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Backwash

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

 


Cheap Shot

World record-holder Mark Warnecke's decision last October to speak out against what he considers to to be widespread doping in sport found little favour with the masses. The 27-year-old breaststroker joined forces with teammate Chris-Carol Bremer last fall to urge their federation (DSV) to crack down harder on drug use. One campaign suggested by the German team last January in Perth involved publishing all drug test results of national team swimmers in order to establish steroid profiles. Much to Warnecke's annoyance, the DSV never exploited this initiative.

When he got out of the water from his 50 breaststroke at the German Short Course Champs in Fulda - having just equalled his own world record (26.97) for the third time he made an unpleasant discovery. In his swim bag he found an empty hypodermic needle, placed there as a tasteless mockery to his and Bremer's claims that performance-enhancing substances could be found in swimbags around the world. He immediately reported it to police and made the statement that apparently he and Bremer had "touched a nerve." Warnecke praised the strict anti-doping moves recently made in France and said he was disappointed that opposition to his actions was expressed so cheaply. "It makes you think somebody's got something to hide," he said.

Warnecke went on to break his world record a week later in Sheffield, swimming the 50 breaststroke in 26.70 for the European Short Course title.



Still Champion

Olympic gold medallist Mark Tewksbury made headlines in mid-December when he officially admitted to being a homosexual. While the news, widely reported in newspapers across Canada, came as little surprise to those close to him, Tewksbury told The Globe and Mail the decision to make it official was motivated by the loss of a six-figure motivational speaking contract with a financial institution. The company dropped him because he was "too openly gay."

Tewksbury won Canada's only gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, a feat that made him a household name and secured him numerous endorsements. He turned that success into a brilliant career as a motivational speaker, authoring a book (Visions of Excellence, Viking 1993), and speaking to thousands about what it means and takes to pursue a goal.

Tewksbury told CTV that his admission had brought him tremendous relief, and now he could carry on and be true to himself. And hopefully see the day when being gay was "no longer an issue." His strategies for success: - Dreaming - Visualization - Persistance through Challenges - Staying Motivated - Taking Control - Teamwork - Attention to Details - Overcoming Weaknesses - Delighting in Others' Excellence



Show Me The Money

The Adidas European Short Course Championships advertised cash incentives of 1,520,000 DM (US $912,000), with 20,000 DM (US $12,000) awarded for world records and 5,000 DM (US $3,000) for European records. Actually, there was no cash in the kitty. LEN (League Europeenne de Natation) had taken out an insurance policy against the likelihood of any records being set. Swimmers were inspired by the incentives and over 300,000 DM (US $180,000) will be distributed once the Insurance company pays up.



In The Money

Australian swimmer Susan O'Neill has joined the million-dollar league with a reputed $1.2 million from sponsorships and grants in 1998. Kieren Perkins has dropped under the million-dollar category for the first time since his heyday, with an income of $990,000.

While Michael Klim is probably leading the charge in the remainder of the field with an impressive portfolio of national and international companies, no annual figure has been published. Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett, and Geoff Huegill are obviously doing very well and won't have to go cap in hand to Mum and Dad for pocket money anymore.

Australian swimmers are supported (carded) by the federation and the Australian Sports Commission with grants ranging from $12,000 down to $2,000 for world rankings from 1 to 60. In addition, the Australian Olympic Committee provides a generous incentive scheme based on medal and fourth place results at international meets for each event in which a swimmer is successful at that level, based on the scale below:

1998	1999	2000
Gold $35,000	Gold $40,000	Gold $45,000
Silver $21,000	Silver $24,000	Silver $27,000
Bronze $10,500	Bronze $12,000	Bronze $13,500	
Fourth $9,000	Fourth $10,000	Fourth $10,000

Fortunately the Australian Tax Office treats world-class athletes realistically, with opportunities to amortize incomes over a number of years. Sports Commission Grants are tax free.



Raising The Ante

Swimming's world governing body, FINA, today announced a US $15,000 world-record incentive for the World Short Course Swimming Championships in Hong Kong on April 1-4. The incentive will be paid for each world record to be broken at the championships. It is the first time FINA has offered world record incentives for any world championship competition. (A US $2,000 world record incentive has been available for the annual World Cup series.)



Centre Coach Named

Bud McAllister has been named director of swimming and head coach of the Kitchener-Waterloo National Swimming Centre at Wilfrid Laurier University (K-WNSC) in Kitchener-Waterloo.

Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, McAllister has spent most of his 20-year coaching career in California, including coaching positions in Mission Viejo, Coronado, and Fullerton, California. Twice named the American Swim Coaches Association Coach of the Year, McAllister has been the head coach of the Golden West Swim Club in Huntington Beach, California, since 1993.

At the 1988 Seoul Olympics, McAllister led American swimming superstar Janet Evans to gold medals in the 800 freestyle, the 400 individual medley, as well as a gold medal and world record in the 400 freestyle. In total, Evans set six individual world records during her swimming career with McAllister and was named World Swimmer of the Year in 1987 and 1988.

Dean Boles, who is head coach of both the Region of Waterloo Swim Club and the Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks, has been named the associate coach of the K-WNSC. McAllister and Boles will join forces and work together toward producing world-level high performance swimmers.

McAllister is preparing for his transfer to Canada with a targeted start date of January 15, 1999. He will report to Swimming Canada's coach of high performance services, Dave Johnson.



Looking Ahead

Montreal wants to stage the 2003 world long-course championships. Montreal Mayor Pierre Bourque sent FINA a letter regarding his city's candidacy, and a bid will be presented officially in Lausanne on January 29.

The next world long-course championships will be held in Fukuoka, Japan, in July 2001.



Championship Economics 101

Tom Hoad, Executive Director of the 8th FINA World Championships conducted in Perth on January 7-18, 1998 said today that the organising committee had been successful in its request to have the world governing body meet its contractual agreement.

"They reneged after a contract was signed. We (the West Australian Sports Centre Trust) took our lawyer to Lausanne and explained the facts of life to FINA. They didn't pay willingly, but they paid."

The amount paid, $US 1 million, is believed to be a minor amount from the "buckets of dollars" FINA is understood to have received from the world television rights. So FINA was among the winners from the conduct of the 8th FINA World Swimming Championships.

How did the national and provincial governments who supported the bid and the conduct of the championships fare in the winners and losers stakes? On the surface the state of Western Australia lost between $2.5 and 3 million. However, the economic impact survey on the conduct of the 8th FINA World Championships shows that there was a positive result of $69 million for the home state and the country.

But what of the future for FINA World Championships, for host cities, federations, and counties? The host for the 2001 9th World LC Championships offered US $10 million to win the right to conduct the competitions in the four disciplines.

Japan has a population 400% greater than Australia and like the Perth hosts, they have a long history of success in the aquatic disciplines, particularly swimming. With US $10 million to pay out up front, the Japanese federation, the municipal and prefecture governments are going to need all the financial backing they can glean from all sources.

At this time, they have not yet announced their major sponsors. The state of the Asian economy and the co-hosting of the 2002 World Soccer Championships with South Korea will not make this an easy task.

In the 1994 World Championships in Rome the deficit was US $4 million. It took two years to reduce the deficit with sports lottery revenue that normally would have been put to better use.

Meanwhile Montreal has notified FINA of its interest in hosting the 2003 World Championships. A formal bid is expected soon.



Athletes Alliance

In November 1998, Josh Davis of the USA National Team took on the post of Chairman of the new Athletes Alliance, a group of concerned athletes, coaches, and supporters who want to keep the sport of swimming clean and achieve a greater say for athletes and coaches in general.

One of the Alliance's first issues to be tackled is athlete seating at the Sydney Olympics. Davis is encouraging that the 800+ athletes should sit in the first 10 rows along the 50-m racing course. Immediately behind them, FINA and corporate sponsors would have the privilege of cheering and watching in the vicinity of the athletes. "This is accordance with the priorities of the sport of swimming and the Olympics: Athletes first, then everybody else," said Davis. "The second of four tenets the Alliance is standing for is Athlete-Centred Sport. This means the swimmers are priority. At the very least, athletes should have priority seating," he added.

The Athletes Alliance webpage can be found at: alliance.usswim.net (the website has nothing to do with U.S. Swimming). The office contact is Andy Thompson. Call 800-356-2722 from USA, or 954-563-4930 from overseas to add links/ideas. Or contact Josh Davis directly at: 4408 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78722 512-431-9675



IOC Decision on Medals

A December 1998 IOC decision to not recognize the real winners in major international events affected by drug-influenced East German swimmers was labelled "outrageous" by John Leonard, Executive Director of the 6000-member American Swimming Coaches Association.

Mr. Leonard said: "The IOC, which has repeatedly presented itself as the leader in anti-doping, has revealed its true nature in this refusal to correct results that were proven to be drug influenced. Where court-proven drug use has occurred, or where confessions of drug use in training have been accepted, it is absolutely vital that the IOC award duplicate medals to all affected swimmers, and correct the results to reflect the changes. Athletes from many nations and in many sports have been cheated. All should be compensated and the results corrected." He added that instead of providing fair competition for the world's sportsmen and women, the IOC has revealed itself— yet again— to be more interested in protecting the perks, power, and prestige of the officials involved in governing world sport.

Leonard said that the IOC must regain the confidence of the world's athletes and prove itself to be an athlete-centred organization.He made three recommendations: 1) The IOC should award duplicate medals to all athletes affected by court-proven doping, or by self-confessed doping (with no attempt made to take medals from doped winners, since they may or may not be culpable). 2) The IOC should support financially the drug-testing programs that conform to the IOC standards. In swimming, FINA is now running an excellent drug-use testing program. 3) The IOC should not attempt to bring world drug testing under its own umbrella, but simply provide funding for well-run programs by the Federations.

Canadian athletes who were cheated have repeatedly indicated that they have no desire to have medals reawarded. The Canadian Olympic Association has so far not joined the push to rewrite the books.



Smith Appeal for March

The Court of Arbitration of Sport, the independent body to which Michelle De Bruin will appeal her four year ban, have chosen their panel to hear her case. The three man panel consists of President Yves Fortier, a French Canadian lawyer, FINA's representative Denis Oswald, and De Bruin's nominee lawyer Michael Belloff. De Bruin's solicitor Peter Lennon has also asked for a date to be set some time in February, but maintains there are still a number of procedural matters to be resolved. Mr Lennon claims that FINA has a number of documents relating to the case that he has not seen, but the world governing body says it has disclosed all documents. He says a full hearing cannot take place until this and other issues are resolved.

 

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






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