Sally Robbins was slammed as 'Lay Down Sally' when she stopped rowing during the women's eight final at the 2004 Athens Games

  • Sally Robbins stopped rowing in women’s eight final at 2004 Olympics
  • At the time dubbed ‘Lay Down Sally’ after letting down her teammates
  • Now 20 years on, Robbins has made two head-turning statements

She is the Olympic athlete who infuriated Australia and was branded ‘Lay Down Sally’ when she stopped competing during the rowing final at the 2004 Games. 

And now two decades later, Sally Robbins has taken to social media to declare that she is finally ‘at peace with her past’ after she became a household name for all the wrong reasons. 

Robbins, now 42, became an instant sporting villain when she stopped rowing  and laid down during the women’s eight final at the Athens Games, preventing Australia from having any chance of securing a medal. 

At the time, Robbins claimed sheer exhaustion caused her to stop rowing 600metres from the finish line.

‘Suddenly fatigue set in and I just couldn’t move,’ she said. ‘It is a feeling of paralysis where you just hit the wall.’

Many of her teammates were furious, as the Aussies were widely considered a gold medal chance before finishing a distant last due to her breakdown.

Kyeema Doyle was seething – she bluntly told reporters post-race ‘I will go back to single sculls for a while’ as the magnitude of what Robbins did set in.

‘There is a little bitter taste in my mouth,’ Doyle said.

Sally Robbins was slammed as 'Lay Down Sally' when she stopped rowing during the women's eight final at the 2004 Athens Games

Sally Robbins was slammed as ‘Lay Down Sally’ when she stopped rowing during the women’s eight final at the 2004 Athens Games

Robbins (pictured, right at the 2004 Olympics in Athens) has  now taken to social media to declare she is at peace with her infamous sporting past

Robbins (pictured, right at the 2004 Olympics in Athens) has  now taken to social media to declare she is at peace with her infamous sporting past

Robbins (pictured, far right) during a press conference in the wake of the scandal in Athens

But 20 years on Robbins appears to have moved on from the saga, posting two telling messages on social media in the lead-up to the Paris Olympics.

Now a Perth-based holistic health coach and yoga teacher, she recently wrote on Instagram: ‘I am at peace with my past and excited for my future.’

She also shared an automated text message sent to current and former athletes by the Australian Olympic Committee celebrating ‘Olympic Day’ on June 23.

‘Having this message arrive on my phone every year always brings a tear to my eye,’ she captioned the post. 

‘I am so proud to be an Olympian and wish our next Olympians at Paris the very best.

‘We are all behind you and know how much hard work you have put in to get to this point. 

After failing to qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Robbins opened a pilates studio in Brisbane

After failing to qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Robbins opened a pilates studio in Brisbane

Sally Robbins also became a mother in recent years, with her daughter Aria born in 2017 

The former women's eights rower is now a holistic health coach and yoga teacher in Perth (pictured in her studio)

The former women’s eights rower is now a holistic health coach and yoga teacher in Perth (pictured in her studio)

Last month on Instagram, Robbins declared she was 'at peace with my past and excited for my future' (pictured)

Last month on Instagram, Robbins declared she was ‘at peace with my past and excited for my future’ (pictured)

Robbins also shared her reaction to a message she received as a former Olympian ahead of the Paris Games this month

Robbins also shared her reaction to a message she received as a former Olympian ahead of the Paris Games this month

‘I am ever so grateful for the support I received from near and far. 

‘Let’s get behind our athletes this year … send them a message – they will receive them and it makes a huge difference.’

Robbins – who now goes by Sally Cameron after taking her husband’s surname – previously ran a yoga studio in Brisbane.

The couple also have a daughter, Aria.

After failing to qualify for rowing at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Robbins switched sports and tried her luck at competitive cycling.

She competed in the National Women’s Road Series in Western Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport as a domestique and time-triallist before deciding to retire from competitive sport altogether.

The Paris Olympics run from July 26 to August 11. 

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