A war of words has broken out between two of Australia’s most decorated Olympic shooters over a series of social media posts.
Retired Games champion Russell Mark on Thursday hit back at former teammate and two-time gold medallist Michael Diamond for personally attacking him on Facebook and taking a veiled swipe at teenage shooter Mitchell Iles.
Iles, 16, is appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport over his non-selection in Australia’s Rio Olympic shooting team, named last Friday.
The appeal forced the Australian Olympic Committee to delay naming veterans Diamond and Adam Vella, who were nominated by Shooting Australian for the men’s trap event.
In separate posts in February, since deleted but published by Fairfax Media, Diamond called Mark – his former Olympic room-mate – an “absolute joke”.
He took aim at his foray into politics and ownership of two pubs in Victoria.
Last month, he also posted a photo of his wedding ring with a comment: “It won’t be the only iles il walk” – a dig seemingly directed at Iles.
Diamond also wished him “all the luck in the world” for his appeal and offered to donate his time free of charge “to excel you further”.
“Michael is obviously feeling the pressure, but I think taking it out on social media on Mitchell or me is not the way to go about it,” Mark told Fairfax.
“He is the best competitor I’ve ever shot against and I was lucky enough to ride on his coat-tails, but just because he’s a great competitor doesn’t mean he’s a great person anymore.
“You don’t have a go at boys and you certainly don’t do it on social media.”
Diamond told the Sydney Morning Herald there was “nothing untrue” about the posts when contacted in Rio on Thursday.
“What do you want me to say?” he said.