6 Swimmers Told to Go Home After Arriving at Olympics



(Newser)

Being told you haven’t qualified for the Olympic team is a tough blow for any athlete. But for six members of Poland’s swimming team, it was all the more devastating because they had already taken the Olympic oath and traveled to Japan. The six swimmers flew back to Warsaw Sunday—days after they had been celebrated on their departure—because the country’s swimming federation had mistakenly sent too many athletes and had to trim the total from 23 to 17, the Washington Post reports. A Polish journalist shared a video of the athletes saying farewell to other members of the delegation. Swimmers including Alicja Tchorz, who would have been competing in her third Olympics, are calling for the resignation of the board of Poland’s swimming federation, reports the New York Times.


“Imagine dedicating 5 years of your life and striving for another start at the most important sporting event … giving up your private life and work, sacrificing your family,” but “6 days before the grand finale, it turns out that you were denied your dreams because of the incompetence of third parties,” Tchorz wrote in a Facebook post. Pawel Slominski, president of the country’s swimming federation, issued a statement saying he understands the swimmers’ anger, reports Reuters. “The reaction of the swimmers, their emotions, the attack on the Polish Swimming Federation is understandable to me and justified,” he wrote, though he added that the international federation behind the rules and Poland’s Olympic committee should also share the blame for the mistake, as they did not provide the requested clarity on the situation until last Wednesday. (Read more Tokyo Olympics stories.)