Big Fish, Small Splash

via SPED magazine BY GERARD BEST

"More often than not, when I compete all over the world, the local media just can't keep up.", the self-titled website recently launched by the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic medallist swimmer says a lot about George Bovell III. But it probably says even more about the state of play in the local media and sport industries. (Was is Marshall Mc Luhan that said the medium is the message?)

"I started the website earlier this year, in March or April," said Bovell, when I caught up to him between training sessions for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

At age 27, Bovell speaks with the patience and authority of a veteran athlete. Having conducted a bronze medal-winning campaign in Athens in 2004, the 200-metre medleyist is already deep into preparations for 2012.

"I created the website to get the news about my swimming results out, because the coverage that I get in the local media fluctuates. It builds up every four years, for the Olympics, but then it peters off. But swimming is a sport that doesn't only happen every four years," he said.

"In other countries where you have athletes at this level, people follow their results very closely as a matter of national pride. I was attempting with my website to emulate what they have going on."

Bovell explained that he has always wanted to connect with his fans, and in the lead up to the London Games he came up with the idea of the website.

"Because of my success at the Olympics, I'm probably better known here at home now than I was before. But if I compare the coverage that counterparts from competing countries get, I mean, there's really no comparison."

Although sport fans throng Piarco to greet our premier athletes, this happens only once every four years, he explained.

"The crowd really only happens when you do something really special. But some people genuinely do care; they're very interested."

For those people, and perhaps an example to other athletes in his class, Bovell dove in the deep end with this web project. His vision extends way beyond generating a newsfeed of his personal reults, however.

"I want to be able to give a first-hand account of the whole experience of being a professional foreign-based athlete, with high-quality photography and video clips as well. I want to prove insight and understanding when it comes to the events and the preparation that you will not be able to get anywhere else" he said.

Poke around on, and check out basic bio, stats, blog, photo galleries.

"I enjoy free diving as a hobby. It complements my swimming training, and my swimming training actually feeds back into it. So I have a category of photos called "Free Diving" on my website."

It's the online home of George Bovell III.

Click and see for yourself.