Las Vegas Aces center and Australian national team star Liz Cambage is formally threatening to boycott Tokyo Olympics after an Olympic Australia promotional photo didn’t include athletes of color.
Cambage took to her Instagram story and shared a photo of a Jockey Australia photoshoot with Olympic and Paralympic athletes to her Instagram stories, writing “HOW AM I MEANT TO REPRESENT A COUNTRY THAT DOESN’T EVEN REPRESENT ME.” She included a #whitewashedaustralia” hashtag.
She added, “y’all really do anything to remove POCs from the forefront when it’s black athletes leading the pack until I see you doing more @ausolympicteam imma sit this one out.”
In the next frame, she showed a photo direct from the Australian Olympic team handle on March 30 that unveiled the new uniforms. She wrote underneath, “also fake tan doesn’t equal diversity.”
In one last frame, Liz shared a video of Australian sprinter Cathy Freeman, who won gold in the 400-meters at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
“also just to remind you Australia’s GREATEST sporting moment was thanks too BLACK INDIGIDENOUS WOMAN,” she wrote.
Tom Maher, the women’s nation team coach during its first two Olympic medals in 1996 and 2000, called Liz’s comments “inappropriate” in an interview with The Australian (h/t The Washington Post).
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“It is inappropriate to make such a big deal out of pretty much nothing,” Maher told the Australian.
“There have been no bad intentions (in posts of the athletes). Was there a homosexual athlete represented? Was there a Chinese Australian athlete mentioned? I mean, where does it end?
“If I was coach, I wouldn’t entertain any threats at all. If she wants to come, she can come, but if she told me she was going to boycott I’d say, ‘Good luck, see you later.’
“She is a great player, but the issues need to be attended to in the right environment. Right now if you are an Olympian, you could make the protest without making the threat.
“That would be a more appropriate way of dealing with it.”