Allegations denied: Olympian’s expulsion sought after investigation
Olympic Games double gold medallist Alan Thompson has vehemently denied allegations of inappropriate remarks aimed at female athletes.
Canoe Racing New Zealand is seeking to expel three-time Olympian Thompson's membership in the organisation following an investigation into complaints he made inappropriate sexualised remarks to athletes.
The complaints are historical. They relate to alleged incidents in 1998 and 2014 — one overseas on a CRNZ tour, the other at a competition in New Zealand, CRNZ said in a statement.
“In October 2020, CRNZ received complaints alleging that a CRNZ member, Alan Thompson, had made inappropriate sexualised remarks to female athletes,” CRNZ said in the statement.
“On receipt of the complaints, CRNZ appointed Victoria Casey QC as independent investigator via the SportNZ Independent Complaints Mechanism (which has now been superseded by the SRCMS - Sport and Recreation Complaints and Mediation Service).
“The CRNZ board suspended Mr Thompson's CRNZ membership pending resolution of the independent investigations.
“Mr Thompson denied (and continues to deny) that either incident occurred.
“Both investigations concluded in October 2021. Ms Casey QC found that the alleged conduct occurred and that the conduct was unbecoming of a CRNZ member, and contrary to CRNZ's goals. The CRNZ board accepts Ms Casey QC's findings.
“Based on Ms Casey QC's determinations, the CRNZ board resolved to seek Mr Thompson's expulsion from the CRNZ membership. Mr Thompson, a double gold-winning Olympian, denies the allegations.”
Mr Thompson, through his lawyer David Fraundorfer, issued a statement in response:
“As those within canoe racing know, Mr Thompson has been a fierce advocate for the welfare of athletes in the sport and holding CRNZ to account.
“He denies the allegations in the strongest terms. While he has fully co-operated in the process, he is distressed that CRNZ has placed matters in the public domain before the complaints have been fully determined.
“Such co-operation includes providing relevant supporting material, which is difficult given that the complaints are both verbal and historical in nature, with one being 23 years ago and alleged to have occurred before CRNZ was established.
“Nevertheless, he is confident that the correct outcome will be reached once all relevant evidence has been taken into account.
“In respect of the process, the complaints, and all of those involved, Mr Thompson will not comment further at this stage apart from to say that he remains committed to ensuring a safe environment for paddlers and the success of all athletes within the sport based on equality and fairness.”
The CRNZ constitution sets out that a member may be expelled only by resolution of members at a special general meeting. As such, the board has requested the chief executive to call a meeting for December 22.
Alan Thompson competed at three Olympic Games, winning gold in the K1 and K4 1000 metres at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.