Olympic Dream Deflated: Gun Ban Bars Gold Medalist From Paris Bid

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Michael Diamond, the beloved Greek Australian Olympic shooting champion, has seen his hopes of competing in the 2024 Paris Olympics crushed.

A New South Wales tribunal upheld a decision to deny his gun license application, effectively barring him from participating in the upcoming qualifiers.

This marks a devastating blow to the 51-year-old athlete, who boasts two Olympic gold medals under his belt from the 1996 and 2000 Games. Diamond lost his Category A firearms license in 2018 after facing firearms and drunk driving charges, though he was subsequently acquitted of the firearm-related offences.

Despite undergoing therapy, road safety programs, and firearm safety training, the tribunal deemed Diamond's efforts insufficient to overcome the "serious nature of his offending." According to the judgment, the police argued that even genuine remorse and rehabilitation couldn't outweigh the potential risk of granting him a license.

Diamond, understandably distraught, expressed concerns about the financial repercussions of the ban, claiming over $1 million in lost sponsorship and income. Fellow Olympian Russel Mark OAM spoke highly of Diamond's character and professionalism, further highlighting the athlete's commitment to reform.

Ultimately, the tribunal prioritized public safety, stating in its judgment: "The weight of [Diamond's] history is such that it cannot be overcome by a recent period of mentoring, counselling and training. I am satisfied the risk of granting a firearms licence to the applicant is real and appreciable."

This decision leaves Diamond's Olympic dreams in tatters, reminding us of the complexities and consequences of personal choices, even for decorated athletes like him.

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