Swim Coach: BOA More Restrictive Than IOC

June 23, 2021

National Swimming Coach Ben Smith has criticized the Bermuda Olympic Association [BOA], saying they have “created a system that is more restrictive than the International Olympic Committee [IOC]” so our “high level athletes will be left out of consideration for the Olympic Games even though they have been invited internationally.”

Statement from National Swimming Coach Ben Smith:

Mr. Smith said, “The Bermuda Olympic Association has created a system that is more restrictive than the International Olympic Committee and the International Federations have approved. This means that several of our well known and high level athletes will be left out of consideration for the Olympic Games even though they have been invited internationally.

“This part of a policy created by the BOA standards committee that shows no analysis of what is to be achieved by preventing our young Bermudian athletes to attend the Games. The denial letter after receiving an enormous amount of support and encouragement does not counter what has been provided by local and international authorities.

“There seems to be a push to close the door behind past Olympians so that new athletes are not given the same ability to develop and to represent Bermuda. What about the Olympic experience do they want to prevent the next generation to have by producing obstacles that they never had to overcome?

“Why is the Bermuda Olympic Association spending so much time and effort to remove athletes that have been selected internationally and restricting our team size? How many Bermuda administrators will be headed to Tokyo on business class tickets while our athletes are left at home wondering whether they should continue when they are being restricted by their own?

“Roy-Allan Burch went to his first Olympics in Beijing on Universality, his second with the B standard, and when he was on the cusp of the A standard one year away from the 2016 Games, he had a catastrophic injury. He was showing the process of development for the swimmers behind him. His is held up as more of an idol outside of Bermuda than he is on his own shores.

“Our athletes have shown the development path if we support and believe in them. Why is the BOA showing them they don’t believe in our athletes?

“I ask what is the real motivation for denying our young Bermudians and who is responsible for driving this initiative that works so hard to destroy and not build up?”

Statement from the Bermuda Olympic Association:

In response, a BOA spokesperson said, “The Bermuda Olympic Association [BOA] confirms that it received and has declined offers by FINA [the international swimming federation] for two unqualified swimmers, one male and one female, to participate in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. The Bermuda Amateur Swimming Association had submitted Madelyn Moore and Jesse Washington to be on the long list of potential qualifiers for the Games.

“Under the Olympic Charter’s article 44, the governing document of the Olympic Games, each National Olympic Committee is responsible for sending to the Olympic Games ‘only those competitors adequately prepared for high level international competition.’

“Following the Rio Games, in the best interest of athletes’ overall development, the BOA adopted and has adhered to the practice of approving athletes’ participation at international festivals if they meet the requisite qualifying standards for those festivals. This practice has been applied consistently and without prejudice to all athletes in all sports for all competitions during the current quadrennial and has produced some of the most successful teams Bermuda has seen in recent times.

“At this time, Ms. Moore and Mr. Washington have not met FINA’s qualifying standards for the Olympics. Therefore, the BOA cannot currently approve Ms. Moore’s and Mr. Washington’s participation in the Tokyo Games.

“We note that Ms. Moore and Mr. Washington are currently competing at the Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation [CCCAN] Championships in Puerto Rico, and we are hopeful that they will meet the Olympic qualifying standard during their events at CCCAN, which would allow them to represent Bermuda in Tokyo. We extend our best wishes for a successful meet in Puerto Rico.”

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Comments (5)

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  1. comfortably numb says:

    Any athlete will meet disappointment during their career. They can com-lain about that disappointment or they can use it as motivation to get fitter, stronger and faster and hopefully qualify for the next event. Standards are standards and they have not been met unfortunately. The people complaining about the BOA’s decision are probably big supporters of the scourge of healthy competition that is the practice of participation trophies.

    • 365 says:

      So based on your thoughts, lets stop fielding BDA teams for Football & Cricket. We don’t have the population base needed to find a pool of talent deep enough to ever win! What’s the point…right? Wrong!

      These competitions (Olympics in particular) and dreams of many. They are ways in which they are scouted, get scholarships, and get motivate to get better.

      By the way , you misspelled your name, I trust you meant to call yourself uncomfortably dumb.

  2. Mark says:

    Safe to assume BOA is full of PLP sycophants.

    • Sandgrownan says:

      Well, one of them certainly is!

      Rightly or wrongly, the BOA is consistent on this matter – they have denied other sports universality places. The issue is this – the Olympics are not development event, they are the pinnacle. If you don’t qualify you don’t qualify.

  3. brian m Franklin says:

    The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.