So yesterday I posted that I am “growing to detest” the Olympics. That is somewhat of a mis-statement. I love the idea of them. I love the competition and I am a sap for the stories that we hear about the atheletes. I am amazed at some of the things I see them do. I guess I am growing increasingly tired of the IOC and the way they are run. And the judging. So, the list of things that I already love about these Olympics is long and probably boring…from Gabby to Phelps and beyond. Truth be told, after the IOC rejected any acknowledgement of the 40th anniversary of the Munich game terrorism, I was ready to boycott them altogether. But that was kind of like holding the atheletes responsible for the sins of the organizers. So I have been watching. All that said, they still piss me off for a number of reasons. And here is my top ten list in no particular order:
1) PC run amok – Banning the Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou for a “racist” tweet (With so many Africans in Greece … at least the West Nile mosquitos will eat homemade food!!!) and Swiss soccer player Michel Morganella (I want to beat up all South Koreans! Bunch of mentally handicapped retards!). Let me see if I have this correct. The Olympics can be held in Nazi Germany but somehow these tweets merit removing people from the Olympics? I’m glad no other atheletes harbor any prejudical thoughts.
2) Head in Sand – The decision to not have an official moment of rememberance for the Israeli atheletes killed 40 years ago.
3) Gymnatics I – The Tiebreaker. Women compete on each of the 4 apparatus for the all-around best gymnast. They are judged to the thousandth of a point. After the 4 events, two woman are tied, down to the thousandth, for the third best score. Only one gets a bronze medal. Why? The tiebreaker procedure which drops the score of the worst event and then looks at the scores of the remaining 3. Idiotic at best. How is it that an ‘all-around’ competition when the result comes down to only 3 of the 4 apparatus? I think it should be labeled not all-around but “three quarters-around”. But the rules dramatically change year after year so next time,I am sure they will have fixed this issue.
4) Gymnastics II – A limit of 2 per country on the number of gymnasts that can compete in the all-around. So if your country has the 3 best gymnasts in the world, one of you is out of luck. If you are not going to let the best compete, how can the eventual winner be declared the best?
5) Olympic Events I – Team Handball, Synchronized swimming, trampolin and no softball or baseball. Really? Just as an aside, the trampolin was won by a Chinese guy named Dong Dong…oh the places I could go with that name.
6) Olympic Events II – Synchronized swimming. I understand that while the hammer throw is a classic, no kid says I want to grow up to be a hammer thrower. But Synchronized swimming?
7) Fairness (or lack thereof). With time running out in one of the two semifinal matches for the women’s individual epee competition, South Korea’s Shin A Lam led Germany’s Britta Heidermann by a single point. Officially, Heidermann had just one second to launch an attack and score a touch, which would advance her on to the gold medal match to face the Ukraine’s Yana Shemyakina, a lack of time which all but ensured that Shin would advance. Instead, the timing mechanism on the piste became stuck, giving Heidermann extra time to complete her attack and win the bout, which earned her the spot in the gold medal bout. Officials, unsure what to do without a true, official protocol to follow, eventually decided to award the victory to Heidermann. That decision alone is remarkably bad. Ah…but it gets worse. As one might expect, Shin and her coaches were enraged with the decision, and launched an immediate appeal. Yet the appeal itself proved to be incredibly lengthy and also contained a unique bylaw that required Shin to remain on the piste throughout its duration. Unable to leave the playing surface, Shin bawled uncontrollably for the first 10-15 minutes, often shading her head in a towel while occasionally looking out to the crowd before rubbing her eyes again. At long last, after more than 30 minutes of a delay that included the Korean federation having to expedite a payment for the use in the official appeal, Shin’s attempt to overturn the result failed. Naturally. And as a final insult, in order to make themselves feel better, they offered her a “competitor” medal, which she rightly rejected. I don’t speak Korean but it looked like she said you can take that medal and shove it up your something or other.
8) Oscar Pistorius – this will easily be my most controversial one. Pistorius is a South African runner with 2 prosthetic legs that has been allowed to compete in the Olympics. Now as someone who has a brother with muscular dystrophy who we have taken everywhere and helped him do most everything we do, I have to say the decision to allow Pistorius to compete with prosthetic legs is wrong. He comes across like a great and inspirational guy and in many ways I will be pulling for him. But he has artificial feet. Whether they make him faster or not, he is not running on the same playing field as everyone else. He should not be competing on the same one as everybody else either.
9) Bad Bad badminton – Pairs from China, Indonesia and South Korea deliberately tried to lose to secure an easier draw in the subsequent knockout rounds. The embarrassing scenes quickly attracted the attention of officials and media, and led to the expulsion of the eight players involved. One of them, Yu Yang of China, pointed out to the sport’s administrators that she was playing within the rules and said she would quit the sport. I am not sure exactly how I feel about this. Am I more annoyed that teams were trying to lose or that players get kicked out for following the rules? Maybe we should leave the sport to our backyards and not have it in the Olympics…
10) Boxing – It amazes me that Olympics after Olympics, we continue to have what one could legitimately call rigged matches. This time, AIBA, the governing body of amateur boxing, dismissed referee Ishanguly Meretnyyazov of Turkmenistan on Thursday after a bout on Wednesday between Satoshi Shimizu of Japan and Magomed Abdulhamidov of Azerbaijan. Shimizu knocked Abdulhamidov down six times in the third round, but Meretnyyazov didn’t rule any of them a knockdown. Meretnyyazov kept ordering Abdulhamidov to get up, as if Abdulhamidov was going down of his own volition. He was hurt by punches thrown by his opponent, who should have won by stoppage in the third round. But when Meretnyyazov didn’t called them knockdowns, the bout went to the scorecards, where the byzantine computerized scoring system that was put into place to prevent just such atrocities committed yet another one. Abdulhamidov entered the decisive third round with a 10-7 edge. The third round was scored 10-10, so Abdulhamidov won a 20-17 decision he clearly didn’t deserve. The Japanese immediately protested and AIBA overturned the outcome. However, one could have foreseen this because there was a BBC report from September that alleged Azerbaijan was promised two boxing gold medals in exchange for a $10 million loan to the AIBA. AIBA investigated itself instead of having an outside body look into the allegations. Not surprisingly, it found the report was “groundless and unsupported by any credible evidence.” So it’s just coincidence that nine months after it dismissed that report as groundless, an Azerbaijani fighter was on the receiving end of an Olympic referee’s incomprehensible decision. In the Olympic history of boxing, this might not make the top five list of worst offenders
Filed under: 2012 | Tagged: OLYMPICS, Sports | 28 Comments »