Is it just me, or is there an unusually high number of Olympic athletes this year competing for countries with which they have only minimal ties? I'm thinking, of course, about the Reed family of Warren, New Jersey -- Allison is skating for Georgia while her siblings Chris and Cathy compete for Japan. And then there's Errol Kerr, a Californian and former member of the U.S. Ski Team now competing for Jamaica. There are others.
I'm just sort of curious -- is this on the rise? And who makes the rules on this? Does the IOC mandate that athletes be citizens of the countries for which they participate? If so, how hard is it to get dual citizenship if one nation really wants it?
I'm not really against this sort of thing. I mean, I get that if you want to make it as an American alpine skier, the field is pretty impacted here, but you might have a shot representing Tunisia, which might be up for fielding a ski team if they don't have to invest too much in the effort. It's all about the free market. But, taken to its logical conclusion, it kind of undermines the whole nations-competing-against-nations thing.
Anyway, I'm already working on my routine for 2014. I'd like it to be a surprise, but let's just say it involves a cowboy hat and some six-shooters.