IOC president: Some athletes change nationalities for money
INTERNATIONAL Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge has admitted that some athletes swap nationalities purely for monetary reasons and conceded he is powerless to stop them.
The debate over ‘Plastic Brits’ – a group of foreign athletes that have decided to represent Great Britain at this summer’s Olympics – has prompted Olympics minister Hugh Robertson to say all Team GB members should know the national anthem.
Great Britain’s captain at the recent World Indoor Athletics Championships, Tiffany Porter, is American but does have a legitimate reason for representing GB, her mother is British.
But Rogge said not all athletes were like Porter: “The athletes from other countries who just switch allegiance for money reasons you can’t stop it but we don’t like it.
“I understand the fully legitimate reasons like study, work, marriage or family reasons.
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“The issue of the athletes of the poor countries who get absolutely no support you can understand. Maybe you don’t love it but you can understand it.”
Cuban-born triple jumper Yamile Aldama, USA’s 400m runner Shana Cox and longjumper Shara Proctor of Anguilla, will also represent Team GB at this year’s Games.
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Aldama applied for a British passport more than a decade ago after meeting and marrying Andrew Dodds, a Scot studying Spanish in Havana, and moving to London.
Cox’s parents and brother were born in Britain and she has dual citizenship.
Proctor, meanwhile, comes from a country that does not have a National Olympic Committee, so as it is a British overseas territory, Anguillan athletes who hold a British passport are eligible to represent Great Britain.
For four-time Olympian Karen Pickering’s views on the ‘Plastic Brits’ controversy, see Thursday’s Ipswich Star.