Aussie swimmer changes story on hit-and-run

Maggie Hendricks
Fourth-Place Medal

Australian swimmer and 2008 Olympian Kenrick Monk has found himself in hot water after admitting that he made up a story about how he sustained a potentially career-ending broken elbow.

Monk had two bones in his arm broken last week. At first, he claimed that he was the victim of a hit-and-run. Monk said that he was targeted by a P-plate driver (the Australian equivalent of a learner's permit.) Later, he admitted that he actually broke the elbow while skateboarding.

His injury is a huge problem for Australian swimming as it prepares for the London Olympics. Monk is a part of Australia's 4 x 200m freestyle relay, and Australia holds its Olympic swim trials in March. This injury jeopardizes not only his chances at becoming a two-time Olympian but also Australia's chance at winning gold in London. It took the bronze in this relay in Beijing.

Australian swim coach Leigh Nugent is concerned about the impact Monk's injury will have on the team.

"We can ill-afford to have someone of his capabilities missing in that 4 x 200 freestyle so hopefully he'll get patched up and get going again. [...]

"It's just disappointing that he's put his preparation in jeopardy and the fact that he may not be as good as he could be is a possibility now, so it's just a wait-and-see but you deal with what you've got."

Australian swim commentator and three-time Olympic medalist Nicole Livingstone showed sympathy for Monk, saying that his lie was the result of a system that controls athletes' every move.

"Having been a swimmer and knowing what a controlled environment swimming is when it comes to the coach-swimmer relationship and the coach-administration relationship, it is very dictatorial," Livingstone said. [...]

"I can see why he has done it. It's wrong, but I can see the panic he would have felt that he was doing something so stupid in riding a skateboard. We were never allowed to do anything like that, I'm sure it's still the same."

Monk's first mistake was to lie. His second mistake was to make the lie so elaborate. Not only did he get hit by a car, but also it was a car driven by a young driver who was trying to show off for his friends. Really, Kenrick? You were just run down by a car, broke your elbow, yet you remember every one of those details and there's no mangled bike? It didn't take the investigatory skills of Bunk and McNulty to see through that story.

Many athletes have made up stories to conceal the true origin of injuries. San Francisco's Jeff Kent said that he broke his wrist washing his truck when he actually did it riding his motorcycle. Warriors guard Monta Ellis lied about how he sprained his ankle. Rockies shortstop Clint Barmes said that he fell carrying groceries and broke his collarbone. He was actually on an ATV at teammate Todd Helton's house, but he didn't want Helton involved.

Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall is in the lying Hall of Fame. When he was with the Broncos, he said that he slipped on a McDonald's wrapper and injured his arm, when he actually did it wrestling with family members. When he was with the Dolphins, Marshall blamed a cut on his arm on a broken vase, when in reality his wife stabbed him.

So take heart, Kenrick. You may have crushed your Olympic dreams skateboarding and then lied about it, but at least you didn't blame a McDonald's wrapper. That would have been truly disgraceful.

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