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We Were Heroes At Least For One Day

Aug 1, 2009  - Craig Lord

Here's a list of heroes: David Dunford (KEN); Cullen Jones (USA); Amaury Leveaux (FRA); Stefan Nystrand (SWE); Duje Draganja (CRO); Konrad Czerniak (POL); Graeme Moore (RSA). 

And why? Well, when George Bovell (TRI) had a "wardrobe malfunction that only his mother could fix", according to the poolside commentator in Rome, just before walking out for the 50m freestyle semi last night, officials told him: "the race must go without you".

Which is when the other seven blokes said: No way. We'll wait for him. He has a right to race. Solidarity in the sprint club. Fantastic. Good for them.  

Bovell came out in something shiny and clocked 21.65, the same time as Krisztian Takacs (HUN). The next semi came and Fred Bousquet (FRA) and his Jaked cracked out a 21.21 championship record. That fell to Bovell, on 21.20, in the swim-off. No idea what he was wearing. Something shiny. 

One of those heroes of the semis was David Dunford, who will be familiar with the problems of wardrobe malfunction in a time of silly suits and circus. Last year, when the US-based Dunford brothers sought out LZRs, David was delivered of one but Jason was told that he was built to the wrong proportions. Imagine that. 

He looked just about perfectly proportioned for swimming speed and success in Beijing and again here in Rome - but not without a fair bit of bother with suits. The Jakeds edge of his experience was that they ripped, three of them. Ludicrous. Time, energy and effort then going into finding another suit that can keep you competitive. Jason Dunford is one among many an example of what swimmers have had to put up with at this mad, sad meet.

"It has been unbelievable here," said Denis Pursley, Britain head coach. "We have seen kids waiting in line practically begging for suits, standing in line in oppressive heat for two hours just to get a suit. Hopefully, now that FINA has done the right thing, we will never seen athletes treated like this again."

Meanwhile, a message for the man on the poolside mike: you're two records out mate, and have been for the past three finals sessions: the world record count after 6 days of finals is 35, not 33.