Olympic rower threatens to jump ship after Savage row
Olympic rower threatens to jump ship after Savage row

A team mate of dumped Olympic rower Pippa Savage was so frustrated that she threatened to jump into the river and swim to shore after a heated argument.

Sunrise reporter Nick Etchells told host David Koch that tensions within the team reached flash point during a training run.

"(Tensions) were apparently so great that at one stage one of her team mates threatened to jump from the boat and swim to shore," Etchells said.

"The Australian Institute of Sport has said that for reasons of team harmony they have expelled her (Savage) from the team"

Savage flew back into Melbourne on Tuesday and is set to appeal Rowing Australia's shock decision to axe her from the Australian team.

RA stated "incompatibility issues" affected the quad crew - also including Kerry Hore, Dana Faletic and Pauline Frasca - over the past fortnight and they needed to act to ensure they didn't derail their Olympic medal chances.

Savage was unavailable for comment but will have her case heard by an independent RA tribunal early next week.

She also has the power to take the matter before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The Victorian-based, Toowoomba product is one of Australia's most talented scullers but she's had problems in the past gelling with crewmates in team boats.

Savage walked out on an Adelaide training camp in 2007 after a personality clash with then double sculls partner Hore, and then refused to row in a team boat at the Beijing Olympics.

She qualified for the single sculls in 2008 in an all-or-nothing approach, and unashamedly explained at the time she performed better on her own.

"There's an unwritten rule that you have to do your time in the crew boats," the former Brisbane barmaid told AAP during 2008 Olympic trials.

"(But) I've always been an individually-minded person, my family always says that, and I've always had a passion for the singles."

While eyebrows were raised when Savage and Hore were selected together in the same boat two months ago, RA team manager Ray Ebert denied the latest problem was due to a feud between the pair.

"Her (Savage's) behaviour and emotions were affecting the whole harmony and compatibility of the whole crew," Ebert told AAP.

"The team is disappointed but moving on, high-performance sport requires hard decisions."

RA officials initially said Savage was rested from the Lucerne World Cup due to a niggling injury, before coming clean late Tuesday night.

Ironically, Savage could still be required for duty in London as a cloud remains over the double sculls boat following a rib injury to Brooke Pratley.

With Pratley sidelined for the past month, national champion Kim Crow qualified the single sculls boat last week and then followed up her success with an impressive silver at the World Cup regatta.

Pratley is now back training in the double with Crow in Varese, Italy but she must perform well at World Cup 3 in Munich from June 15-17 to ensure the duo stay together for London.

If the selectors decide Crow has a better chance of gold in the single sculls then Savage would be the only potential doubles partner left for Pratley as other sculling contenders are assigned to other boats.

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