Dutch Olympians to be fined or fired by government

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Hurdler Gregory Sedoc is one of five soldiers to get the boot.

Dozens of students taking part in the 2012 Olympics will be fined for failing to meet their study goals, Dutch News reports:

At least a quarter of the Dutch squad for this summer’s Olympics in London may end up with a fine for taking too long to finish their college or university degrees, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday.

Of the 180-strong team, around 50 are still studying and are likely to end up with a €3,000 fine for taking more than a year too long to graduate.

The bitter irony is that the students still have it good. Having to pay a fine is nothing compared to losing your job, which is what will happen to two judokas, a hurdler, a middle distance runner and a shooter as of December 1. The five athletes are part of a project that puts top Olympians on the Defence department’s payroll. The project is stopped due to extensive budget cuts.

The five athletes were told they were fired by phone, Telegraaf reports

I doubt there are many other countries that treat their heroes this way.

The students will be fined because of a law that states nobody should take more than 5 years to finish a university or polytechnic education. The law itself fits nicely in a long standing tradition of painting students as lazy for political gain. Meanwhile studies confirm that Dutch students often work hard.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Vice-Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen used a total of 18 years to finish their degrees.

(Photo by Erik van Leeuwen, some rights reserved)

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