Commentary by John Leonard
Recently one of my good friends in swimming media asked me…”Do you really think the WSA can replace FINA?”
My first reaction was “who knows, my crystal ball is broken.” But that is not really the point.
The Point is, its time, after DECADES of talented and well-meaning people trying to change the DNA of an organization hell-bent on self-aggrandizement and self-protection at the expense of all others, its time to go a different direction.
We should all remember the definition of insanity: “expecting different results while doing the same things.” Generations of good people have tried to change the organization. Those same generations come away embittered, disillusioned and broken or worse, complicit with the bad guys.
No More. I don’t expect to change FINA. No one else should either. Self-care is in their DNA, part of their every fiber. They serve themselves. Period.
God bless ‘em, if they can continue to sell that to the masses in this day and age of internet, instant communication and sharing, we all deserve what we accept.
INSTEAD, the WSA is an attempt to re-ignite the dream.
What dream? The one that led you and I into sports. The dream of young people competing with energy, love, enthusiasm and passion with likeminded people from every culture on earth, and with every bit of their ability, and then…going to have dinner together afterwards in friendship and fellowship.
I had my “Olympic Dream Moment” watching the 10,000 meters on the track in Tokyo on our home grainy black and white TV in 1964, when an American Indian (An AMERICAN INDIAN!!!) Billy Mills, roared past the rest of the world on the last lap to win in dramatic fashion with a look on his face like it was going to explode from within. Then he reached back and hugged those whom he’s just beaten to the tape… I yelled myself hoarse cheering for him…my mother thought I’d lost my mind, and I’ve been in love with the IDEA of the Olympics ever since.
You have each had your own similar moment. Do you remember yours? Tell someone near you about it. Try not to cry. We love those moments…that much.
What I KNOW about the WSA is that those of us involved with it, are trying to get back to that Dream. And Make it Real. CHANGE OLYMPIC SPORT BACK to the DREAM.
It starts with a couple of basics:
Sport is for the Athletes. ATHLETE CENTERED in every regard. Today that manifests itself primarily in terms of money. The world best practice is the NBA. 49% of all revenues generated by the league MUST wind up back in the athlete’s pockets. The WSA is saying 50%.
Sport needs to be CLEAN. No Doping. It can be done. Only liars tell you it can’t. Today’s organizations don’t want to clean it up. It can be, and we know exactly how to do it. The only missing piece is the WILL to clean it up. WSA has that Will.
Our Sport Needs Development. “Development” is not flying a President of a national governing body to a World Championship and Congress. Real Development is about pools, coaches, Swim Meets, Swim officials and growing participation and excellence.
The World Swimming Association will do those things (and more.)
We need YOUR HELP and the HELP OF YOUR SWIMMING FAMILIES to build the model of how Olympic style sport SHOULD BE.
Please join the WSA for just $15.00 per year USA / $5.00 per year International. Encourage your families to do similarly.
Together we can make the Dream of Sport real once again. Join Us. Please.