Greek athletes may have to abandon training and start looking for jobs as the financial crisis slashes sports funding in the birthplace of the Olympics.
“Athletes are being forced to stop because they can’t get by financially,” said Stella Lazarou Tigka, the president of the Vouliagmeni Nautical Association, a sports club in a seaside resort south of Athens. Eight of its members were on the 13- strong national women’s water polo team that won the gold medal last week at the FINA World Championships in Shanghai.
Greece can no longer afford to support athletes while they train. With the country in its third year of recession, state spending on sports has been slashed. Funds to the Greek Olympic Committee for 2009-2012 were cut to 8 million euros ($11.3 million) from 30 million euros in the previous four years, Hellenic Olympics Committee President Spyros Capralos said.
Austerity measures pledged by the government in exchange for a 110 billion-euro May 2010 bailout plan from the European Union and International Monetary Fund may make matters worse. Beyond hurting the competitiveness of its athletes at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the biggest economic upheaval in a generation may put Greece decades behind as discretionary spending on activities such as sports is deemed not a priority.
Wussies. So a few athletes have to get jobs and can’t train in their sport? We gave up the shuttle program and certainly other more important things than athletes. It’s what tough he-man economies do when the going gets tough. These athletes can always ask to be athletes again when they’re reincarnated next time.
Seriously, this article is the perfect example of what happens to a society that chases the almighty buck, whether it is Greece or its creditors. Greed definitely is not good. I pity the athletes who are in their prime and have only one shot in their lives. The world is much less interesting when the austerians run the joint.
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