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When Five Olympic Rings Are Not Enough

Nov 9, 2012

News Round-Up: 

Australia: sponsorship is hard to come by for swimmers Down Under these days, with Alicia Coutts, one of the biggest haulers of medals in international waters for the Dolphins between 2010 and 2012, unable to attract a single backer. A triple champion at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Coutts was Australia's swim star at London 2012, her five medals topped by a 4x100m free relay gold. yet no sponsor turned up after Delhi and the picture remains the same after London. Coutts, a local Audi dealer in Canberra her only private deal, is not upset as she takes on paid work alongside her swim training. The 25-year-old has taken part-time work at a charity. "I'm back at work, I've just been working a couple of days a week just because I have been so busy,'' Coutts told Todd Balym at The Courier-Mail. "I do it just because I love it. I don't exactly need to work. If I did not work I'd be fine, but I just do it because it's something to keep my mind off swimming and to keep me occupied in the day. I don't feel any different and I kind of forget that I have won them. Until people mention it I just kind of forget about it." Her manager is currently talking to several parties to see what private support for swimming remains in Australia. A far cry from the multi-million deals of Thorpe and Hackett, though the man who just fell shy at London 2012, sprinter James Magnussen is said to be on about $750,000 a year, with something like a quarter of a million or more lost by a fingernail for silver behind Nathan Adrian (USA) in the 100m free final.

Britain: The asthma drug that helped Joanne Jackson prolong her career beyond medals at the 2009 world championships for a place at a home Games in London this summer, is being denied to normal patients because it is not "cost-effective". The country's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the medicines regulator, is set to announce that Xolair, a treatment we reported on when Jackson was suffering serious asthma problems but as an athlete was unable to take substances banned under anti-doping rules, can no longer be prescribed by family doctors. Jackson said: "Xolair allowed me to resurrect my swimming career after I experienced frequent painful asthma attacks during training, causing my ribs to pop out. Thanks to Xolair I was able to get my asthma under control and compete in London 2012." Her swim career was never the same again after a terrible winter of asthma in late 2009 and into 2010 but the drug got her to a home Games. Xolair does not come cheap: between £1,665 a year to £26,640, depending on the dose and frequency needed for the patient.

Brazil: at the Torneio Open de Natação in Guaratinguetá, Sao Paulo, Olympic silver medallist Thiago Pereira clocked 1:55.52 in the heats of the 200m medley but opted out of the final won by fellow Corinthian Thiago Simon in 1:55.13. In other action, Nicolas Santos clocked 21.92 to win the 50m free and settled for second in the 100m free 48.16 to 48.28 behind American Justin Roth. Lucas Kaniescki won the 1500m free in 14:49.68, Henrique Barbosa the 200m breaststroke in 2:06.68 and Pereira the 100m butterfly in 51.50. Fabiola Molina took the sprint backstrokes in 27.36 over 50m and 58.58 over 100m.