A bike track honouring disgraced former cycling champion Jack Bobridge will almost certainly be renamed because of the 29-year-old’s imprisonment for drug offences, a country mayor says.
- Bobridge has been sentenced to up to four years in jail for dealing ecstasy
- The former Olympian lends his name to the Jack Bobridge Track in the Barossa Valley
- The local mayor believes the council has no option but to rename the popular route
The two-time Olympic silver medallist was yesterday sentenced to up to four years and six months in jail, after being found guilty of dealing drugs following his 2016 retirement.
He was convicted on four charges of supplying ecstasy tablets to a friend in Perth between March and August 2017.
Bobridge denied the charges against him but admitted he had used illicit substances, including cocaine and ecstasy, while living a partying lifestyle in Europe.
Bobridge, who is originally from Gawler north of Adelaide, lends his name to the Jack Bobridge Track, a popular cycling and walking route through the Barossa Valley.
The track, which was opened in 2014, extends 27 kilometres from Gawler to Tanunda and runs alongside some of the region’s most picturesque vineyards.
The Barossa Council had been awaiting a decision on Bobridge’s fate before making a decision on the track, and will discuss the issue at its next meeting on July 16.
Mayor Michael Lange said he believed the council had no option but to strip the track of its name.
“I think it’s inevitable that the name will be changed on the trail,” he said.
“In no way can we as a council condone those sorts of activities … we will need to take a fairly firm stance.
“It will have a bit of stigma attached to it and … we’ve got to look at rebranding it with another name because of the circumstances we’re now faced with.”
Renaming sends right message, expert says
Flinders University public health expert Jackie Wright, whose work focuses on the harmful consequences of illicit drugs, said retaining the name would have sent the wrong message.
“From my perspective it would be inappropriate to have public facilities honouring people involved in the trafficking and supply of these drugs,” Dr Wright said.
“It’s important for the community to know that we don’t accept drug supply and drug use and the harm it does.”
Mr Lange said the track was intended to promote health and wellbeing, as well as the region, and said it would be improper for it to remain associated with a drug dealer.
“The circumstances are such that we have to be responsible, as far as health and wellbeing are concerned,” he said.
But Mr Lange also expressed sympathy for Bobridge and his family, saying it was a “very traumatic time in their lives”.
“It is a fall, in many ways. It’s tragic as far as such a promising young athlete [is concerned],” he said.
“He now has to serve time in jail, and get out and get on with his life as best he can.”
Topics: drug-offences, crime, law-crime-and-justice, cycling, sport, drugs-and-substance-abuse, community-and-society, adelaide-5000, sa, australia, perth-6000, wa, tanunda-5352, rowland-flat-5352, lyndoch-5351, angaston-5353, nuriootpa-5355