The Olympian That Held His Country Ransom

An Australian weightlifter held his country's Olympic hopes at ransom last week.

Robert Whiteby Robert White

A ridiculous story is coming out of Melbourne today claiming an Australian weightlifter allegedly held his team ransom last week.

Daniel Koum, a native of Cameroon who was naturalised as an Aussie in 2008, was competing with the Australian team in Samoa last week and threatened to dash the squad Olympic hopes unless he received $5000 before he began his warm-up routine.

The chief of the Australian Weightlifting Federation Michael Keelan was forced to submit to Kuom’s demands because had the team failed field their entire squad it would have been impossible to make a top-5 finish, necessary to send a lifter to the Olympics.

Keelan, who has been in the sport for more than 40 years, said he was shocked at the time.

"He said if he didn't get that amount of money he said he would not participate in the championships," he said.

Koum has denied the entire thing this week and could still represent Australia in he is successful this weekend in Brisbane when athletes will compete for a position in London, although he isn’t considered the nation’s top lifter.

Koum’s demand came about when Keelan offered the athlete $1000 as a motivational tool because he felt Koum wasn’t going to perform as well as he could and it would help ensure that Australia would make the top-5 finish they needed. Koum accepted in front of a few witnesses but then changed his mind, saying he would only lift if given $5000. They team had 30 minutes to come up with the cash.

Koum went on to win the silver medal at the event.