Van der Burgh Admits to Breaking Rules; “Everybody’s Doing It”

  40 Braden Keith | August 05th, 2012 | Featured, London 2012 Olympics, News

South African breaststroker Cameron van der Burgh lashed out at Australian media on Sunday, as the Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that the new World Record holder in the 100 breaststroke has admitted to his illegal kick. At the same time, van der Burgh pointed out that Australian Brenton Rickard can be seen in the next lane doing the same thing.

Controversy erupted after the South African won the gold medal in the 100 breaststroke, and set a new World Record, and underwater footage showed clearly that he did three dolphin kicks after diving in at the start of the race.

‘‘It’s got to the sort of point where if you’re not doing it you’re falling behind or your giving yourself a disadvantage so everyone’s pushing the rules and pushing the boundaries, so if you’re not doing it, you’re not trying hard enough,” he told the SMH. ‘‘I think only if you can bring in underwater footage that’s when everybody will stop doing it because that’s when you’ll have peace of mind to say, ‘All right I don’t need to do it because everybody else is doing it and it’s a fair playing field.”

When asked by the Aussie paper that is no stranger to controversy and swimming, the champion responded “‘‘Everybody’s doing it … not everybody, but 99 per cent.’’

‘‘So I mean to me it would make sense that referees have the chance to look at underwater footage and say there is something wrong there,” van der Burgh continued. “If that rule was put in place, everyone would be much more straight down the line and that’s ultimately what we want for the sport is to have a sport with integrity where it is very hard to cheat and people I guess need to avoid cheating because sooner or later they will get caught and cost themselves dearly.’’

A vast majority of the sports at the Olympics now allow for some form of video technology for situations such as these; from field hockey to greco-roman wrestling, sports around the world have figured out a way to incorporate video technology into their judging system. Most of those sports have much more delicate concerns about the flow-of-competition than does swimming, where long breaks in competition are a designed part of the meets.

Van der Burgh accurately emphasized ‘‘if you’re not doing it, you’re falling behind. It’s not obviously – shall we say – the moral thing to do, but I’m not willing to sacrifice my personal performance and four years of hard work for someone that is willing to do it and get away with it.”

FINA has experimented with underwater judging in the past at their World Cup series to largely positive reviews. This could be one of the biggest changes we see before the Rio de Janeio Olympics.

Rickard, interviewed before van der Burgh, made similar comments about the need for video judging of some sort.

In This Story

Comments

  1. ryan proud says:
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    Well, firstly its not only cameron!! who does this, theres about 95% breastrokers that do this, and secondly come on mel one dolphin kick can make a WR Or a 27.0 on a split? man 27.0 would be gold in shangai !! dont judge this is like ye doping , whats going on with you

    • Not So Proud says:
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      Ryan Proud, did you read a single word on this page? Or did you just click a link and leave a comment?

    • miamimetro says:
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      “dont judge this is like ye doping , whats going on with you”

      We have clear evidence of Van Der Burgh cheating and no evidence of Ye cheating, yet we should judge Ye and not Van Der Burgh? That is full of good sense!

    • miamimetro says:
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      This is a bit beside the point of the article….

      So you have a guy who is openly willing to cheat in order to win, stating ‘‘if you’re not doing it, you’re falling behind. It’s not obviously – shall we say – the moral thing to do”, and one straight out of the classic after-school specials, “everybody’s doing it”.

      With rationalizations like that, what sense of morality and sportsmanship is stopping him from other forms of cheating, namely doping? More accurately, from his standpoint, why on earth would he not be doping? Based on his statements and actions, you could say he’ll do whatever it takes to win, legal or not.

      I think this is a much better case for doping than someone from China swimming very fast. Will we hear doping accusations stemming from this? Likely not; at least not in any significant manner.

      NOTE:
      It is NOT my intention to actually accuse him of doping, I’m simply pointing out the crusade against Ye is bogus. If we are not willing to make accusations across the board, then we shouldn’t selectively accusing people, regardless of what country they are from. Doing so only opens up everyone to attacks, and in turn, hurts those people who are doing amazing things without cheating, and hurts the sport in general.

      Until someone tests positive, or until someone has REAL evidence (splits are not evidence), we should keep our mouths shut and just enjoy great performances. Unfortunately, everyone wants to be able to say, “I told you so”.

  2. Ben Skutnik says:
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    This is great that he is admitting he did it. This isn’t like other controversies where the athletes play stupid, but he is essentially calling FINA out. It is great to see the athletes keeping the governing bodies in check like this! Well done Cameron!

  3. Philip Johnson says:
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    yup! like i said, if FINA refuses to enforce their own rules, everyone will do it!

  4. Pat DiBiase says:
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    It is also possible the kicks taken immediately on entering the water might actually slow a swimmer down, since the fastest speed is generated from the dive. By immediately breaking the streamline to kick, the extra resistance could be greater than the amount of force generated by these small kicks.

    • Ben Skutnik says:
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      This is probably true, especially considering the kicks are made in very airy…er, bubbly…water. But it’s tough to argue that when the video shows the two fastest men, by wide margins, doing extra dolphins on the entry.

    • Philip Johnson says:
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      it apparently worked for van der Burgh. as video showed he did three kicks & he broke the WR.

      • Brian says:
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        Though it could be argued that he could have broken it by more had he not slowed down his velocity with the extra kick.

  5. s gomez says:
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    i got a way with a more blatant tripple dolphin kick after i saw people doing it in the fastest meet ever swum, rome 09 (my personal opinion, not necessarily statistically backed as fact!). i encorporated it into my swimming because lets face it, u really can’t tell above water and its basically like taking an extra stroke interms of propulsion. i got away with it through a whole season of ncaa d3, until post season taper when my teammate finally caught on as to why i dropped .7 off my breaststroke split in the 2im seemingly overnight.

    its really dificult to pick up on the motion above water off a dive because of ripples on the surface, and appart from that if you hold the right form it only appears to be a part of the arm motion.

    does anyone remember the dark ages before the dolphin kick was allowed at all? people (again, myself included) were doing it and getting away with it. i had a young coach teach me when i was 11 that if you did it just right, you could sneak the dolphin in and nobody above water could tell.

    personally, i don’t want to see a 3 kick rule go into effect. because whats next after that? berkoff blast breaststroke!?!?!?

    underwater instant replay reviews are the way to go IMO

  6. lv2srf95 says:
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    Short course breaststroke was already ruined with one dolphin kick, let’s not make it 3.

  7. Jg says:
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    Drop Breast entirely & replace it with a obstacle race.

    • Philip Johnson says:
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      or bring back underwater swimming!

    • Jiggs says:
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      Funny you should say that, ’cause breaststrokers are obstacles where I train. They going all slow and kicking out with the legs. It’s difficult to pass them without getting yourself injured.

  8. Nadador says:
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    WHAT?!?!!? A WR HOLDER CHEATS, AND “BRAGS” ABOUT IT? AND THE NEWS IS MERELY REPORTED: IT DID NOT QUESTION SUCH BEHAVIOR?!?!?!

    Please: a little decorum, ethics, morals, principles! Please!!!

    We want to live in a state of rights, not exceptions!

    Please read some constitutional and law Philosophy. Try starting with “Die deutsche Polizeiwissenschaft nach den Grundsätzen des Rechtsstaates”, by Robert von Mohl.

    THEN move on to some ethics principles from Kant!

    Coaches teaching age-groupers how to cheat with dolphin kicks??? What’s next? PED?!

    “Everybody is doing it, so I can do it too”….Well, everybody is jumping off a cliff: it’s your turn now, go ahead: jump!

    “I will not get caught”….
    Again, PED users count on not being caught!

    I am sorry Mel/Braden: you guys, with the responsibility from the media, should be denouncing such atrocious behavior (and not reporting it as if it is “OK”….).

    ARGH!!!!

  9. newswim says:
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    Yes video review is a logical step. However, I do not accept that the Olympic judges could not observe such infractions. These violations are called frequently enough at US meets to make me think that the stroke and turn judges are either not properly educated or are discouraged from making such call. I even read when newspaper account (NYT) that claimed that dolphin kicks (sic) prior to the pull were not prohibited! This isn’t just a technical issue (video review) nor moral choice by an athlete but a total failure to uniformly enforce the rules on the part of FINA.

  10. David Berkoff says:
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    I am pretty appalled that (1) he purposely cheated; (2) admits it; (3) rationalizes cheating by blaming his competitors; (4) then blames FINA for allowing him to cheat. I’m also pretty disgusted that most of the posters seem to think that what VanDerburgh did was fine! I see this a different way. He cheated and admits it. The record and medal should be stripped.

    • Lv2srf95 says:
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      But how far down the results would we find one who didnt cheat to give the gold medal?

    • Dasher says:
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      Totally agree with you. Since he admitted to this, FINA or the IOC should consider taking away his medal. This is disgusting.

    • Nadador says:
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      My point exactly: couldn’t agree more!

    • JackedAndTan says:
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      He’s using his position as gold medalist to put pressure on FINA to change rules that are obviously wrong and allows people to cheat. It’s the only right thing to do, and FINA never does anything right unless forced to, a good example is Phelps pulling out of international competition if rubber suits remained legal when FINA saw no problem with them.

      I’m more disgusted with all the swimmers not admitting they also cheat. Kinda like drug cheats except we can all see they do it so even more pathetic

  11. StuartC says:
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    This is so easy to fix!! You incorporate underwater video review at top international meets and situation solved. BUT of course like everything else, FINA will drag it’s feet, USA Swimming will wait for FINA, FINA will wait for USA Swimming and then right before next worlds something will be implemented. FINA needs to immediately respond with underwater video review and implement it quickly. Since all the top international meets already have video it would be fairly easy to review a tape before medal ceremony and make a disqualification if there was something illegal.

  12. BJC says:
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    Alright, yeah, allow underwater footage, but it’s not that easy! Obviously it’s not feasible for every pool in the world to be equipped with underwater cameras for every lane, so what’s to stop these swimmers from choosing meets without this technology to taper and break records at? Or should FINA only sanction meets with this technology from now on? I can tell you Canada doesn’t have a single pool with an underwater camera under every lane. So would it be fair if after video analysis was permitted, that the world’s breaststrokers came over here and smashed a world record because they couldn’t be caught? Think Olympic Trials, even if the Olympian is caught cheating at the Olympics, they’ve only been denied their placing at the Olympics, they still made the team by cheating.

    No, the only solution to this problem that I can see is changing the rules, allowing more underwater kick. I don’t like changing the rules in swimming, but it seems like the only way to ensure a fair playing field.

    • Ben says:
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      You serious Clark? Add more kicks? Why not just revert back to no kicks?

      And this has been a National-level issue for at least two years now. I attended a regional coaches clinic for USA Swimming and they showed the underwater footage of the 2010 (?) Senior meet at Ohio State. The 100 breast, every swimmer threw some kind of dolphin that would have been considered cheating. The allowing of a dolphin kick was based off of cheating! Does anyone else remember Kitajima at Athens? He cheated, and instead of FINA having the balls to DQ the man that won the race, they changed the rule!

      Swimmers should keep FINA in check, yes. But FINA shouldn’t bend to the swimmers.

    • Ole 99 says:
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      I’m fairly certain no pool has permanent underwater cameras. The cameras proposed are like lane ropes, touch pads, etc., they would need to be put in the pool before a competion.

      • PsychoDad says:
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        Is there a video of Breanda Hansen’s start of that race? Did he do extra dolphin kicks. I would hope he did not.

        • DanJohnRob says:
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          I think the race video on NBC showed that he didn’t do any extra kicks. I think this means he SHOULD have won the GOLD medal! How much would that have meant to him after all these years of hard work?! And now we know it was essentially stolen from him by cheaters who arrogantly announce to the world that they cheated! Can’t the coaches protest the results based upon admitted cheating?!

          • JackedAndTan says:
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            Oh that’s right, because noone else worked hard for this and he obviously lost a second to VdBurgh on the start. Do you hear the laughter?

    • Dan says:
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      No need for video at lesser meets. If they cheat at Sectionals or a mid-season nothing meet, then go to a FINA meet with cameras, the bad habits will burn them. But they always have video at Worlds and the Olympics.

  13. Anarchy in the pool says:
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    BRING BACK SUPERSUITS AND LEGALIZE FLIPPERS!!! THEN WE WILL SEE WHO THE TRUE FASTEST SWIMMERS REALLY ARE!

  14. homie g says:
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    This guy is a clown. Makes me sick to listen to this guy explain why he cheated

  15. ryan proud says:
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    NOT SO PROUD, man why dont you just shut up , and to be honest we are so gealous , i mean we wish to be IN an olympic games soo whatever

    • Cheaters Suck says:
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      Here’s the video:

      It’s clear he cheated, he admitted he cheated, he claims everyone else cheated… check the video, not everyone cheated.

      Here are people cheating at the finish too…

  16. Jess says:
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    Oh please! You expect FINA to have the guts to do the right thing? When Kitajima had a blatantly illegal kick they changed the rule rather than punish him for cheating! I’ve never been so glad to see someone miss the podium as I was at these olympics…

  17. Tad Toler says:
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    The dolphin kick should only be allowed when swimming fly! It doesn’t make sense to allow for 20m of dolphin kicking underwater prior to coming up for backstroke and to roll over at the 5m mark for a quick dolphin kick prior to a front turn and another 20m of dolphin kicking in the 100m sprint, but it is accepted. I say let the breaststrokers do flip turns!

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

The most common question asked about Braden Keith is "when does he sleep?" That's because Braden has, in two years in the game, become one of the most prolific writers in swimming at a level that has earned him the nickname "the machine" in some circles. He first got his feet …

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