New Zealand will take a more relaxed stance to alcohol consumption at the Commonwealth and Olympic Games compared with Australia.

New Commonwealth Games and summer Olympics chef de mission Rob Waddell says it's an athlete's individual responsibility if they want to have a drink, provided it does not impact on what he termed a "high performance environment" where athletes are "on edge" before events.

Last week, the Australian Olympic Committee released a 'Position Statement on the Australian Olympic Team and Alcohol' which said "team members are permitted to consume alcohol responsibly [outside the village]" before listing what constituted unacceptable conduct.

Being disorderly or argumentative.


Being bad tempered, aggressive or using offensive language.

Swaying, staggering or falling down.

Speech which is loud and boisterous.

Having rambling conversations.

Having difficulty in paying attention or comprehending others.

Annoying fellow team members and others.

Waddell's Australian counterpart for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Kitty Chiller, said "irresponsible" consumption of alcohol would not be tolerated out of respect to the coat of arms they wear and the reputation built by past Olympians. She said it was not a knee-jerk reaction to London, where Australia slumped to its lowest medal haul in 20 years.

That performance sparked accusations of wasting taxpayer money and focusing more on partying than success, particularly after some well-documented binge-drinking indiscretions among the swimmers and rowers. No alcohol consumption would be permitted on the flight home either.


As a three-time Olympian and former gold medallist, Waddell is mindful of athletes needing a release after many discipline themselves for four years to compete.

"It's perhaps a reflection on how they [Australia] feel after the problems in the recent past. The main part for me is consideration and respect for others which forms such a big part of team culture. You're there to perform first. A mixture of things happen after events but most people are happy to relax and watch their team-mates or go and see something different; it's incredible what's on offer at an Olympics.

"Obviously there have been isolated [alcohol] issues in the past [such as the cyclists in Melbourne and swimmers in Beijing] but most problems can be prevented by the environment you create."

Waddell was diplomatic on whether the much-loved haka of predecessor Dave Currie would return.

"The haka is an important part of New Zealand culture but other things are also important. We want an environment which gives athletes an edge. The haka can do that but we don't want to force something on anyone."

Waddell has made no decision on whether he will have any further role with the America's Cup after working as a grinder with Emirates Team New Zealand in the last campaign.

"It is impossible to give an answer at the moment but the build-up to the Commonwealth Games and Olympics along with a few other key dates are non-negotiables for me. I'm immensely proud of what we did [in San Francisco] but there's still a sense of unfinished business. The biggest challenge is what Grant [syndicate head Dalton] faces at the moment collecting sponsors."

Waddell is also chairman of the Home Of Cycling Trust's Avantidrome which is being built near Cambridge.