Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Athlete defends funding London 2012 training with proceeds from his brothel

• Taekwondo athlete started brothel to finance his Olympic bid
• New Zealand Olympic Committee threatening legal action


A New Zealand athlete has defended running a brothel to finance his participation in the London 2012 Olympics. Photograph: John Van Hasselt/Corbis

The New Zealand Olympic Committee has threatened to sue a local taekwondo athlete who plans to finance his participation in the 2012 London Games with the proceeds from a brothel.

Logan Campbell, whose participation in the Beijing Olympics last year cost him close to £70,000, most of which came from his parents, opened a brothel with a friend in Auckland earlier this year.

Campbell, 23, went public with the scheme in July and said he hoped to raise £140,000 to alleviate any financial burden on his parents and to have more time to concentrate on training. After remaining silent on the issue for three months, the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) have written to Campbell demanding he cease linking the Olympics to his business or face legal action.

New Zealand's TV3 channel quoted the letter, signed by NZOC secretary-general Barry Maister, as saying: "Based on the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect, we would place your actions as totally inconsistent.

"Your open solicitation of 'clients' for your 'business' while using the Olympic or Olympian connection must cease immediately, or the NZOC will be forced to consider taking legal action against you."

Campbell, who finished outside the medals in the featherweight division at Beijing, defended his business and fundraising efforts. Owning and running brothels is legal in New Zealand, where laws governing prostitution are relatively liberal by world standards.

"At the end of the day, I feel like I'm not exploiting anyone because no one has to be here, we are not forcing anyone to be here. They are here of their own free will," he told the network. Campbell was now threatening legal action of his own, TV3 added.