In May 2004, 31 year-old Bernard Lagat, a Kenyan by birth, became a U.S. citizen. In his career, Lagat has won two Olympic medals in the 1,500M, two silvers in the world indoor 1,500M, and gold in world indoor 3,000M for his birth country. Kenya, in a fit of pique, is denying Lagat a waiver to compete for the U.S. in the U.S. Indoor Championships and the World Indoor Championships this year.
See, under IAAF rules, Lagat cannot race internationally for the U.S. for three years, unless he gets a waiver from Kenya to do so. And it's a good rule. It keeps countries like Qatar and Denmark from buying African champions to compete for them in the Olympics and Worlds. But that's not what's going on here. Lagat became a U.S. citizen on his own accord, and competed for Kenya for his entire career.
Now Kenya is saying, "Sorry, Bernie. You'll have to wait until you're 34 years old and past your prime (for the middle distances, anyway), to compete on the world stage again." What crap. Kenya's like the ex-girlfriend who won't give you your CDs back, even though she knows there is no chance of reconciliation and knows full well she's acting badly. Only it's 100 times worse, since Kenya is screwing with Lagat's livelihood -- sponsors don't exactly throw money at guys who can't run in the biggest events.