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Dublin: 1°C Friday 7 May 2021

'I'm leaving after my fifth Olympics seeing it for what it is, sadly - a media franchise'

George Bovell, a bronze medalist at the 2004 Games, has launched a stinging attack on swimming’s governing body.

Image: Gero Breloer

GEORGE BOVELL, A bronze medalist in the 200m individual medley at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, has launched an astonishing attack on Fina – swimming’s governing body.

The 33-year-old, who represents Trinidad and Tobago and whose first Olympics was in Sydney back in 2000, spoke immediately after he failed to qualify for the 50m freestyle semi-final this evening.

“I came into the Olympics, my first Olympics, believing in the ancient legacy of heroic sporting glory”, he told The Guardian’s Andy Bull.

And now I am leaving after my fifth Olympics seeing it for what it is, sadly, a media franchise.”

Bovell is highly-regarded among his peers and is involved in a wide range of charity and humanitarian initiatives around the world.

He said Fina had turned the Olympics into a ‘glorified reality show’.

I see the cheating going on. I see the people with terrible technique swimming incredible times, and the people dropping lots of time late in their careers. The people at the bottom, like us, we just feel like gladiators. Ancient Roman slave gladiators.”

It’s not the first time swimming has come in for criticism at these Games.

Despite Michael Phelps’ spectacular performance in the pool, the presence of Yulia Efimova has overshadowed things with Irish athlete Fiona Doyle also hitting out at Fina’s stance on dopers.

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About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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