Cameron van der Burgh won a gold medal in the men’s 100 breaststroke at the 2012 London Olympics but he didn’t exactly earn it legally. The South African swimmer admitted that he cheated during the 100 breaststroke final, saying that he took an extra dolphin kick or two during his turns.
Van Der Burgh admits that he cheated, but at the same time, says that he did nothing wrong. According to the swimmer, everyone gives an extra kick and if he didn’t do it too he probably wouldn’t have a gold medal.
USA Today reports that the swimming rules allow the athletes to take one dolphin kick at the start or the race and after each turn. Most swimmers, according to Van Der Burgh, take two or three.
Van Der Burgh said:
“If you’re not doing it, you’re falling behind, It’s not obviously — shall we say — the moral thing to do, but I’m not willing to sacrifice my personal performance and four years of hard work for someone that is willing to do it and get away with it…. If you actually look at Brenton Rickard in the lane next to me, he’s doing the exact same thing… It’s got to the sort of point where if you’re not doing it you’re falling behind or your giving yourself a disadvantage so everyone’s pushing the rules and pushing the boundaries, so if you’re not doing it, you’re not trying hard enough.”
Cameron van der Burgh’s admission comes a few days after the race and it isn’t likely that the IOC will try to strip him of his medal. If they did, they would have to look at all of the underwater cameras and would, according to Van Der Burgh, have to disqualify just about all of the swimmers.
Here’s a video of Cameron van der Burgh’s start.
The single kick rule in swimming is similar to the traveling rules in the NBA. The league has the rule in place but athletes get away with traveling all the time.
Here’s a video of the 10 most egregious no-travel calls in the NBA.
Do you think Cameron van der Burgh was justified to use a double dolphin kick to win a gold medal? Should swimming officials watch for double kicks more carefully?