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Married Olympic couple can’t room together, claim discrimination

Fourth-Place Medal

Lauryn Mark

Marriage has its ups and its downs, but the downs don't usually include being unable to sleep together.

Sunday, Nick Green, chef de mission of the Australian Olympic Committee, told Australian Olympic shooters Russell and Lauryn Mark via email that they would not be able to room together in the Olympic Village during this month's London Games.

The husband and wife Olympians are calling the mandate stupid and believe it was set off by Russell's pro-sleeping pill stance and Lauryn's provocative photo shoot in the latest issue of The Zoo, an Australian magazine geared towards the fellows.

[ Related: Olympian's bus driver gets lost in London for four hours ]

Russell also believes they are the victim of discrimination. "The stupid part of this, which I have argued to them, is that there are tons of gay couples on the Olympic team who will be rooming together, so we are being discriminated against because we are heterosexual," Russell told Australia's Herald Sun.

In a morning show interview with Nine News Online, Russell explained his claim. "It's common knowledge on the Olympic team that there are plenty of gay couples, but that's a good thing. I have no issue with that. I just think it's strange that heterosexual couples aren't allowed to room together, but gay couples can obviously do that. Good luck to them.

"It's not often that the gay community gets one up on us. Power to them," Russell said.

[ Photos: Week's best Olympic photos ]

Unfortunately, for the Marks, their belief system is skewed, at least according to the Brisbane Times, which reported Monday morning:

Australian Olympic Committee media boss Mike Tancred told The Age five female shooters would have been forced to share one bathroom if the Marks had been accommodated … ''Russell needs to consider his fellow athletes,'' Tancred said with the first wave of Australian athletes due into the East London village today.

''Russell and Lauryn need to understand that it's unfair to ask five other female shooters to share one bathroom because that disrupts their preparation for their events, and really he also needs to understand that it's not a motel. It's not some luxury accommodation where you can get Russell and Lauryn a room. It's really tight. There are no spare beds."

Though the Marks may not be able to room together, what happens in the village stays in the village and, luckily, there's no rule prohibiting the two from having some fun during their down time.

Related Olympic coverage from Yahoo! Sports:

More London Olympics content on the Yahoo! network:
Martin Rogers: Looking at the Olympic events the U.S. has never won
Why women tend to prefer the Olympics over other televised sports
Olympians featured nude in ESPN's 'Body Issue'

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