I can’t let this die. Some of the eamples who chooses to write about are beyond absurd!
Bernard Lagat is a U.S. citizen, married to an American and has an American-born son. He has lived, trained and paid taes in the U.S. for the past 10 years, including graduating from an American university. He petitioned to run in a U.S. singlet 7 years ago, but Kenya would not release him.
Meb Keflezighi’s family came over to the U.S. when he was a teenager, fleeing unrest in Eritrea. He’s lived, trained, been educated and gotten married to an American in the past 16 years he’s lived in the U.S. He NEVER competed for Eritrea or any other country other than the U.S.
Khalid Khannouchi has lived in the U.S. for the past 10 years and is married to an American. I have made no bones about my dislike for Khannouchi’s remarkable selfishness and ecuse-laden racing, but the fact remains he IS a U.S. citizen and has been for quite some time. He competed for Morocco for all of two years, doing very little in the process. After he became a U.S. citizen, he began to set marathon world records. Now Khannouchi DID pull some crazy strings to hurry his citizenship along prior to the 2004 Olympics, then proceeded to claim injury prior to the Trials only to race for big bucks in Chicago a few months later after his injury miraculously healed quickly.
Now if you want to bash this whole country-swapping thing look no further than the countries of Qatar or Bahrain where the government’s not only pay each other for athletes, the athletes switch religions because of it! That is the real story. Those athletes and governments are pure pay-to-play.
But let’s look into some “good, honest” Americans:
Gabe Jennings hasn’t held a job in years, has had no results whatsoever to speak of, but consistently gets grand-fathered into races, including the Trials, without qualifying times, at the epense of his fellow countrymen….all this despite bashing the U.S. and the Olympics repeatedly in interviews.
Alan Webb. Ah! Alan Webb. There hasn’t been as selfish, weak athlete since Suzy Favor Hamilton—Phil Graham could appreciate a fine American like Webb. Webb has had nearly every advantage and hand-out imaginable, but has NEVER produced on the world stage and always follows up his myriad of major disappointments with an endless train of ecuses and childish behaviors. Webb doesn’t care about his country or the Olympics. Webb cares about himself, his frat-boy house and junior-high level coach who puff him up. He’s the kind of American representative we’re all looking for….plus he ALWAYS learns from his mistakes.
Anthony Famiglietti is known by NO ONE, but he’s a talented steeplechaser, the best America has to offer and a dark horse for bronze medal. Famiglietti’s Olympic Trials victory interview included a diatribe against nationalism, the Olympics and the U.S. and all that it stands for. He basically sad he was embarrassed to represent the U.S. and did not like the Olympics and what it had become and was considering not going.
Adam Goucher is more injured than Barbaro….ALL THE TIME, yet somehow the running press lifts him up every four years as this great American hope….mainly because his wife is actually a good runner. Goucher complains, whines, moans and cries until he gets what he wants: a new coach, a new training facility, spot in the Olympic Trials 5K AND 10K despite not qualifying, being too hurt to run either or the fact it bumped fellow Americans out of the race who had earned it. Yeah, he’s a “good American”.