An Emotional Kenrick Monk Tells Why He Lied About Hit-and-Run Accident

By Ian Hanson, Swimming World's Oceania Correspondent

BRISBANE, Australia, October 1. KENRICK Monk broke down, shedding genuine remorseful tears, when he fronted the Australian media in Brisbane today, admitting he had lied about the "hit and run accident" which threatens to ruin his swimming career.

The 23-year-old came clean with the true story that he "fell off a skateboard" on his way to training at St. Peters Lutheran College in Indooroopilly last Wednesday.

Monk apologised profusely when he stood poolside with coach Michael Bohl, admitting he fabricated the entire story that he was run off the road by a P Plate driver as he rode his pushbike to the pool.

In fact he actually fell off a recently-purchased skateboard – an incident a witness had actually passed on to police.

The dramatic turn in events has shocked the entire sporting world in Australia – and it forced Swimming Australia to issue a statement saying that Monk had in fact changed his original story before he fronted the media.

A tearful Monk, clearly shattered by his actions, admitted he had let everyone down – from his parents, to his coach, his fellow swimmers and his friends.

He re-inforced to reporters that his fellow teammates, Ned McKendry, Nick D'Arcy and triple Olympic gold medalist Stephanie Rice and coach Michael Bohl knew nothing of his ruse.

He said he lied to them all and had rung his friends after firstly admitting to his parents, who had driven from Sydney to be by their son's side on the night of the accident, that he had in fact concocted the whole story.

"I am so, so sorry for what I have done. I panicked, I freaked out. I was so embarrassed … riding a skate board is something a 10-year-old can do," a shattered Monk said, who admitted the incident could have "stuffed up his whole life."

"I am responsible for doing something stupid. I could not sleep and could not handle (the lies) any longer and I woke up and told mum and dad and started crying.

"My mum gave me a hug and I was bawling my eyes out. I'm not a liar. I am not like that. My family is not like that.

"I rang the police this morning and I changed my statement that I lied about the car and the bike. They are going to look further into that matter.

"I know it's a serious matter. It is something I should never have done. I wasn't thinking on my feet.

"I've recently just got the skateboard. I wanted to ride to training. I wasn't thinking and should have used my own brains and should have driven the car.

"(Riding the skateboard) wasn't the brightest thing to do. (After the accident) I freaked out (thinking) what my coach and my parents would think.

"The car and bike (story) sounded a bit more elaborate, but then it kept snowballing and snowballing. I regret it, I do apologize big time.

"Nobody knew about the skateboard, not even my parents knew of the situation, but I honestly regret what I have done.

"Bohly will tell you I have not stopped crying, knowing I stuffed up and the fact that I have let public down honestly hurts me big time.

"I know I have done a big mistake. I know I have to live with it, but this is something I have to live with and deal with."

In his favor, Monk answered every reporter's question and did not shy away from his responsibilities, fighting back the tears and repeatedly saying he was sorry.

As far as his future is concerned and with regards to future teams, he said this would be in the hands of Swimming Australia and the Australian Sports Commission.

Monk now faces between six and eight weeks on the sidelines while his broken elbow mends – with a decision to operate or not to be made after Bohl and Monk continue to meet with doctors over the next week.

He then faces a 22-week race against time physically, emotionally and mentally in the countdown to Olympic Trials in Adelaide next March.

A tough day in the life of a young man who has done his country proud over the last six years at an Olympics, Commonwealth Games and World Championships who said he would no doubt do everything in his power to right his wrongs and make the London 2012 Olympic Team.

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