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Even at the Olympics, It is Hard to Tell Someone’s Nationality


There seems to be a new sport at the Olympics that any genealogist would readily appreciate. It is the sport of switching nationalities in order to compete in the games. As the BBC explains, around 25 athletes changed nationalities in the run-up to the 2008 Summer Olympics, a trend that is likely to grow when the games move to London in 2012.

These last-minute immigrants are being driven by the same forces that have always driven people to immigrate to other countries: the chance to prove themselves in their given trade and the opportunity to make a better life for themselves. However, what sets these immigrants apart is that some countries are actively courting these athletes with money and other rewards. Some of the smaller cash-rich oil producers in the Middle East are thought to be particularly active in this regard.

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