The head of Australia's team at the London Olympics has urged his athletes to maintain their focus and not become sidetracked by the racism row involving John Steffensen.
The 400 metre runner has claimed he was racially abused by an Australia Olympic Committee staff member in Beijing four years ago, an allegation supported by Australia athletics team captain and reigning Olympic pole vault champion Steve Hooker.
"I won't single John out," Australia's chef de mission Nick Green said Tuesday. "For athletes this week, they need to focus and be ready to compete. Their focus needs to be on the competition.
"Any other distraction can have adverse affects on their performance. Athletes need to focus, but saying that, I have an open-door policy to all athletes, and if an athlete wants to talk to me about a matter they've got an issue with then, absolutely, come and see me.
"It happened in 2008. I'm looking after the team of 2012.
"I'm aware of it, like we all are. But I'm not giving more attention to it, no," Green insisted.
Earlier this month Steffensen, who has had several run-ins with Australia athletics chiefs, was overlooked for an individual 400m spot that went instead to Sydney teenager Steve Solomon.
Afterwards, Steffensen told Australia's Channel Nine: "I've put up with being racially vilified by this federation, being discriminated against on many teams.
"You know it'd help if I was a different colour, then a lot of decisions with my federation would be totally different, but I've never brought that up, I've always kept quiet on that."
Steffensen, however, has been selected as a member of Australia 4x400m relay squad.
Meanwhile, Green stressed Steffensen was not 'destabilising' the team.
"From a larger team point of view, no he's not. Having spoken to the team itself, the athletics team, he is a member of the team.
"We know he's a character, he's allowed to be a character and he's allowed to voice his opinion.
"The matter of him as a member of the team, that hasn't changed, some allegation he's made in 2008 and Athletics Australia will deal with those."
Asked if he would intervene in the Steffensen situation, Green replied: "When it becomes out of control."
Previously, Hooker supported Steffensen's claims by saying: "The staff member that was involved in that incident in Beijing isn't on this team.
"So as far as this team goes I don't believe John has any issues with anyone on this team."
He too urged Steffensen to put the issue on the back-burner, at least for the duration of the Games.
"That is stuff from the past and unfortunately John is still carrying that around with him and still has an issue with it," Hooker said.
"But we all hope as a team and we hope for John that we can get past that for the sake of this next two weeks and if there is stuff that still needs to be resolved at a later date then it can happen then."