Several appear willing to trade their shot at gold for a brighter economic future in Britain.

Seven of Cameroon’s 37 athletes have disappeared from the Olympic village in London.
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images.
The Olympic delegation from Cameroon is shrinking.

Seven of the country’s 37 Olympians have disappeared from the Olympic village in London and are believed to be doing their best to stay in Britain for economic reasons.

The first to go was the women’s soccer team’s reserve goalie, who took off in July while her teammates were playing a training match in Coventry, according to Foreign Policy. Swimmer Paul Ekane Edingue later stole away with his personal belongings, leaving without competing in the men’s 50-meter freestyle. Five boxers, eliminated from the competition, followed suit shortly thereafter.

Yes, the European economy is facing some challenges of late, but the Washington Post notes that the British economic situation still looks pretty enticing to some athletes, especially when compared to their financial prospects at home.

The Cameroon seven aren’t the first Olympians to take a shot at staying in an Olympic host country after the games. Actually, they’re not even the only ones to do so during the London Olympics: Several Sudanese runners have likewise sought asylum in Britain, and the Ethiopian team’s 15-year-old torch bearer slipped away weeks ago.

Although Cameroon’s Ministry of Sports and Physical Education confirmed the athletes’ disappearances on Monday, the International Olympic Committee has yet to catch on. A spokesman recently told Reuters, “We are unaware of it.”

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