Clijsters may boycott Olympics
Clijsters to boycott Olympics if she cannot play in outfit of her choice
By RAF CASERT, Associated Press Writer
November 21, 2003
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- Former No. 1 Kim Clijsters threatened to boycott the Athens Olympics if she is not allowed to wear apparel from her sponsor.
``As long as my clothing remains an issue, it is impossible for me to go to the Olympics,'' Clijsters said Friday in a statement posted on her Web site, ``even though I would like to go and even though I would be able to fit it into my schedule.''
Clijsters has a contract with the manufacturer Fila, and is refusing to wear gear from the Belgian Olympic Committee's sponsor, Adidas.
Clijsters is ranked No. 2 after being overtaken this year by fellow Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne, who wears Adidas gear and already has committed to Athens.
The Belgian Olympic Committee said it was negotiating with all parties to try to get Clijsters to compete in Athens.
``We are looking for a constructive way out of this problem,'' said Piet Moons, the committee's marketing director, and he is optimistic a compromise can be reached.
Clijsters said her contract with Fila clearly stipulated she would always have to play in the company's clothing.
``Fila made a big commitment; everything is tailor made and they also produce a special clothing line,'' she said.
``It seems normal that I respect my contract and do not play in another outfit,'' she added. ``It has nothing to do with money.''
Moons refused to say how much the Adidas contract was worth. The German sports manufacturer has sponsored the Belgian team since 1976 and is also involved in backing the Belgian participating in the Paralympics and the Olympic youth festival.
Such apparel disputes are not new at the Olympics. On the victory stand at the 1992 Barcelona Games, Michael Jordan, who was under contract to Nike, and other U.S. players draped a U.S. flag over the Reebok logo of their basketball warmup suits.
Updated on Friday, Nov 21, 2003 2:28