Roo-gate hits Sochi as Australian athlete’s family asked to remove boxing kangaroo flag reports Natalie Peters from Russia
Don’t mess with a dedicated Australian supporter at an international sporting event.
Natalie Peters to Snow It All is a broadcaster, journalist, skier and is covering the Olympic Games for 2GB in Sydney where she is Deputy News Director. She is filing exclusive blogs for us from the ground in Russia. Follow her on twitter @nataliejpeters
That’s the lesson for Russian officials, who’ve unsuccessfully tried to stop Shane Morris flying a Boxing Kangaroo flag at Extreme Park in the mountains above Sochi.
Shane is in the Olympic city to support his son Dave Morris, Australia’s sole male competitor in the aerials skiing and the only Australian male aerialist to compete in two winter Olympics.
He, his wife Margaret and their other son Peter (who’s well known among Aussies here for his outlandish green and gold suit) were enthusiastically cheering on our women’s Moguls team in last night’s qualifiers when they were approached by an official demanding the flag be removed.
Shane stood his ground, trying to explain it has official approval.
“It was a bit of a confrontation,” he says. “I pointed to all the variations of the Russian flags and said, take all of them away and then we’ll talk.”
The man gave in, but for a short while after a security official dressed in black was stationed next to the family.
Shane (aka @mrsheenagain due to his uncanny resemblance) fired off this tweet.
The first Dave Morris heard of roo-gate was at a press conference this morning, where he laughed and admitted his dad will probably fly the same flag tomorrow.
“Supporters can have whatever they want, they’re supporters so they can support the team however they want.”
And unless Russia has imposed a fresh restriction, in this particular case he’s right. While most non-country flags are banned from venues (you’re not going to see a rainbow flag for example), the Boxing Kangaroo version was approved for use after causing a furore when it flew in the athlete’s village at the Vancouver Olympics.
“It’s a rebel, a rebel kangaroo,” said Morris.
Australian team leader Ian Chesterman wasn’t sure what the issue was with the Boxing Kangaroo at the Moguls, but promised to look into it.
“It’s definitely been a symbol of our team, and of course, it’s already had some controversy in the past,” he told reporters. “I’m glad the Boxing Kangaroo is back in the news.”
Either way, he says Shane and his family from Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, have the full support of the Olympic team.
“They’re sensational, we love the Morris family,” he said.
Dave fears his brother Peter may now swap the famous suit for a Kangaroo costume, as he cheers on our athletes in Sochi.
We would show you a pic of the Boxing Kangaroo but have been asked to remove it by the AOC as they have trademarked it.
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