Senator proposes Olympic boycott, Charlotte Olympic athletes react

Credit: Getty Images

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: (L-R) Gold Medallists Michael Phelps, Conor Dwyer, Ryan Lochte and Ricky Berens of the United States pose with the medals won the Men's 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)


by Amy Cowman / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @amywcnc

Posted on July 19, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 19 at 6:28 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Making it to the Olympics is a goal many athletes spend their childhood training for. With the recent Edward Snowden conflict in Russia, one senator has proposed a U.S boycott.

NBC Charlotte spoke with one Charlotte Olympic swim coach who once saw his dreams as an athlete crushed due to a boycott years ago.

"The Olympics is your career goal," said SwimMAC Coach David Marsh.
When you see the discipline these swimmers have, it's clear they have a goal in mind.
"That's the ultimate goal is to make the Olympics," said MAC swimmer, Tim Phillips.
Marsh knows all too well, before coaching Olympic teams he had the dream himself.
"It was my key year, I was coming out of Auburn that year, I was the 6th ranked back-stroker in the world at that time so I was on the way to having shot at the U.S Olympic team," said Marsh.
Until that dream was crushed in 1980.
"When the boycott was announced by Jimmy Carter, we were devastated, devastated for ourselves but also for our friends," said Marsh.
Now hearing that Senator Lindsey Graham has suggested the U.S consider a boycott to the 2014 winter Olympics in Russia, he feels all hopeful athletes’ possible heartbreak.
"When you take that away, the big carrot away which is the Olympic dream, you really tend to cut the legs out from underneath," said Marsh.
Although the 2014 boycott proposal wouldn't impact these swimmers directly, they can only imagine if it were to happen to them.
“It definitely would be really upsetting cause I know what the kind of training is that all athletes and swimmers do to get to that level," said SwimMAC swimmer, Nora McCullagh.
"It's kind of an idea I couldn't even fathom really, just the amount of people it would affect," said Phillips.
Coach Marsh says it goes against the meaning behind the Olympics.
"The Olympics brings the world together like no other event, if there's one thing we could do is go to Russia and show them how much community there is at the Olympic games," said Marsh.
All U.S Olympic Committee officials have responded strongly rejecting the boycott proposal. It was suggested only if Russia grants Snowden asylum