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Shooters meet separation snag

Russell and Lauryn Mark.

LONDON – Australian shooter Russell Mark is planning to sneak off in the night to see his wife, also a competitor at the London Olympics, after accepting that he cannot share a room with her in the athletes’ village.

The six times Olympian, a Double Trap gold medallist in the 1996 Atlanta Games, had made headlines after the Australian Olympic Committee decided he could not share a room with his spouse Lauryn.

The AOC had said allowing the couple to share would inconvenience other female athletes.

“I made the point and I lost,” Mark told a news conference today. “I guess it’s like cricket. You can snick a ball where you’ve been given out caught behind…you can argue but at the end of the day, you’ve got to walk.

“I’ve walked and I’ll probably walk across the corridor into Lauryn’s room somewhere. As far as I know that’s not illegal…just got to get out of there before the sun gets up,” he added.

Mark will be sharing a room in the village with six times Olympian and double gold medallist Michael Diamond — “not as good looking as Lauryn and not as cuddly” — and said it was time the furore blew over.

The burly 48-year-old added that his friendship with Australian chef de mission Nick Green, a rower who also won gold in 1996, had not changed and he had no personal issue with him.

“The reality is I’m here to shoot clay targets, not argue about who’s going to be sleeping beside me every night,” added Mark, who made headlines back in May when he talked about parading at the opening ceremony in a lime-green ‘mankini’ after losing a bet.

Mark said the coverage of him not being allowed to share a room with his wife, who competes in skeet and may have riled Olympic officials with a charity photo-shoot for a men’s magazine, had got out of hand.

The shooter had told reporters earlier in the week that he and his wife were being discriminated against for being heterosexual and that there were “tons of gay couples on the Olympic team who will be rooming together”.

“Unfortunately no-one else has created anything controversial at the moment,” Mark said today . “Surely someone is going to do something stupid soon so this can get out of the media. We can only hope that happens today. I hope it’s someone from another country.”

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