Many of you reading this have either traveled to London for the purposes of a vacation, or perhaps have considered it as a future destination. One great way to get there is be an Olympian in 2012. If you happen to be someone from an impoverished country, you may consider staying in London or Europe as a whole. As in not leaving for home. Ever.
Five athletes from Cameroon have officially ‘absconded’ according to their Olympic mission.
A reserve goalkeeper for the women’s soccer team, Drusille Ngako, was the first to disappear, the agency quoted Cameroon’s Olympic mission as saying.
“What began as rumour has finally turned out to be true,” Team Cameroon mission head David Ojong said, in a letter sent to the Cameroonian sports ministry.
“Seven Cameroonian athletes who participated at the 2012 London Olympic Games have disappeared from the Olympic Village.”
Ngako was the first to disappear while her teammates left for Coventry for their last preparatory encounter against New Zealand, he said.
Her disappearance was followed by that of swimmer Paul Ekane Edingue and five boxers eliminated from the games.
Thomas Essomba, Christian Donfack Adjoufack, Abdon Mewoli, Blaise Yepmou Mendouo and Serge Ambomo, disappeared on Sunday from the Olympic village, Mr Ojong said.
The athletes have allegedly cited ‘economic’ reasons as their motivation for staying in Europe and not returning home with their fellow athletes. Feel free to insert your Eurozone economy joke here.
All told, this is an interesting byproduct of the games which has taken place for some time now. Every Olympics — or at least Olympics in countries with favourable living conditions — there are a batch of athletes who choose to defect from their country and seek refuge in the location of the games or its surrounding area.
I’d have to imagine that an Olympiad in North America or Europe would be particularly popular for athletes who want to abscond. North American countries have established themselves as a hub of immigration and in Europe, an athlete absconding for political or economic reasons have the ability to settle anywhere in Europe provided it is a member of the European Union as it is a condition of membership in the EU. Shared values between states means they are all willing to — formally at least — take on refugees who land in one of the states, lest they be ejected from the Union and persist as a lonely, lonely pariah.
Olympian defectors are just one of the many fascinating social phenomena that take place at these games. For some athletes it marks a chance to become a national hero, for others it is the chance to start what is hopefully a better life in a new nation altogether.