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Paul Smith
December 7th, 2005, 03:53 PM
As seen on Swiminfo today.......so much for citizenship eh?! And we complain about masters "superteams"!

Draganja Changing Allegiances to Qatar

ZAGREB, Croatia, December 7. WHILE South Africa’s Roland Schoeman has spurned an offer to switch his allegiance to Qatar, the same cannot be said for Croatian Duje Draganja. The sprint sensation, a 24-year-old, recently accepted a lucrative offer to swim for the Middle Eastern nation, which has been chasing high-profile athletes by offering significant sums of money.

Before accepting the offer from Qatar, which is believed to be at least $1 million, Draganja gave Croatian swimming officials the opportunity to keep him swimming under his homeland’s flag. Ultimately, though, the Arab nation won out and Draganja is expected to race for Qatar at next year’s World Short Course Championships in Shanghai, China.

knelson
December 7th, 2005, 04:19 PM
Swim whoring.

some_girl
December 7th, 2005, 04:49 PM
Croatia's not such a rich nation. If Dragana's family hasn't got much, I don't know that I'd blame him. It could make a difference to a lot of people.

It's like basketball players who go straight to the NBA, instead of to college, for the cash. I don't blame them if they're in a bad way, even if it would be better for the sport.

Does anyone know if that's the case?

knelson
December 7th, 2005, 05:27 PM
I'd say it would be difficuly for anyone to turn down a million dollar offer, regardless of their economic situation.

some_girl
December 7th, 2005, 05:32 PM
I don't know. At some point, I think choosing feeling more "honorable" by sticking it out with your nation of origin becomes more plausible. For me it certainly would.

And a million dollars is a lot more in Croatia than in California or Western Europe.

aquageek
December 7th, 2005, 05:38 PM
Rumor has it that gull80 was offered a similar amount of money to swim for New Bern Aquatics.

I've also heard Canada is offereing similar amounts to US swimmers, as long as they have their backbones removed.

scyfreestyler
December 7th, 2005, 05:59 PM
Originally posted by aquageek
Rumor has it that gull80 was offered a similar amount of money to swim for New Bern Aquatics.

I've also heard Canada is offereing similar amounts to US swimmers, as long as they have their backbones removed.

So the question is, did Gull take the offer?

I won't even comment on the other jab for fear of igniting a politcal debate.

geochuck
December 7th, 2005, 06:16 PM
In 1956 a british swimmer came to Etobicoke swim club his new Canadian girl friend paid his way to Canada and he swam for her coach. Allas it was all for naught she married some one else.

Frank Thompson
December 7th, 2005, 06:43 PM
Is it swim exploring or swim whoring? It depends on your point of view. Roland Schoeman rejected an offer to swim with the nation of Qater and he gave his reasons in a press release yesterday. He said it was not a simple and straightforward decision even if he is poorer as a result. He believed he would be taking a short term gain as a result if he accepted.

Duje Draganja accepted an offer to swim for the nation of Qater and he gave his reasons in a press release www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10277531/From/RL.1 He stated that the country will be his sponsors and provide better funding than his current country of Croatia. As a professional swimmer athlete, he needs to take advantage of opportunities that will support him financially and not depend on sponsors if your going to get to the top of your profession.

Qater has done this in the past with Keyan World Champion runners like Shaheen so there is a history of success there. Now they plan on getting into swimming and they have Australian coach Otto Sonnleitner to build a team and provide the best facilities that money can buy. Rumor has it that they plan on recruiting Domino Fioavanti, 2000 double Olympic Champion in the 100 and 200 Breast for Italy with a 1 million dollar offer.

I can see how some athletes could do this and I wouldn't be suprised if the next swimmer they make an offer to would be Kristi Coventry because of the problems in Zimbabwe and how that country cannot compete in the upcoming Commonwealth swimming championships because of Robert Mugabe thugacracy.

I guess it comes down to national pride and patriotism or getting the best possible compensation for your professional occupation. I think the FINA rule is you have to swim unattached for a year before switching your delegation so you are going to see a lot of this in the next year or so.

Peter Cruise
December 7th, 2005, 09:14 PM
Good to see that the Geek has emerged from the woodwork. Guess he was too busy recently scalping tickets to North Carolina's holding USA's 1,000th execution since the Supreme's restored capital punishment. Big holiday for the Geek (although, to be perfect it should have been an overweight person being killed).

gull
December 8th, 2005, 12:23 PM
Originally posted by aquageek
Rumor has it that gull80 was offered a similar amount of money to swim for New Bern Aquatics.

Yes, and I will get a nice bonus after I take you to school in the 500.

beireland
December 8th, 2005, 01:36 PM
This is an interesting topic for a number of reasons. One perspective that I have seen mentioned in other contexts is that a problem with the Olympics as they are currently constituted is an excess of nationalism(I don't see that changing by the way and am not sure it would even be feasible).

I remember someone suggesting that athletes should compete as individuals and not as representatives of their countries because at the end of the day the Olympics should recognize sporting excellence and not national pride, etc. In a back door way, that's what this does. It may not be the intent of the purchasing country but it is the real outcome.

The other potential twist is athletes who are short of the standards for making a team who move to another country's Olympic team to make their standard. I competed in High School against some Indonesian Olympicans who were swimming in San Diego County--the gap between us was a lot less than the gap between me and the US Olympic team. They were all Indonesian, but I remember pondering how to sign up--not seriously of course but the only way I was going to make it to the Olympics was to buy a ticket.

I think this has happened in soccer with foreign nationals making the US team when they could not qualify with their own. Or Americans playing on other Olympic baseball teams in the Athens Olympics.

TheGoodSmith
December 8th, 2005, 04:08 PM
We already allow this bribery to take place in the NCAA. If we take away the scholarship money from the foreigners (give it to US citizens) and make them pay their own way, they will probably go train at home.


John Smith

Phil Arcuni
December 8th, 2005, 09:02 PM
I have argued in previous posts that world (vs international) competitions should be between individuals and not between nations. The last thing we need is sport competition heating up international rivalries and inducing nations to organized cheating. I could care less about medal counts, but I do like to watch the best runners and swimmers compete.

These athletes are professionals, and they should be allowed (and encouraged, in the spirit of a free labor market and open shops) to work for whoever pays the best or provides the best future for their career.

jonblank
December 9th, 2005, 10:02 AM
Does anyone wish to discuss dual citizenship? Polish-American Ron Karnaugh? No financial incentive, but a wonderful opportunity to swim at the Olympics for Poland...

patrick
December 9th, 2005, 10:18 AM
I think there should be a meet where the 8 fastest people in each event get on the blocks and race. Not sure if the Olympics or World Championships need to be altered, yet from a fan standpoint it would be refreshing.

I think what Duje has done may change the fabric of the sport. In a way he became a free agent, like what Curt Flood did to Major League Baseball in the 60s. Since swimming doesn't have professional league and swimming for your country is the only method of financial reward, this may be the first of many switching allegiances or dual citizenships to come.

craiglll@yahoo.com
December 9th, 2005, 03:39 PM
Originally posted by Frank Thompson
Is it swim exploring or swim whoring? It depends on your point of view. Roland Schoeman rejected an offer to swim with the nation of Qater and he gave his reasons in a press release yesterday. He said it was not a simple and straightforward decision even if he is poorer as a result. He believed he would be taking a short term gain as a result if he accepted.

Duje Draganja accepted an offer to swim for the nation of Qater and he gave his reasons in a press release www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10277531/From/RL.1 He stated that the country will be his sponsors and provide better funding than his current country of Croatia. As a professional swimmer athlete, he needs to take advantage of opportunities that will support him financially and not depend on sponsors if your going to get to the top of your profession.

Qater has done this in the past with Keyan World Champion runners like Shaheen so there is a history of success there. Now they plan on getting into swimming and they have Australian coach Otto Sonnleitner to build a team and provide the best facilities that money can buy. Rumor has it that they plan on recruiting Domino Fioavanti, 2000 double Olympic Champion in the 100 and 200 Breast for Italy with a 1 million dollar offer.

I can see how some athletes could do this and I wouldn't be suprised if the next swimmer they make an offer to would be Kristi Coventry because of the problems in Zimbabwe and how that country cannot compete in the upcoming Commonwealth swimming championships because of Robert Mugabe thugacracy.

I guess it comes down to national pride and patriotism or getting the best possible compensation for your professional occupation. I think the FINA rule is you have to swim unattached for a year before switching your delegation so you are going to see a lot of this in the next year or so.

Roland Shoemann didn't think twice about taking away a scholarship from a US athelete when he came to the US for swimmigin! This entire argument is meaningless.

Paul Smith
December 9th, 2005, 05:06 PM
Maybe we should abolish all college spoting teams as well? Compete as individuals in all of the sports......everyone can actually just take classes over the internet.....we've all seen the damage caused by all that competition!

But if we go that far......probably need to disband high school athletics as well.....don't want to create any grudges there either, oh wait we've already stopped awarding places and grades in many of our schools so people won't feel "left out" and suffer hurt feelings.

Come to think of it....maybe we should eliminate corporations, hate to see competition there heating up!

Come on.....its the Olympics......having pride in your nationality is a good thing, but now you can switch countries and not ven have to become a citizen!

Once again we see this incredibl esporting event going further and further down the path of professionals (no I;m not blind, its been that way for years).......

Rob Copeland
December 9th, 2005, 05:38 PM
Originally posted by Paul Smith
Maybe we should abolish all college spoting teams as well? Aren’t there 2 t’s in spotting?

Matt S
December 9th, 2005, 07:00 PM
Paul,

I'm not sure I understand your concern. We've chatted a bit on this site about making swimming more of a big time sport. One of the components of that, as many of us have agreed, is for world class athletes to have better opportunities to earn a living while pursuing swimming excellence full time.

Well then, here we go. Like it or not the international meets where teams are fielded by nations is the big time in swimming. The World Cup series has made some strides focusing more on individual swimmers instead of national teams. But only the big meets, the Olympics especially, where the casual fan identifies with his nation's athletes really get the attention. In that context why shouldn't a nation with high aspirations, just like a soccer club or a baseball franchise or dare I say it a University willing to spend money in ways the NCAA will permit, be able to sign free agents? Certainly this will open up new forms of compensation for professional swimmers and create new opportunities. Also, to the extent it creates interest in elite level swimming in a nation like Qatar, it creates a demand and a market for elite swimming that did not exist anymore. Didn't we already say we were interested in that?

Yes, I see your point about this development loosing the common nationality between the swimmer and the fans from his "home." That is valid, but it is a point we've faced and gotten over in any other professional sport. Free agents jump from team to team. Teams move to new cities. As Jerry Seinfeld observed, we're really cheering for laundry, but for leagues like the NFL, it seems we're OK with that. At the college level, you do lose something when you shift from Div III where you can sit next to a star athlete in your English Comp class, to Div I where that rarely happens. Last time I checked, Div I fans are just as passionate about the strangers that play for dear old University.

Also, there is a dark side to getting picky about nationality. What are the criteria for who is genuinely Qatari? Do you have to be born there? By that measure, Lenny Krazylburg flunks out as a real American. Do you have to be ethnically Arab and/or religiously Muslim? Do NOT get me started about the demons that would unleash! Moreover, such a test would be nonsense in nations that pride themselves on their immigrants, like the U.S. or Canada. How about having to become a naturalized citizen first before you can compete? That is something, but it would not stop a nation from adopting a perfunctory naturalization process for the star athletes it wants to import.

Personally, I think there is more up side than down side to this developement and I'm in favor of it. Just my self-appointed loudmouth's opinion. Take it for what it is worth.

Matt

Phil Arcuni
December 9th, 2005, 09:27 PM
Only at the most elite levels of college swimming are the swimmers effectively professionals (though not according to the NCAA.) Those swimmers are on the teams that recruit from across the country to get the best swimmers to attend state universities, and from across the world to get the best swimmers to attend state and private universities, and get the swimmers that are best served, financially and professionally, by swimming at that school.

Let the professionals go where they want, and lets stop trying to put them in artificial 'teams.'

Letting professionals go where they want is not relevent to the issue of whether there should be high school or college swimming teams.

Even at the amateur level there is nothing wrong with a swimmer deciding to swim with team A in city A, even though the swimmer lives in city B that has a team B. Why should it be different for the established swimmers? Or should they feel special affection for the *nation* of their birth, even though it may persecute their ethnic group, not approve of women wearing speedos, or have no swimming program of merit?

Ian Smith
December 9th, 2005, 11:01 PM
Disclaimer: I’m not really familiar with the details of “US college swimming scholarships”

Nevertheless, I’ll wade in here at great risk, since I see no link between Schoeman’s college scholarship (I’m assuming he had one) and his Qatar (professional swimmer) decision.

As a non-UK person having studied in the UK on an academic ‘fellowship’ (they pay you to study) which was sponsored by private (UK) industry, my own experience would indicate that there are a number of questions to ask in order to know if foreign sportsmen are taking away scholarships from locals. (I’m extrapolating a bit here, of course – I didn’t go for a sports scholarship – hell, you have to train! - yuck)

First, you would have to look at who is awarding these scholarships. Some of these may be designated for foreigners up front and no local swimmer missed out.

You also have to consider the incentives to the various players who want to have world-class sportsmen attend their local university program.

Since world-class athletes from smaller countries tend to have high respect at home, have good contacts and move in influential circles, they are viewed favourably by the various scholarship providers/players listed below:

1) Governments: When returning home the students will be sympathetic and positive in future business deals to the country/state/city where they studied/swam. And, if they actually stay in the host country, they will probably be better than average immigrants.

Even though I studied with private sector sponsorship, the UK Ambassador still wines and dines some of us foreign-based UK grads each year to keep British links going. I don’t think they would do this if there were no return.

2) Universities: Athletes returning home are quite likely to be successful in business and will contribute to the alumni coffers of the university where they had an enjoyable sports experience. Overseas grads are usually especially appreciative alumni and very generous. You may notice how alumni magazines feature overseas groups; there is a reason for this.

3) Swim coaches: If the coach can take an exceptional raw talent, tune it up to say, an Olympic medal, his CV will look a lot better and his job safer. Since only 2 swimmers from the US can be in any Olympic event, the coach can get more medalists/finalists
out of his foreign trainees and increase his fame.

All this to say there are many forces for some foreign content in universities that benefit many players in the short and long run.

Professional sports are a whole other thing, which is what Phil is saying (I think)
Ian

swimr4life
December 12th, 2005, 09:46 AM
When did national pride and competition become a bad thing?

Phil Arcuni
December 12th, 2005, 10:36 AM
Who said anything about national pride or competition? Anyone who knows me knows I compete and pretty aggressively, too, as well as being proud of my country (usually). However, I do not see why we need to create teams for sports of individuals, nor do I see how having a lot of good athletes has anything to do with the quality of the country, or anything to be particularly proud of. If it creates a false pride I do think that can obscure the real things to be proud of, or not proud of.

TheGoodSmith
December 12th, 2005, 04:07 PM
Let ALL the foreigners over to the US that want to pay for their own college education and swim for the team of their choice. FACT: There are PLENTY of walk-on spots in EVERY Division I school for good talented athletes. No one will deny them participation if they have the cash to play the game, the natural talent and the brains to pass the entrance exams.

However.......... take ONE dollar from NCAA allotted swimming scholarships at a school and you are effectively funding the success of other country's swimming program at the next Olympics. You are basically stabbing ourselves in the back at the end of every 4 year period.

GONE are the days of the 1960s and 1970s when the US swept the medal counts in every event with 3 qualifiers for the Games. Gone are the days when we win every relay almost every Olympics.

Personally, I want the 400m free relay at the Olympics BACK under US control ! PERIOD ! Forget the "lets all hold hands with other countries relay teams, and train their althetes and sing Kumbaya"

We don't need to be training other country's athletes any more, let alone PAYING their way to a top notch Division I schools. Their countries can do it themselves. We get our asses handed to us in many other events at the olympics. Swimming is a golden nugget for the US and has been for many decades.

Coaches that routinely grab swimmers from other countries without US citizenship are doing a diservice to US kids that work hard for the money and opportunity. Coaches that continue to recruit abroad are LAZY in my opinion and the points they earn at the NCAA championships from these foreign athletes should be ineligible. "N" stands for National..... not international in NCAA.


John Smith

ande
December 12th, 2005, 04:13 PM
At an international meet this summer, (I think) one of the Texas Olympians, yelled to one of the US coaches (who was talking with some foreign swimmers during warm up,)
something to the effect of,

"Would you please stop recruiting (those foreign swimmers) and time me for a 50?"

aquageek
December 12th, 2005, 04:55 PM
Originally posted by TheGoodSmith
However.......... take ONE dollar from NCAA allotted swimming scholarships at a school and you are effectively funding the success of other country's swimming program at the next Olympics.

And here I was thinking a dollar doesn't go as far as it used to.

Jeff Commings
December 12th, 2005, 05:32 PM
Here's my one comment on the situation:

If Lezak, Crocker, Phelps and Walker trained with the four South Africans for a year and made a more level playing field, I bet the South Africans still would have won. They were just that good.

The Americans just weren't as well prepared for the relay as the South Africans. From what I understand, the South Africans had been working on winning since 2002. The Americans probably didn't prepare for it until about three weeks after Trials.

I understand John's desire to bring the 400 free relay back to the States, but the swimmers have to be prepared for it. I bet this is why they lost in 2000. The Australians weren't just going after Gary Hall's comments. They got together and got pumped up for it. The Americans were just cocky and too confident. When Klim set the world record leading off, they didn't know how to bounce back and win, like they could have.

Just because someone's training in the US doesn't automatically mean they're better than you. They just have more to prove because they sacrificed a lot to get where they are. Take Stephen Parry, who almost took down Michael Phelps in the 200 fly. Coming from Britain to train in Florida was probably a big step, and he made the most of it. I say good for him, as well as good for Markus Rogan (even though he trains/trained at Stanford), Vlad Polyakov, Simon Burnett and others.

As far as representing another country at an international meet, I think that's not a good idea. Duje says he will always be Croatian. What will he do when/if he wins at Worlds or Olympics and they play the Qatar anthem? Will he just play the Croatian anthem in his head? Blech.

Matt S
December 12th, 2005, 06:56 PM
Excuse me. Since when did a discussion of COUNTRIES without a tradition of world class swimming hiring non-native swimmers to represent their COUNTRY internationally, morph into yet another discussion of U.S. UNIVERSITIES giving scholarships to swimmers who would continue to represent their native countries internationally?

Two separate questions. We've chewed over the latter one quite a bit, but if you want to reignite that issue, go back to that discussion thread please. Continuing on in this thread merely confuses who said what about whom, and leads exhuberent slamming over comments no one really understands.

Yes, yes, I know that all you folks who thought you were good enough to go to college for free because you were such awesome swimmers (here's a news flash: there are about 100 of you for every scholarship that was available at the time) were all very traumatized by one Bolivian who swam for a Conference rival, possibly on scholarship. However, please try to direct your angst to a discussion thread where the participants actually, how do I put this?...care.

TheGoodSmith
December 13th, 2005, 12:39 PM
Matt S.... you're kind of crabby today.

Frank Thompson
December 16th, 2005, 02:11 PM
More Swim Exploring:

Roland Gimbutis is the latest swimmer being pursued by Qater. The value of the offer is a little low compared to what Duje Draganja got from the wealth and riches country. Read the story
[URL=http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/lane9/news/10425.asp] and you will see they are offering him $10,000 per month. There might be some major negotiating going on right now. Roland was part of the US Open/NCAA 400 Free Record setting relay that averaged under :41.95 per 100 per man. There time was the fastest by over a second of anyone in NCAA history at 2:47.70 and if Qater gets Roland it will have half of the 2005 Cal Relay.

I believe the next recruit will be out of Coach Mike Bottom's camp and that would be Milorad Cavic from Serbia-Montenegro, who went the same time as Gimbutis in the relay at :41.87. Then if they can recruit someone like Peter Mankoc of Slovica then they can challenge every country in the world in the 400 Free Relay.

It will be interesting to see if Roland Gimbutis accepts this offer or alters the offer. Judging from the aritcle it does not look like major funding is available so I think you are going to see another swimmer for Qater

patrick
December 16th, 2005, 02:22 PM
I doubt Cavic would sign up with Qatar, he's a Serb. Remember what Duje (Roman Catholic Croat) said about "not giving up his religion". Spoken like a true Balkan!

Frank Thompson
December 16th, 2005, 02:33 PM
Patrick:

I thought he was an American, but had dual citzenship and choose to swim for them. I know he grew up and went to HS over here and I don't think has ever lived in Serbia-Montenegro. Anyway I think that Qater is going to go to that part of the world and offer major bucks that those nations can't afford to fund for swimmers. It seems from all of the news reports that the male sprinters are the ones they are after with the recruitments of Schoeman, Neethling, and Draganja.

patrick
December 16th, 2005, 03:03 PM
Frank:

Yes Michael grew up in California and does have dual-citizenship, yet ethnically he is a Serb. My point is, I doubt you will ever see an athlete from an Orthodox heritage (Serb, Russian, Greek) swim for an Arab country no matter what the financial incentive is.

Jeff Commings
December 16th, 2005, 03:19 PM
That would be an interesting relay, wouldn't it Patrick? But I did notice that all the reports were about sprint freestylers, which makes it more intriguing.

I sincerely hope that this fires up the USA to, in the paraphrased words of John Smith, "bring the relay back." With for guys that can go in the 48.1-48.9 range, that's one heck of a relay.

But the US needs to be pumped and ready to take on the challengers. Because there are now two in that relay (S. Africa and Qatar), if everything goes Qatar's way.

It's funny that no one's trying to challenge in the other relays. Heck, that 800 free relay is still up for grabs. Why hasn't Britain tried to get three more swimmers to match Simon Burnett? Maybe they're more tactful than that.

patrick
December 16th, 2005, 03:27 PM
Qatar relay: Manoc (SVK) is a possibilty--Salim Iles from Algeria would be a good fit, Rafed El-Masri of Syria has had some good 50s --talk about nation building.

I agree Jeff--the British are a puzzle, they need facilities like the Germans and French to attract the youth.

patrick
December 16th, 2005, 04:10 PM
Qatar snapshot

Area: slightly smaller than Connecticut, Population: 863,051 (July 2005 est.), Land: mostly flat and barren desert covered with loose sand and gravel, Ethnically: Arab 40%, Pakistani 18%, Indian 18%, Iranian 10%, other 14% (60% guest workers?), Religion: Muslim 95%, Language: Arabic (official), English commonly used as a second language, Government: traditional monarchy, discretionary system of law controlled by the amir, although civil codes are being implemented; Islamic law dominates family and personal matters.

Business: Oil and gas account for more than 55% of GDP, roughly 85% of export earnings, and 70% of government revenues. Oil and gas have given Qatar a per capita GDP about 80% of that of the leading West European industrial countries. Proved oil reserves of 16 billion barrels should ensure continued output at current levels for 23 years. Oil production: 790,000 bbl/day (2004 est.).

Military: 18 years of age for voluntary military service; Land Force's enlisted personnel are largely nonprofessional foreign nationals (2005).

OK let’s see: 60% of the population is guest workers, the military is primarily a non-native force, and now they want to buy athletes to produce Olympic medals. Makes sense.

Frank Thompson
December 16th, 2005, 05:51 PM
I still stand by my statement that no nation has more future potential talent over the USA in the 400 Free Relay. If you look at the current FINA World Rankings, the USA has more swimmers than any nation ranked in the top ten. Last year with the 3:13.77, which broke the American Record and was only .60 off the World Record.

South Africa didn't even field a team when they could have. With 3/4 of the relay swimming in Montreal and a replacement for Lyndon Ferns they didn't even try. Read the story at
www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/lane9/news/9443.asp That guy, Karl Thaning that did a :49.25 split in Athens could have swam and challenged the USA.

Freddy Bousquet, as good as he was at the NCAA has not medaled in either the 50 or the 100 Free at either 2004 Athens or 2005 Montreal. In fact he didn't even final in the 100 in Montreal and Lezak and Phelps did. He did get a 7th in the 50 with a :22.44 however. So all of the training he is doing over here has not paid off in International competition.

Could someone please tell me who has more potential than the USA? Italy would look like judging from the rankings but they did not even place in the 400 Free Relay.

Paul Smith
December 16th, 2005, 06:06 PM
Frank,
I'm not so sure. The bigger issue here is what stand the Olympic committee will take (if any), or if it can take fr countries who start "buying" athletes to compete in this event. What's to stop Qatar from "recruiting" Brunelli?

The lines between Pro and amateur sports have long since blurred, but as far as I know the Olympics continue to be competition between countries.......like some said earlier on here, if not then what anthem should the be playing at the awards ceremony?

My own two cents.......if your going to represent a country in THIS event then you need to be a citizen of that country.

Peter Cruise
December 16th, 2005, 07:19 PM
Going back to the origins of the Olympics, we would take away this stuff by not competing by country. In fact, we could be really traditional and hold the events in the nude. Think of the ratings!

LindsayNB
December 17th, 2005, 09:57 AM
Originally posted by Paul Smith
My own two cents.......if your going to represent a country in THIS event then you need to be a citizen of that country.

Is there any question that Qatar is going to grant the recruited swimmers citizenship? (And allow them to maintain their current citizenship as well.)

Frank Thompson
December 17th, 2005, 01:35 PM
Paul, LinsayNB:

Its my understanding that the IOC has allowed athletes to have dual citizenship and to declare to choose which nation they which to represent in the Olympics. People like Martin Zubero and Markus Rogan come to mind who have done that in the past. If the country allows dual citizenship then its ok. I am sure Qater will allow it and it can be negotiated in the financial contract. I am not sure if Duje Draganja is a complete citizen of Qater or a dual citizen of both Qater and Croatia and I didn't see anything in the press about it.

Swimmers have been able to change Nationalities for years but now its been more frequently. About the only person I know who has done that here in the USA is USMS own Ron Karnaagh, who was on the US Olympic team in 1992 and now has dual citizenship with Poland and represents them. I didn't hear or read anything that he did it for major bucks. So I don't think yet there has been anybody thats gone for a major financial package.

The IOC will do nothing to stop this because a precedent was set in the sport of track when Kenya's Stephen Cherono, the World Record holder in the 3000 meter steeplechase was allowed and approved to change his allegiance and compete for Qater. He also changed his name to Said Saaeef Shaheen. He now receives a lifetime salary of $1000 per month. With this done successfully in track, Qater is moving into swimming.

Qater knows that great swimmers come with a price tag and they will offer Phelps/Beard like cash to lure the best. In fact, Rolland Schoeman got the Qater offer in an e-mail message and he said it came out of the blue. He was shocked and tempted to take it because it was a lot of money and it was guaranteed. As part of the lure, both Schoeman and Neethling and several others were invited to Qater as a training trip to see the country and swim in the best facilities with other elite athletes. They didn't go.

The FINA rule is the 1 year residency regulation. But it can be waived if officials from both countries agree to drop it. So big money will be allowed to be thrown around to attract the best swimmers. Because swimming is now a professional sport, a swimmer will be allowed to follow the money just like they do in another sports like international baseball players, NBA players, etc. Why should Olympic athletes be denied the same choice? Apparently the IOC sees that its ok and line with what professional leagues are doing with free agency.

With this allowing to happen, it would render competition between countries meaningless and Nationalism would not exist in the true sense of the word at the Olympics. Corporate sponsorship of the games which has become overly commericalized would then have rich nations like Qater in the Olympic picture that would not have been there in the first place providing major funds for athletes as a second source of income. I am sure that the IOC and the major sports federations will get some kind of financial incentives out of this so everyone leaves the table rich and happy.

SCAQ Member
December 19th, 2005, 07:54 PM
You know what, swimmers work harder and more diligent than any other athlete. They start in some cases when they are 6 years old and swim till their 30 or so and never get to profit from it.

Of course there are exceptions like Amada Beard, Michael Phelps, Ian Thorpe and other swimsuit line mercenaries, but Olympians medaled or didn't medal like Gabrielle Rose, Clay Evans, Brian Godelle and other names you have never heard or don't remember made nothing.

I say swim for any country you want for any amount of money you can get. Why not? What harm is done to the offended nations or flag?

Frank Thompson
February 9th, 2006, 02:43 PM
From a press release today, it looks like Duje Dragania will not change his alligence and have dual citizenship with the country of Quater. Something must have happened. This kind of blocks the progress of Quater buying swimmers for the future. The story gave a figure which was about half of the amount reported last month. www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/lane9/news/10822.asp