Skip to content

Brazilian Olympic champ threatens to switch nationalities

Apr 22, 2013, 9:22 AM EDT

arthur-zanetti-2012-OLYMPICS-gold-victory

London Olympic gymnastics champ Arthur Zanetti of Brazil is threatening to switch nationalities ahead of his upcoming hometown Games in Rio unless the nation’s Olympic Committee is willing to invest in his sport going forward.

“When I won the gold medal in London everybody said my life was going to change, but it hasn’t changed at all,” Zanetti told TV Globo Sunday.

Zanetti won his gold in the rings competition last summer over defending champion Chen Yibing of China. The Brazilian star hopes to win on his home soil in 2016, but promises of funding have gone unfulfilled. Now he’s getting a little antsy.

“I have already begun thinking about competing for another country if the opportunity arises,” Zanetti, who’s forced to share the gym with 300 other athletes, added. “I would do it with a broken heart, because I am Brazilian and I like to be Brazilian. But if another country offered me what I needed, I would go.”

Zanetti would have to act quickly because IOC rules dictate that an athlete much switch nationalities three years ahead of the Games in order to compete for the new country. World No. 1 taekwondo fighter Aaron Cook switched from Great Britain to Isle of Man after being left off last summer’s team.

Latest Posts
  1. Missy Franklin, Ryan Lochte miss medals; Katie Ledecky breaks record at Worlds

    Aug 4, 2015, 12:53 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Franklin got a horrible start in the 100m backstroke.

  2. Watch NBC Olympics one year from Rio 2016 promo video

    Aug 3, 2015, 5:28 PM EDT

    Rio 2016

    The Olympics open on Aug. 5, 2016.

  3. Triathletes’ reactions to Rio Olympic water venue after test event

    Aug 3, 2015, 4:52 PM EDT

    AP AP

    “We swim in waters all around the world, and this was no different from anywhere else,” Gwen Jorgensen said.

  4. Misty May-Treanor competes for first time in 3 years, not a comeback

    Aug 3, 2015, 2:51 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    May-Treanor retired after the London Olympics and had a baby.

  5. David Boudia earns another World Diving Championships silver

    Aug 3, 2015, 8:59 AM EDT

    AP AP

    Boudia trounced one Chinese star but was beaten by a longtime rival.

  6. Katie Ledecky, Sun Yang open quests for history with golds at World Championships

    Aug 2, 2015, 12:13 PM EDT

    Katie Ledecky Getty Images

    Also, a U.S. Olympic champion’s world record was broken in a semifinal.

  7. Ronda Rousey knocks out Bethe Correia in 34 seconds

    Aug 2, 2015, 1:28 AM EDT

    AP AP

    Rousey is a 2008 Olympic judo bronze medalist.

  8. World Swimming Championships men’s preview

    Jul 31, 2015, 10:55 AM EDT

    Ryan Lochte Getty Images

    Action gets started Sunday in Kazan.

  9. USOC collecting data on polluted Rio Olympic water venues

    Jul 30, 2015, 3:42 PM EDT

    AP AP

    A US Sailing official maintained his stance on the Rio water from last year.

  10. Which Miracle on Ice item is the toughest for Jim Craig to sell? (video)

    Jul 30, 2015, 1:31 PM EDT

    Jim Craig AP

    Watch the goalie’s interview on The Dan Patrick Show.

  11. British Athletics clears Mo Farah after investigation

    Jul 30, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Farah was to have “blood data, supplements data, everything surrounding his medical treatment” investigated.

  12. World Swimming Championships broadcast schedule

    Jul 30, 2015, 10:12 AM EDT

    Missy Franklin, Katie Ledecky Getty Images

    NBC, NBC Sports Live Extra and Universal Sports will combine for daily coverage.

  13. Almaty or Beijing? IOC set to choose 2022 Winter Olympic host

    Jul 30, 2015, 8:08 AM EDT

    Sochi Olympics Biathlon AP

    Either way, the vote will mark an Olympic first.

  14. Allyson Felix to run 400m at World Championships

    Jul 29, 2015, 6:27 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Felix will be absent from the 200m at Worlds for the first time since 2001.