Euro champ Milorad Čavić, Serbian swimmer has been banned from European Swimming Championship in Eindhoven and became first sportsmen in the history who has been banned from the competition by the LEN because of the issue other than doping.
His ‘crime’ was to wear a t-shirt declaring that ‘Kosovo is Serbia’ (in Serbian language and Cyrillic letters) when on the podium receiving his gold medal for the 50m butterfly, in a European record of 23.11 (beating his own record from semifinal); A letter of protest was received from “an unnamed party” and of course he has to be punished because t-shirt “contained a political message”. LEN officials even said that he violated rules by carrying Serbian flag on podium completely neglecting that organizers didn’t have Serbian flag on medal ceremony and that they have used reversed Russian flag which is not the same as current Serbian.
It is amazing how politics of double standards is applied on every field!
The European swimming governing body (LEN) didn’t do anything after scandal in the final match of European Water polo Championship in Slovenia 2003 when the Serbian players and fans including President Boris Tadić and minister of foreign affairs Goran Svilanović were brutally attacked! They even had to jump in the pool to save their heads. The match was between Serbia and Croatia and since the Serbs were targeted no punishment was necessary.
I’m not person who is thinking about secret conspiracies and I could understand this might sound paranoid but there are simply too much similarities!
Without expressing my political opinion and intention to offend anyone I’m wondering would you react the same if the message was “Free Tibet” or “Flanders is not Belgium” or even “Kosovo is Independent”? Or, since Čavić is Serb born in USA and lives in Florida what if he had won gold for US and wore the same t-shirt? Surely nothing like this would happened.
Lets think if they had to punish him was it necessary so drastically? 7000 euros for Serbian Swimming Organization and official warning wasn’t enough? Or was his potential the main criteria in making this shameful decision? Namely (with best result) he was the main candidate for gold in 100m butterfly; the other discipline was 100m freestyle.
“I’m afraid of the worst,” Čavić told The Associated Press in Thursday. “A suspension is the worst they can do to me. That is the death sentence.” And of course they heard him.
“What is my wearing a shirt going to do to change the minds of the United States, United Nations or European Union,” he said. “This is already a done deal. All I wanted to do was uplift my people. My only role here was to be a leader and transfer positive energy. I didn’t do it to provoke anger, I didn’t do it to provoke violence,” Čavić said. “The country is torn apart and . . . my goal was just to uplift them.”
And you did, Milorad. I’m horribly sorry for the price you are paying and hope you’ll be able to stay focused on Beijing. After this maybe even more!
Good luck and thank you!