Backwash features short clips, gossip, letters and opinions.
Contributions are welcome.
Now for the rumours behind the news.
ACOG under fire Izzy the cartoon-like blue mascot for the Atlanta
Olympic Games, should have been re-baptized "Glitch," for that
was definitely the operative word in Hotlanta.
The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games-otherwise known as ACOG-may
have lived to regret taking on the biggest Olympic Games in history. While
everything in Atlanta looked rosy before the competition started, all that
lavish southern charm and optimism came off as just a lousy cover-up for
the way things really were-downright disorganized.
And ACOG had to face the music. Hordes of angry journalists (over 15,000
for the whole Games) and support staff of all kinds complained bitterly
about the ongoing transportation problems and computer glitches. Buses were
late or didn't run at all. Drivers, recruited from all over the country,
were poorly trained and many either got hopelessly lost or quit. There were
at least a couple of cases of athletes and journalists hijacking buses in
order to get to where they were going. "ACOG" soon became "ACLOG"
As for the heat, IOC executive Dick Pound was quoted as saying that Atlanta
had "lied" about the temperature, citing the average temperature
for the year of 78° F instead of 104°F for the months of July
Hardly surprising that ACOG came to stand for "Atlanta can't organize
IBM's big mistake IBM may come out of the whole Olympic experience
with egg on its face.
The much talked-about "technology" in Atlanta (IBM invested more
than $40 million in software, hardware and computer expertise for the Games)
was a laugh considering IBM's famous Info '96 system was a complete flop.
Athlete biographies were often incomplete and seldom up-dated with results
from the current competition. "Info '96" came to be known as "Info
'97" because of delays. In fairness, many odd results were due to the
faulty data input into the system.
Port-a-Pig-Sty A common scene in Atlanta: journalists, photographers
and ACOG volunteers alike cursing at the sanitary provisions at the Georgia
Tech Aquatic Centre. An equally common scene: journalists, photographers
and ACOG volunteers turning green as they tried to hold off an inevitable
call of nature.
Organizers blocked off the majority of the complex's washrooms and installed
about 20 Port-a-Potties between the main building and the warm-up pool.
Given the number of people they were to service and the stifling heat in
Atlanta, the Port-a-Potty experience was a steamy and smelly one at best.
And maintenance was inadequate! Prior to 10:00 a.m. there was usually some
toilet paper left, but woe to those whose call came later in the day. And
when it was all over, there was no water to wash up.
One journalist commented, "The portables were more civilized in Rio
de Janeiro." Way to go, America!
No sex please we're Canadian The Canadian swim team got a lot of
press going into the Games, and it wasn't for their swimming prowess.
Before coming to Atlanta the team had to sign a Swimming Canada code of
conduct in which they agreed to forego all "sexual activity" for
the duration of the Games.
The pretext for the clause is the young age of many of the female athletes
on the team, but while teams past have had swimmers as young as 13 or 14,
this team's youngest was Jessica Deglau at 16.
Written by head coach Dave Johnson, the sex ban was typical of Canadian
swimming's preoccupation with controlling its athletes' every move.
Athletes agree to behave appropriately; isn't that enough? The youngest
athletes are subject to curfews, and those who are of age should be able
to take responsibility for their actions. How else to encourage athletes
to think, at least partly, for themselves?
Besides, the ban is an insult to Canada's Olympic swimmers, who have surely
not trained for years and years just to have sex in Atlanta. SNC ought to
place greater store in the athletes' priorities.
Bad ads A brick goes to Nike for their top-heavy and aggressive
advertising campaign, with ads featured on billboards all around Atlanta.
Grainy black and white close-ups of various athletes, including professional
tennis star Monica Seles, carried slogans such as "You don't win silver,
you lose gold," or "I didn't come here as a tourist."
It is not much wonder that sport is so corrupted by performance-enhancing
drugs when the "winning is everything" and similar cut-throat
attitudes of advertisers dominate the collective sporting consciousness.
A less results-oriented brainwashing campaign might go a long way to help
the Olympics see their bicentennial.
Long suits in The Speedo Aquablade swimsuit was out and about in
Atlanta and had a fair measure of success. The suit, which covers the body
down to just above the knee, is designed to make less resistance to the
water than skin. Triple gold medalist Michelle Smith of Ireland and bronze
medalist Kirsten Vlieghuis of Holland were the most successful Aquablade
wearers. Dutch and Swedish women as well as several German men were seen
covering up, although most swimmers remain true to the smaller models.
Tougher sanctions The FINA Congress toughened up its drug rules
last week. A country with four positive steroid tests in a 12-month period
could be suspended for a two year period. According to Ray Essick, executive
director for U.S. Swimming, swimmers will be the responsibility of the country
they train in. So if a foreign swimmer training in California tests positive,
it will count against the U.S. This could lead to some method by which foreign
swimmers would be discouraged from training in the U.S., for instance by
refusing to fund insurance for clubs that train those athletes.
Class act Alexander Popov received a telegram from Johnny Weissmuller's
daughter congratulating him on duplicating a feat that her father did first
in 1924 and 1928, winning the 100 free in consecutive Olympics.
Event order Did Alexander Popov think the seven day order of events
was satisfactory? He felt that it needs to be looked at. The Germans women's
4x200 free had some members in the women's 800 free the same night, which
was a hard double. On the last day, the men's 200 backstroke was followed
by the men's 4x100 medley relay, which is hard on the backstroker who has
to swim both events. He preferred the six-day program.
Editor: After 19 years of swimming and 14 of those years as competitive
ones, I am retiring from the sport. I guess Kondo can only handle so much
political controversy and disappointment to eventually reach this point.
After many national team trips, many successful competitions, as well as
many dsiappointments, the desire to train, swim, and compete is a memory
of the past. I am fortunate enough to have had many of those memories as
being very positive. However, some of those not-so-good memories were big
ones, and between exhausting my efforts and my bank account, it is now time
to move on.
After breaking starting blocks, reswims, protests, relocating, starting
my own swim club and coaching myself, it sure has been a fulfilling and
I would like to thank you very much for all the coverage and support you
have given to me over my career. It made a real difference. Although it
is sad to give up something that has been such a big part of my life, there
is also a great sense of relief with no regrets to this decision.
I have thoroughly enjoyed your magazine and articles over the years and
look forward to more in the future. I know you will keep up the success
you have created.
Remember... It's not true until it has been officially denied
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