Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Swimmer Scraping Bottom

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Swimmer Scraping Bottom

Article excerpt

At least Tonya Harding had a little flair.

In her illfated effort to erase her chief competition and make

the U.S. Olympic team, the ice-skating moto-momma hired a bunch

of incompetent henchmen to give Nancy Kerrigan a couple of good

whacks on the knee. It was disgraceful, disgusting, despicable

and . . . downright fascinating.

Ron Karnaugh's desperate attempt to make the Olympic swim team

is not nearly as captivating, but just as deplorable. He is

using any means possible to get Jacksonville's Greg Burgess

dismissed from the team so maybe, just maybe, he will be awarded

a spot he was incapable of winning fair and square.

Because he wasn't nearly fast enough or skilled enough to beat

Burgess and two others in the 200 individual medley at the

Olympic Trials, Karnaugh has scraped the bottom of the pool to

devise a devious plot to overthrow Burgess. This might just be

the most repugnant thing to hit the water since the Baby Ruth

scene in Caddyshack.

In case you haven't heard, Karnaugh is petitioning the U.S.

Olympic Committee to have Burgess kicked off the team because he

claims Burgess' March 23 arrest in Neptune Beach for drinking in

public violates the USOC's code of conduct.

Can you imagine? A decent, hard-working young man who has

worked his whole life in pursuit of Olympic gold having to worry

about getting dismissed from the team for having a beer at the

beach?

What will Karnaugh try next? Will he dredge up driving records

and present the USOC copies of every speeding ticket and

seat-belt violation of swimmers who finished ahead of him at the

Trials? Or maybe there is evidence of Burgess stealing oranges

from the neighbor's tree as a boy.

It was Harding herself who served as the impetus for the USOC

to draw up its code of conduct in 1994, but it is Karnaugh who,

by selfishly trying to exploit the new rules, is coming off as a

bargain-basement Tonya in a Speedo. …

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