Liz Cambage threatens to boycott Olympic Games after promotional photo of Australian athletes

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Why this photo of Australia’s Olympic athletes has sparked a major debate – with one of our greatest basketball stars threatening to boycott the Games

  • Liz Cambage has claimed there was no racial diversity in Olympic photo shoots 
  • Photos were released of Australian athletes ahead of the Tokyo Games this year
  • Cambage threatened to boycott games until more POCs were represented 

A ‘whitewashed’ photo of Australia’s Olympic athletes in their underwear has sparked threats from champion basketballer Liz Cambage to boycott the Tokyo Games.

Cambage, 29, has represented Australia for the past two Olympic Games but claims she will ‘sit out’ of this year’s event because there was not enough diversity in the promotional photo shoots.

‘If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times. HOW AM I MEANT TO REPRESENT A COUNTRY THAT DOESNT EVEN REPRESENT ME,’ Cambage wrote in an Instagram story along with the hashtag ‘whitewashedaustralia’.

‘y’all really do anything to remove POCs from the forefront when it’s black athletes leading the pack until I see you doing more @ausolympicteam imma sit this one out.’

A 'whitewashed' photo of Australia's Olympic athletes in their underwear has sparked threats from champion basketballer Liz Cambage to boycott the Tokyo Games

A ‘whitewashed’ photo of Australia’s Olympic athletes in their underwear has sparked threats from champion basketballer Liz Cambage to boycott the Tokyo Games

The Australian Olympic Committee had released one photo of athletes as part of the official uniform launch and another with the team in their underwear sponsored by brand Jockey.

Cambage also shared footage of Cathy Freeman’s famous 400m win at the Sydney Olympics adding Australia’s greatest sporting moments involved women of colour.

But the Las Vegas Aces star copped some backlash of her own after sharing one of the photos that featured Indigenous rugby player Maurice Longbottom with the caption ‘fake tan doesn’t equal diversity’.

The AOC said in a statement they ‘acknowledged’ the point made by the 29-year-old.

‘The athletes made available to Jockey could and should have better reflected the rich diversity of athletes who represent Australia at the Olympic Games,’ the statement read.

Cambage, 29, has represented Australia for the past two Olympic Games but claims she will 'sit out' of this year's event because there was not enough diversity in the promotional photo shoots

Cambage, 29, has represented Australia for the past two Olympic Games but claims she will ‘sit out’ of this year’s event because there was not enough diversity in the promotional photo shoots

‘The AOC does however have a very proud history of celebrating and promoting diversity in all its forms. From Indigenous reconciliation, people of colour, gender equality and all forms of diversity, the AOC is rightly proud of its record.’

The committee said there would be further photo shoots to reflect a broader diversity of athletes.

‘With regard to this photo shoot however, we acknowledge while proud of the athletes involved and proud of our association with Jockey, it should have better reflected the diversity of our Team,’ a spokesperson said.

AOC STATEMENT IN FULL

The AOC acknowledges Liz Cambage’s point with regard to this particular photo shoot.

The athletes made available to Jockey could and should have better reflected the rich diversity of athletes who represent Australia at the Olympic Games.

The AOC does however have a very proud history of celebrating and promoting diversity in all its forms. From Indigenous reconciliation, people of colour, gender equality and all forms of diversity, the AOC is rightly proud of its record.

Tomorrow the Annual General Meeting will consider a change to the AOC Constitution which will ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island representation on our Athletes’ Commission. Next month we will launch our Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan following lengthy consultation with our Indigenous Advisory Committee.

Our Olympic Team for Tokyo, as it did in Rio, will consist of more women than men.

We proudly defend our track record on diversity and there will be further photo shoots that reflect our broad diversity of athletes.

With regard to this photo shoot however, we acknowledge while proud of the athletes involved and proud of our association with Jockey, it should have better reflected the diversity of our Team.

The Olympic Charter commits us all to oppose any form of discrimination.

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