Portuguese windsurfer hit with lifetime ban for hiding pregnancy before London 2012
Wednesday, 06 February 2013
February 6 - Carolina Borges has been banned for life by the Olympic Committee of Portugal (COP) after the windsurfer concealed she was pregnant before London 2012.
The Brazilian-born athlete travelled to Britain as part of the Portuguese team but later fled the Games in July before the opening round of her RS-X event in Weymouth.
She emailed a Portuguese Olympic official at the time, saying she was not able to compete because of illness and personal matters, however medical personnel were unable to contact her to confirm her story and her accreditation was subsequently cancelled.
Borges spoke to the media soon after, publicly laying the blame for her exit on her association and claiming she would have risked her pregnancy had she competed.
"I am three months pregnant," she said at the time.
"I am saddened, but imagine if I broke something while I am pregnant, how would it be?"
She then slammed Portugal for a lack of support and claimed she had not even had a coach.
"I never got any subsidies or moral support," Borges added.
"I went ahead with the decision to quit because I lacked support.
"If I had had the support of a coach things would have been different and I would have risked competing."
Her comments attracted harsh criticism from the COP, which accused her of "deliberately concealing the pregnancy".
It also claimed that she did in fact have a coach, shared with others in her class, and that she had received Olympic funding, although this had originally been delayed as Borges provided the wrong bank account details.
"This was a total surprise to us," a statement read.
"The athlete is contractually obliged to report to us all her clinical situations, which she never did.
"Given the obvious lack of compliance by the athlete, the contradictions in her statements and the assumed deliberate omission of the pregnancy, there is nothing the Portuguese Olympic mission can be blamed for."
Ultimately, the COP alleged that Borges, who represented Brazil at Athens 2004 before joining Portugal's squad, had no intention of competing but had travelled to London simply so she could join her husband Mark Mendelblatt, who was competing at the Olympics in the Star class in the sailing regatta off the south coast of England for the United States.
"The Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth accepted our recommendation and has forbidden the athlete from ever representing Portugal again," COP President José Vicente de Moura told the Lusa news agency yesterday.
"It all points to the fact that she took advantage of the trip to the Olympics to be with her husband."
Moura said the decision was made after an investigation proved that the athlete was pregnant at the time of the Games and failed to inform the COP as required.