Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 28th 2015 Contents A38
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Ministry of Finance and the Economy
INLAND REVENUE DIVISION
Taxpayer Relations Section
"Changing the way we interact with you"
That year it was all about the latest bodysuit. For
the arms race that swimming had become, you
simply had to had to have it. So, I joined the line
to get one, along with most of the other swimmers
from developing nations without suit sponsors.
The sense of awe and the absolute power of a total-
itarian state that Rome s Foro Italico was designed
to convey in the 1930 s, seemed intimidating and
surreal as a desperate winding column of mostly
dark skinned youths huddled on the floor against
the wall stretching into its immense marble interior.
My new "Jaked" bodysuit wasn t a perfect fit but
at least I had gotten one. Skin tight, like it was sup-
posed to be, it constricted my breathing like a corset.
I wasn t going to breath in the 50m anyway I told
myself. Tight was fast, and looser and the suit would
catch water around the neck and chest, balloon out,
and sink you along with your hopes and dreams. Not
only were the newest bodysuits hydrodynamic, but
also slightly buoyant. Poor swimmers with them had
been sensationally beating famous swimmers without
them all year. However, everyone had caught on to
this technological development by now.
The relief gained from obtaining a suit, quickly
turned to dismay after a poor showing in the 100m
freestyle. I knew that at these 2009 World Cham-
pionships, the year after the Beijing Olympics, I
couldn t justify the sacrifice required to make another
run at the Olympics, if I was unable prove to be com-
petitive by at least making the finals here.
My back was against the wall. I had to make the
World Champ finals in the 50m Freestyle or retire
then and there from the sport. Swimming like there
was no tomorrow landed me a berth in the semi
finals as the fourth fastest qualifier. I had survived
to fight again.
The process of putting on a Jaked bodysuit required
half an hour of painfully pinching and pulling the
super tight fabric one centimetre at a time up each
leg one leg, before squeezing into it, and tugging it
up the torso. As I struggled to finish this process in
the locker room, a friend approached me.
"Hey George! Take another suit with you, just in
case. Jason Dunford from Kenya suggested.
"What do you mean by in case?" I asked.
Jason pointed to his lower leg, where his shaved
calf muscle now bulged out from a tear along the
seam of the jet black suit.
"I am not sure, but I think it happened on my
dive. I could feel it dragging in the race."
"You are lucky it was just your calf!" I joked.
I deliberately censored my thoughts about the pos-
sibilities of a ripped suit, especially since I had only
one current model and directed them again towards
the subtle nuances of the perfect dive and breakout
that I intend to unleash.
Heeding his advice, I grabbed my only other
option---an outdated old worn out LZR bodysuit, that
I had used in Beijing and worn in countless races
that year. "I hope it doesn t come to this," I said to
him, holding it up as I headed off to the ready room
to meet my fate.
The programme was run on rigid television schedule
for NBC. The semifinal was slated to start at precisely
18:33. With two minutes to go, the roar of the crowd
and the announcer s voice massaged my adrenal
glands. Leaning forward in my chair, I suddenly felt
a cold sensation beneath me. To my horror, my Jaked
bodysuit had spontaneously ripped at the seam under-
neath me and rolled up like popped balloon.
To compound this disaster, at that exact moment
the Fina officials began calling for the semi-final to
march out in front of tens of thousands of roaring
spectators. All around me, confused semi-finalists
began to roust from their seats in disbelief and assem-
ble in order from lane one to eight.
My requests for a few minutes of grace from the
Fina officials were met with an unsympathetic tirade
of insistent yelling and frantic gesticulations for
Grateful for solidarity, sportsmanship
everyone walk out. Creating a
scene, I roared back furiously,
imploring them to wait for me.
I couldn t bring myself to accept
this as the indignant end to my
once illustrious swimming
career. I had to try.
Desperate and with no time
to waste, I stood up, naked, and
tore open the legs and torso of
my confounded suit and began to frantically
force my feet into the tiny elastic tubes that
constituted the suit s legs. To make matters
worse, a crowd of volunteers, officials and
swimmers had gathered to see what the
commotion was all about.
"We re not going out without George!"
Jason Dunford and Duje Draganja
exclaimed in unison at the furious offi-
cials in a show of solidarity and sports-
manship that I will forever be grateful
for.The other semifinalists joined them
and refused to walk out without me. I
now had a chance! One of my rivals,
Cullen Jones from the USA, then came
to my aid, holding a towel up to restore
my dignity as I continued to change hur-
riedly into my backup suit.
• To be continued in Part 2
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