Backwash features short clips, gossip, letters and opinions. Contributions are welcome.


IOC Priorities 101

On July 27, the IOC awarded TBWA/Chiat Day (an advertising concern) a $150 million contract to repair its image. The IOC confirmed "its commitment to anti-doping" with a $2 million research program on August 23, Mark Tewksbury's OATH reported.

Olympic legend (10 golds including 7 at the 1972 Munich Olympics) Mark Spitz is right. Standing in the newly proclaimed Mark Spitz Avenue, which will run right through the heart of the Sydney Olympic Athletes' Village, Spitz delivered a passionate performance that was worthy of a gold medal, reported by Jacqueline Magnay, Sydney Morning Herald.

"The IOC has the capacity, the power, the might, the knowledge, and the technology to test for a plethora of drugs that they refuse to test for because of the pressures from certain nations," he said.

"Sydney could be 100 per cent clean if the power-brokers wanted it to be. The problem lies not in the fact that the drug testing is incapable of determining the offence ... the question is, are they going to test for everything they possibly can?

"And the answer 'no'."

Spitz claimed that the IOC was run by 11 members of an inner circle, and the other 90 members were simply "window dressing" and should be disenfranchised in the present Olympic reform process.

He also touched on discussions he had had with IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch about the need to reward Olympic medallists financially.

He said about $200 million from the billions of dollars from the sale of television rights should be put aside for Olympic prize money, which would encourage harmonious relations between athletes and administrators.


John Hoberman, a Professor of Germanic Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Mortal Engines: The Science of Performance and the Dehumanization of Sport (1992), suggests the following approach towards cleaner sport.

(1) the hiring of truly independent physician-informants to guarantee the "physiological transparency" of athletes by means of physical examinations as well as drug tests;

(2) an intelligence operation to track the movements and contacts of former East German doping doctors and coaches as well as all medical personnel associated with athletes who show sudden improvements in performance. The IOC has not lifted a finger to stop or even deplore the worldwide export of former East German doping experts into responsible positions in sports federations in at least 20 countries;

(3) an independent prosecutor's office to pursue doping doctors, officials, and athletes unimpeded by national or federation politics.

The tragedy of modern sport is that drugs have made it a tainted and even sordid venue for the celebration of the human spirit. At this late date only the hardest measures can save it from perverse hormonal enhancements and the genetically engineered nightmares that await us.

Pan Am Backwash

Winnipeg is projecting no deficit for hosting the Pan Ams. The Games' $140-million budget ($100 million of it from various government levels) will be met as ticket sales reached the anticipated target of 500,000. Sandy Riley, chairman of Winnipeg's Pan American Games Society, would like future Games to be a way to qualify for the Olympics to guarantee greater participation.

Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic will be hosting the 2003 Games, and if the Games survive beyond that year, two U.S. cities-Raleigh-Durham, and San Antonio-have expressed interest in hosting a 2007 Games.

When Winnipeg hosted the 1967 Games, there were only 18 sports. This year there were 31 (10 of them non-Olympic).

There was no TV coverage or major newspaper sports writers from the United States, who dominated the medal tables without sending their top athletes.

Embattled CEO

The Chief Executive of the Canadian Olympic Association, Carol Anne Letheren, has announced that she intends the leave her position at the end of her current contract in 2002. She has been in her current position since 1994, at the same time she has also been a member of the International Olympic Committee, a blatant conflict in the eyes of many Canadian Pan Am and Olympic athletes.

Perhaps she's ready to leave now and by announcing her intention she's looking for a buy-out of the rest of her contract, an amount estimated at over $400,000 for the next three years.

Following Famous Footsteps

Morgan Knabe, winner of the men's 200 breaststroke, received a $1,000 bursary for developing swimmers named after his idol Victor Davis a couple of years ago.

Morgan was 8 years old when Victor died in 1989. He never saw him swim, but has been compared to Davis. He has a maple leaf tattooed over his heart as Davis did. He's taking aim the Victor's remaining long course records-he already has some of the short course ones.

Now It Can Be Revealed

Joanne Malar wears a gold ring on the second toe of her left foot to remind her how far she has come since the 1996 Atlanta Olympics when she just missed the podium in the 200 IM, finishing fourth, and missed the finals in her best event-the 400 IM.

Greetings From Down Under

As you may know, I have recently taken on the position of Chief Executive Officer of Queensland Swimming. I am looking forward to getting back into the sport that has been such a big part of my life. I commend you on your web site and will be visiting it regularly to get up-to-date results on all the competitions.

Alex Baumann
Brisbane, Australia


Why would you ever write an article about Dagmar Hase losing out on any medals because of Michelle Smith. I have competed on the West German Olympic team and I will never feel sorry for any former East German athlete. All their performances are forever built on cheating and doping. I really don't care how long they have been "clean"-if you ever believe they are-they should have all been banned for a minimum of four years.

Next thing you know, you are going to tell me Kristin Otto was one of the greatest athletes of our time.

Erik Hochstein


Swimsuit companies are locked in battle over providing swimmers with another performance-enhancing "device"-the full-body suit. These suits substantially alter the area of skin-to-water contact, reducing drag by the use of "teflon-coated lycra" and their creators claim a physiological advantage of "compressing muscles to minimize fatigue and assist the athlete to maintain technique."

The time has come for FINA to call a halt to such developments in the use of external aids. Current rules concern themselves only with modesty (GR1, GR2, and GR3).

The battle of swimsuit companies with the elite swimmer, as it were, the "meat" in the new grotesque outfit, must be called off if only in the interest of providing a level playing field for all competitors.

Poorer countries and non-sponsored swimmers will find the almost total body cover outfits well beyond their means. Adidas has suggested a retail cost of between $300 to $400 (Australian, approx US $250). The idea of swimming being a pure sport where equipment plays a minor role in the eventual outcome could become a thing of the past.

One hopes that FINA will not demand "proof" that the suits are performance-enhancing before moving to correct this situation.

Forbes Carlile
Sydney, Australia


Remember... It's not true until it has been officially denied