Despite his amazing performance in August at the World Junior Championships in August, Spanish 2016 Olympic semifinalist Hugo Gonzalez will no longer benefit from the “PODIUM Tokio 2020” scholarship given to promising young athletes by the Spanish Olympic Committee.
Gonzalez, a freshman at the University of Auburn, may have lost the scholarship due to his choice to study in the United States. Below is an excerpt of a longer announcement from Spain’s Real Federación Española de Natación, or RFEN:
- Nadadores/as exentos del Programa Pódium 2017, todos aquellos que están incluidos en otros programas de ayudas:
- Nadadores/as que están incluidos en el Programa A.D.O. 2016-2017
- Integrantes de Programas deportivos y/o que están adscritos a Universidades o “High School “ en EE.UU. u otros países.
- Beneficiarios de becas académicas
Firstly, potential aid recipients are notified that anyone who is a member of any other financial aid program is exempt.
The first indented bullet point disqualifies all swimmers who benefited from the Programa A.D.O. (Olympic Sports Association Program) during the 2016-2017 period. The second point states that swimmers attending high school or college in the United States or any other country are exempted from receiving aid from Programa PODIUM TOKIO 2020. Finally, the third bullet point declares that beneficiaries of academic scholarships are also ineligible for PODIUM TOKIO 2020 funding; however, we do not know if Gonzalez receives any financial aid from Auburn based on academic merit.
The full announcement from Spain’s Real Federación Española de Natación, or RFEN, can be read here (in Spanish).
However, the letter below, posted by Gonzalez to Twitter, suggest that Gonzalez was out-performed by other applicants. Though we don’t know who else applied and what their accomplishments might be, it’s difficult to imagine many young athletes out doing Gonzalez.
In August at the World Junior Championships hosted at the University of Indiana, Gonzalez made the podium in almost every event he contested individually:
- 50 Backstroke, Silver (25.30)
- 100 Backstroke, Gold (54.27, CR)
- 200 Backstroke, Gold (1:56.69, CR)
- 400 IM, Gold (4:14.65, CR)
- 200 IM, 4th (2:00.61 – PR is 1:59.91)
Por decisiones ajenas, NO he sido propuesto para continuar en la "Gran Familia Podium", aun así espero encontrarme con todos vosotros en Tokio 2020!!#keeppushing #dontgiveup pic.twitter.com/qJnhFFVlW0
— Hugo González (@hglezoliveira) November 15, 2017
Most of the top level athletes are getting sponsorships from their club team’s and the rfen also has an incentive based program. The 2020 which was formerly ADO does provide a nice little nest egg as well. Not sure that posting this is going to do any good. NCAA rules ?
Seems pretty counterproductive if you ask me. Of course Spain should strive to keep talent in the country, but not sure how taking funding away from one of their only promising young rising stars is beneficial looking forward to 2020.