No Wedding Rings for Olympians

When athletes, trainers, coaches, and other support staff head off to London for the 2012 Summer Olympics, their visas will have an unusual clause: during their stay in the UK, they will not be allowed to marry.

They also will not be allowed to enter into civil partnerships, take any other work, apply for study visas… pretty much anything that might lead to them spending more than six months in the country.

Oh, and they also have to prove before entering the country that they have the funding to carry them through their entire stays.

According to The Daily Mail, this is to prevent illegal immigrants and terrorists from gaining access to the country… because so many Olympic committees go out of their way to bring athletes who won’t be coming back and are likely to bomb their host nation. Seems to me that every Olympic Games has ended with mass defections and huge terrorist acts on the part of visiting athletes and their coaches… except that I don’t recall that happening even once in my lifetime.

Yes, terrorist acts have been committed during the Olympics. I was watching when the news of the kidnapping and murder of eleven members of the Israeli team during the 1972 Munich Games was announced, and who could forget the bombing of Centennial Park during the 1996 Games?

The funny thing both these events have in common? They weren’t carried out by anyone directly involved in the Olympic Games.

As for tidal waves of green card weddings… yeah, haven’t heard about those, either.

Talk about overreacting.

Are there athletes and support staff going to the Olympics who would love a good reason to stay longer in Great Britain? Probably. I’m sure that there’s someone in some team who would love to come back and put down roots in their host country every Olympics. With that many people coming to one place, the chances are high that at least one of them has always dreamed of spending six months there looking for a reason not to go home again.

Somehow, though, I doubt that most of the people going intend to marry a citizen and live off the dole or have any plans to blow stuff up.

It simply doesn’t happen.

PS: There’s still time to enter the contest for a free tiara courtesy of USABride! I’ll be announcing the winner tomorrow, so hurry and get your entry in!

4 Responses to “No Wedding Rings for Olympians”

  1. Christine says:

    I recently had to get a UK Visa, and it was a difficult process to say the least!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m willing to put money on some of the Zimbabwean Team not going home, or claiming political asylum as soon as they land. It’s a sad fact, but these clauses are there to try and stop illegal immigration. Good luck rounding up those Cubans soccer players who have gone missing in the US!

  3. Cone says:

    I thought that that was normal for visas? I had a workterm in Ireland, and I had to go through all that…why wouldn’t it be any different for an athlete?

  4. Mallory says:

    Yes, Cone…I’m in the same boat, more or less. I’ll be studying in Oxford over the summer for six weeks, during the Olympics, and we have to observe all the same rules. I really don’t think they’re trying to insult Olympians or their intentions. I would like to think that the UK would be open to any Olympic athlete that may want to make it a more permanent home after a (hopefully) positive experience there.

    But I understand the frustration. It seems more and more that immigration laws are getting more stringent, in the U.S. and abroad.

    I’m excited for all the festivities, though! The Olympic flame will be passing through Oxford while I’m there.