Whistleblower who reported that FINA Vice President Zhou has been replaced on the Technical Diving Committee

After reporting FINA Vice President Zhou Jihong for “unethical behavior” last December, whistleblower Simon Latimer has been replaced as a member of the technical diving committee on Sundays.

Latimer was the only former member of the committee to have been appointed but not elected. Zhou is a member of the FINA Bureau which chose the new members on the last day of the World Championships in Budapest.

Zhou, meanwhile, will remain in her Bureau liaison role despite the FINA Ethics Committee’s recent recommendation to remove the post because it “creates confusion, conflict and discord.”

The Ethics Committee investigated Zhou following an incident at the Tokyo Olympics last summer when she was accused of verbal insult FINA Judge Lisa Wright after the men’s 10m platform final.

“She was by the pool yelling at me and yelling at me – it was definitely one of the most humiliating experiences of my life,” Wright told CNN. “I just said I’m sorry you felt that way and I left and ended up crying in the bathroom, which was definitely not how you wanted to end your first Olympics event. “

Latimer, a fellow New Zealander, later came forward to support Wright’s claims, adding that Zhou also had a history of coaching Chinese divers in major competitions and manipulating juries to benefit Chinese divers. A video has since surfaced of Zhou training Chinese divers at the 2017 World Championships and Olympic Games 2021.

“It’s absolutely unethical…if you’re training divers from your own country, I don’t see how you could be considered a neutral party,” Latimer said. “I also can’t think of any other sport where you’d have a VP pool deck coach and have such an open interest in debating.”

Zhou, 57, won China’s first Olympic diving gold medal in 1984 and coached the national team from 1990 to 1997. Nicknamed the “Iron Lady”, she is currently a FINA board member as well as president of the Chinese Swimming Association.

“People are scared, they’re petrified of rocking the boat and losing their position,” Latimer told CNN in May. “I am well aware that through this whistleblowing process, I could lose my position on the technical committee. We have elections in two months in Budapest [at the World Championships, which start on June 17]. But for me, pursuing this complaint and getting action is more important than maintaining my position on the committee, although I would obviously like to stay on the committee and be part of the process to ensure that this kind of behavior does not don’t continue. ”

So far, it seems Zhou’s only consequence has been an ethics committee-ordered letter of apology to Wright. The panel finally ruled that there was insufficient evidence to act regarding his alleged mistreatment of Wright, calling the situation “a misunderstanding mixed with misjudgment.” FINA never investigated Latimer’s other allegations regarding the manipulation of juries and coaching at events mentioned in Latimer’s later complaint.

American diving judge Colleen Huffman also denounced Zhou, but she managed to retain her position in the diving technical committee. She expressed her concerns to CNN about unethical behavior deterring the next generation of dive judges.

“People won’t want to judge. They just won’t,” Huffman said. “We are already struggling to recruit judges, especially outside of the South America region. All the judges in this area are getting older and new people coming in, they hear bad things about her, how mean she is, how intimidating she is. Who wants to experience this?

Yuki Kaneto from Japan, Guo Jing Jing from Hong Kong, Na Li from China, Sanda Donoval from Croatia, Hungarian Ildiko Kelemen, Mathz Lindberg from Sweden, Hana Novotna from the Czech Republic, Egypt mohamed hassan, Dom Philipopoulos from South Africa, Australia Eric Brookerand Gordon Peterson of Canada join Huffman as members of the Technical Diving Committee.

“Committees play a vital role in the development of aquatic sports and ensure that we are constantly striving to improve for the benefit of our athletes and our fans,” said the FINA President. Husain Al-Musallam said. “We are grateful to the outgoing members of the Committees for their hard work and invaluable contribution, and we are confident that the new members will build on the great progress that has been made to date. Aquatic sports have so much potential, and it is very important that, through the technical committees, we continue to analyze how we can adjust our technical rules to make the sport more attractive to compete in and even more exciting to watch.

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