller's row with the association seemed to stem mainly from his unhappiness at a decision to lower the contributions made to athletes taking part in the Olympics. In a further written statement to the association he admitted that his living abroad might have caused him to go too far in the interview.

"Because of the great distance between Switzerland and California I wasn't able to evaluate everything properly, and apologise for this in every possible way."

The Swiss association's decision to take Müller at his word is likely to have been influenced by his importance to the national squad. Having followed up his
gold medal in the single sculls in Atlanta with silver at the Sydney Olympics last year, Müller is the country's most successful individual rower of all time.

swissinfo with agencies


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