Britain's ringers to be taught anthem

Britain's ringers to be taught anthem

Published Jun. 6, 2012 1:00 a.m. ET

Great Britain's athletes will be taught the national anthem ahead of the London Olympics to defuse criticism that a number of the host nation's competitors are flag-changing mercenaries.

Team GB bosses have been forced to defend the selection of a number of athletes for the Games who were born outside of the UK or already have represented other nations in international competition.

The "Plastic Brits" debate peaked in March when US-born hurdler Tiffany Porter, who qualifies for Team GB through her English mother, was named the British team captain for the World Indoor Championships in March.

Porter, who was born and raised in Michigan, refused to recite the words to the British national anthem, "God Save The Queen," when asked by a journalist, although she said she knew them.


Charles van Commenee, the Dutch head coach of UK Athletics, said he personally will take steps to ensure no athlete who made the switch will be lost for words when the home anthem is played at the Games.

"They know the words or they will," van Commenee told reporters.

"I'm not going to rehearse everybody because we have 90 athletes," he said. "But the people that matter, let's say the ones on your radar, [will be rehearsed]."

Porter is joined in Team GB by triple jumper Yamile Aldama, who previously competed for Cuba and Sudan, Anguilla-born long jumper Shara Proctor and US-born 400m runner Shana Cox.

Both Porter and Cox were accused of switching allegiances because of the fiercer competition to represent Team USA in London.