Open Water Legend Petar Stoychev Named Bulgarian Sports Minister

SOFIA, Bulgaria, March 13. BULGARIA has created a caretaker government to help run the country until the official May elections, and open water swimming star Petar Stoychev has been named as the country's sports minister.

The announcement was made on the Bulgarian news website amidst a flood of news regarding appointments in the caretaker government that are taking place this week.

Bulgaria has struggled in the weeks following the resignation of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, a resignation that created an unstable government in the already unstable country.

Bulgaria's President Rosen Plevneliev made the announcement of various government positions Tuesday and Wednesday, with the expectation that elections in May will help the country get back on its feet. Bulgaria is reportedly one of the poorest countries in the European Union, with unemployment at 12.3 percent as of January.

Stoychev's role as sports minister is unclear, but he is without a doubt the country's most celebrated athlete, winning 11 consecutive FINA open water series from 2001 to 2011. He also held the record for the fastest English Channel crossing, a mark that was broken last summer by Trent Grimsey. Stoychev was an accomplished pool swimmer, competing in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. He also participated in the inaugural 10-kilometer Olympic swim, placing ninth.

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