I recall the controversy a few years ago, back in 2006, when Canadian-born Dale Begg-Smith was included in the Australian Winter Olympic team. He was a strong contender for a medal of some colour, mostly gold. True to form, the Australian media, labelled him the wunderkid and claimed him as our very own. Whereas our cousins the Canadians cried foul. I remember reading back then that he only came to Australia as the training did not interfere with his business interests, and that he actually does not spend a whole lot of time in Australia. He just wants to ski and compete in the Olympics. Fair enough. But is this a case of citizenship of convenience?
This reminds me of a case in The Netherlands when 5 native Dutchmen acquired Kazakh citizenship in order to compete in the Olympics and only to find that they might loose their Dutch citizenship. As I have said repeatedly, the one vital factor of being an Australian is a clear commitment to Australia. I do not know whether Begg-Smith is committed to his adopted land or not. Whether he spends more time working overseas or not is not the issue, residency is not a prerequisite for commitment. So I would not call him an Australian patriot or a traitor to Canada. I would just call him an expatriate Canadian who is competing for Australia and just loves to ski. Congratulations Dale on the silver medal today.