Clijsters slammed for Olympics boycott - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Clijsters slammed for Olympics boycott

By Raf Casert 03/12/2003 05:44:55 AM Comments (0)

From IOC President Jacques Rogge to newspapers and television networks, Kim Clijsters is being heavily criticised for her decision to boycott next year's Athens Olympics because of a commercial contract.

Fellow Belgian Rogge led the chorus of complaints against Clijsters, who said she would skip the Games because the Belgian Olympic Committee wouldn't allow her to wear an outfit provided by her personal sponsor Fila to collect a possible medal.

The decision of the world's second-ranked player, once the darling of Belgian sports fans, made the front pages of all newspapers, topped by such scathing headlines as "making money is more important than taking part" or "sponsors more important than medals."

She decided to boycott the games even though the Belgian Olympic Committee had made a major concession, allowing her to play in her Fila outfit instead of one provided by team sponsor Adidas during the August 13-29 Olympics.

The committee insisted that should Clijsters win a medal, she'd have to wear the official Adidas team outfit during the medal ceremony.

Rogge said Clijsters' decision highlighted a lack of solidarity, not only with Belgian teammates but also with poorer athletes from around the world who need financial help to make it to the Olympics.

"The wearing of the Adidas shirt will show solidarity," Rogge said, calling it a question of goodwill.

"The problem is that 80 per cent of athletes don't have enough financial support when they go to the Olympics."

Rogge said he thinks Clijsters will "regret her decision."

For Belgium, Clijsters' absence means a rare chance to win a medal has evaporated.

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