Liz Cambage hits out at lack of diversity in AOC shoot, threatens to 'sit out' Olympics

Liz Cambage has hit out at the lack of diversity in various promotional shoots undertaken by the Australian Olympic Committee Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Australian WNBA star Liz Cambage has threatened to boycott the Tokyo Olympics while hitting out at an Australian Olympic Team [AOC] promotional shoot that lacked diversity.

Cambage on Thursday criticised the AOC on Instagram, posting two promotional images on her story to make her point. She may have, however, failed to recognise Indigenous rugby sevens star Maurice Longbottom in the second image that was taken at the Australian Olympic Team's uniform launch last month.

"If I've said it once I've said it a million times, HOW AM I MEANT TO REPRESENT A COUNTRY THAT DOESN'T EVEN REPRESENT ME," Cambage wrote.

"Also fake tan doesn't equal diversity."

"Y'all do anything to remove POC [People of Colour] from the forefront when it's black athletes leading the pack.

"Until I see y'all doin more @AusOlympicTeam Imma sit this one out."

Cambage finished the sequence with vision of Indigenous Australian Cathy Freeman winning the 400m at the Sydney Olympics, declaring the victory as Australia's greatest sporting moment ever.

"Also just to remind you," she added. "Australia's GREATEST sporting moment was thank [sic] too BLACK INDIGENOUS WOMAN."

In a statement to Wide World of Sports, the Australian Olympic Committee conceded it could have done better.

"The AOC acknowledges Liz Cambage's point with regard to this particular photo shoot," it said.

"The athletes made available to Jockey could and should have better reflected the rich diversity of athletes who represent Australia at the Olympic Games.

"The AOC does however have a very proud history of celebrating and promoting diversity in all its forms. From Indigenous reconciliation, people of colour, gender equality and all forms of diversity, the AOC is rightly proud of its record."

The AOC said it is already taking action to ensure appropriate representation of Indigenous athletes.

"Tomorrow the Annual General Meeting will consider a change to the AOC Constitution which will ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island representation on our Athletes' Commission. Next month we will launch our Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan following lengthy consultation with our Indigenous Advisory Committee.

"Our Olympic Team for Tokyo, as it did in Rio, will consist of more women than men.

"We proudly defend our track record on diversity and there will be further photo shoots that reflect our broad diversity of athletes.

"With regard to this photo shoot however, we acknowledge while proud of the athletes involved and proud of our association with Jockey, it should have better reflected the diversity of our Team.

"The Olympic Charter commits us all to oppose any form of discrimination."

Likewise, apparel suppliers Jockey also apologised for the lack of diversity in the photo shoot.

"Jockey work with a diverse range of brand ambassadors across Australia and New Zealand, but acknowledge that we fell short in representing our diverse Australian community in these images of Olympic and Paralympic athletes," it said in a statement supplied to Wide World of Sports.

"Jockey is committed to supporting and representing all Australians and is proud to support all our Australian sporting heroes competing in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics."

Cambage is among Australia's leading basketball players as a three-time WNBA All-Star, while she has also represented the Opals at both of the last two Olympic Games in Rio di Janeiro and London.

She again loomed as a key figure among 19 Opals hopefuls to take part in a pre-Olympics camp in June, from which a final squad of 12 will be selected for the Tokyo Games.

Cambage also played a leading role in Southside Flyers' WNBL title triumph in Australia last year.