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Olympic Swimming Delayed Due To Lack Of Timers
LONDON (CAP) - Swimming fans around the globe hoping to see more world records fall or gold medals won by hundredths of a second may never get that chance if volunteers don't step forward to assist with the timing of the races, according to British Olympic Association chairman Colin Moynihan.
"We've got over 17,000 spectators in the stands and we can't get two dozen people to come down to the pool deck and help us time?" chided Moynihan. "Christ on a crutch, nothing like destroying some poor chap's Olympic dreams because you won't get off your lazy ass."
While Olympic swimming does use electronic timing via underwater touchpads, meet organizers take steps to protect against mechanical failures with the timing system by utilizing hand-held computerized plungers, volunteers with stopwatches, and eight people at the finish counting Mississippi's. Failing all of that, results are determined by applause.
"I don't care if you paid $300 for your ticket and flew all the way in from Angola just to watch your kid swim one event, everybody takes a turn," said one meet official. "If you won't time, go work the concession stand or help with the 50-50 raffle - do something.
"I'll tell you what, we'll even toss in a free water," the official added.
Moynihan told CAP News that they had plenty of volunteers for the first few days of competition, but it was the same people each day and they reportedly got tired of "carrying the whole meet." So officials posted sign-up sheets at each of the entrances to the aquatics center, but response was minimal.
"We've had to resort to walking around the stands begging and asking for volunteers, and people just sit there pretending like they don't even see us," said Moynihan. "They have to know we can't start the meet without timers!
"And we have to be out of the pool by 8pm for a water aerobics class, too, so this delay couldn't have come at a worse time," Moynihan noted.
Although there are fewer timers needed than there are countries represented at Olympic swimming, some nations are consistently absent from helping out at the meets. For example, past sign-up sheets obtained by CAP News show no one from the Czech Republic has timed a session since 1988.
"I let one of them borrow my goggles for a preliminary heat back in [Athens in] 2004 and I never got them back," said one swimmer who asked not to be identified. "They're always using everybody else's towels, eating their snacks, that sort of thing.
"Whenever they show up at a meet, it's always like, Oh, great, Czechoslovakia's here," added the swimmer.
However, critics say that it should be the host country's job to line up all the necessary timers before a meet even gets underway. "The British have had years to get all the timers they need and they wait until now?" lamented one coach. "Mitt Romney was right - this place just isn't ready."
LAS VEGAS (CAP) - O.J. Simpson is back in court again today seeking a retrial of his 2008 conviction for robbery and kidnapping and says if granted, this time he'll plead guilty and save the state the cost of a new trial.
"The way I figure it, judges are a lot more lenient when you admit your guilt and say you're sorry," Simpson told reporters. "So hopefully with a new trial I can get off with time served and put this whole nonsense behind me.
"Besides, I can't look for the real killer of Nicole and Ron if I'm all cooped up behind bars," he noted.
NEW YORK (CAP) - The NFL is slated to become the first major professional sport to openly endorse the use of homosexuals thanks to a decision by Commissioner Roger Goodell to expand each team's regular season roster to 54 players.
"Critics will tell you that football is a straight man's game," Goodell said at the press conference to announce the change. "I know, there's nothing straighter than one guy grabbing another guy by the waist, throwing him to the ground, and then jumping on him.
"But let's face it, this is the day of the gay, and we're going to capitalize on that," he added.
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