The Australian Olympic Committee has backed executive member Kitty Chiller despite an international gymnastics disciplinary process finding she gave a false statement as part of an investigation into Tokyo Olympics selection trials. 

Ms Chiller had already been sanctioned by the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation (GEF) for her role in the competition, which occurred during the pandemic in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics.

The details of the incident have now been made public following Ms Chiller’s decision to withdraw her appeal.

The GEF panel found Ms Chiller’s conduct was “in violation of the diligence and care obligation” required by its regulations and that she made a “false statement” as part of an earlier Court of Arbitration for Sport process.

At the Oceania Continental Championships for rhythmic gymnastics in May 2021, Lidiia Iakovleva narrowly beat Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatyreva in the individual competition to secure her place in Tokyo.

Ms Kiroi-Bogatyreva lodged a complaint with GEF, arguing incorrect scoring and underqualified judges had cost her a spot at the Olympics.

The GEF investigation found her complaint was justified and sanctioned Ms Chiller — Gymnastics Australia CEO at the time — as well as the judges in question and the Australian and Oceanic gymnastics organisations.

Ms Chiller’s false statement related to her claim that another senior judge had been invited but was unable to attend, drawing criticism from the GEF panel.

“She should have asked to see the invitation instead of solely relying on hearsay, all the more for the purposes of providing a sworn affidavit produced in an arbitral proceeding.”

Despite finding against Ms Chiller in the matter, the GEF panel was “not convinced that Ms Chiller gave her testimony knowing that it was false”.

A spokesperson for the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) acknowledged the difficulties in holding the competition during the pandemic, and backed Ms Chiller to continue her role as a member of the AOC executive.

“The Continental Championships were conducted in extremely difficult circumstances due to significant COVID restrictions at that time,” they said.

“The AOC is grateful that Gymnastics Australia stepped in to conduct a Continental Championship to ensure Australian athletes had the opportunity to qualify for the Tokyo Games — otherwise, quota places would have been lost to Australian athletes.”

“Kitty Chiller will continue to play a role as a highly valued member of the AOC Executive.”

Ms Chiller has been contacted for comment.

Tribunal role

Ms Chiller has a long association with Australian sport, having represented Australia in modern pentathlon at Sydney 2000 and acted as chef de mission for the Australian Olympic team at Rio in 2016.

After stepping down from her role as Gymnastics Australia CEO, Chiller took up a position as deputy CEO of the recently-formed National Sports Tribunal.

A tribunal spokesperson has told the ABC Ms Chiller would have no involvement in any gymnastics matters which come before it.

The Tribunal has been approached for comment in relation to the GEF panel’s findings.