torsdag 23 april 2009

The Trouble With Telling Tales At School

Well, here's a tale of woe from Italy that does not involve suits of the kind you wear. In short, Loris Facci, the breaststroker who touched first at European championships in 2006 but was disqualified, was invited to chat about swimming to some school kids; he did so, and in so doing mentioned the fact that he had once, a while back, been approached with an offer of doping to enhance his performance; he said "no". Good for him. Good lesson for the kids.
The story was reported by Gazzetta dello Sport. Good for them. A lesson for kids everywhere, in the public domain. Which is when the anti-doping prosecutor from CONI, the Olympic committee for Italy, stepped in and asked Facci to attend a hearing and deliver the name of the drug pusher. Which is where Facci lost the plot. Perhaps it was fear. Perhaps there's a swimming mafia out there ready to roll over Facci if he breathes a word. Perhaps not. Perhaps it was all something of his own invention. Perhaps Facci had no idea who the alleged pusher was. Who knows. We're unlikely ever to know who knows what and what really happened and who was there when Facci was allegedly offered doping.
Facci had no intention of naming anyone. He blamed the media: he had said what he said purely to deliver an ethical message to the kids. He had no name to give. A legal case was mounted against him.
Time to stand and be counted. Facci didn't want to be counted, said he had no proof, no name, and, lucky for him, the case was closed in Rome yesterday. The file was handed to FIN, the Italian federation, which will now decide whether Facci can race at a meet next month that will count to making it to a home world championships in Rome this summer.
The federation is likely to do nothing but let Facci swim (how could it not, especially given the events of 2000, when nothing was done about something far more serious, the case of CONI and the HGH count, a case that also got dropped in time, not before certain athletes were named, we recall).
Selectors may well be hoping, however, that the breaststroke specialist misses the grade for Rome, given his slippery grasp on things. Imagine the scene in the shiny new suit-checking ready room in morning heats:

Official: "Sorry, you're going to have to leave".
Swimmer: "Why? What's up?"
Official: "You can't swim in a jacket".
Swimmer: "Coach said I have to."
Coach, at the door: "No Loris, No! I said Jaked!".

(Yes, I know - he'd be speaking Italian ... ).

Craig Lord, Apr 22, 2009

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