Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympic-Sized Tantrums

This week, as we watched some of the events at the XXIX Olympic Games at Beijing, we very quickly decided that we had become armchair experts at a considerable number of sports. "This is easy to judge", we said! We enjoyed watching, and supporting Australia's competitors, rejoiced in their successes & efforts; and applauded the feats of others who did well.

The "Olympic experience" in our living room has been tarnished though, by a number of tantrums / dummy spits / over-reactions / bad sportsmanship:
  • 3rd Place: China's attempts to block any bad news: protests over Tibet, the weather, ring-ins in the opening ceremony; and to restrict media reporting of anything other than how great China's games are.
  • 2nd Place: the Russian women's Beach Volleyball team. Beaten by Georgia, part of which country Russia had invaded, the teams "hugged" at the end of the match, but the Russians tried to belittle the Georgians in the press conference, were surly, and mumbled derogatory answers. Yes, the Georgians were born in Brazil, but have qualified to represent Georgia under Olympic regulations. Other countries have migrant representatives, too. the Russians appeared to be motivated by spite, and sour grapes at losing.

  • (Gold) Silver Medal:(unlikely to be beaten by anything else) Swedish Greco-Roman wrestler, Ara Abrahamian threw away the bronze medal he won in the 84kg Greco-Roman wrestling tournament. He'd argued with the umpire(s) in a match he lost to the eventual winner. He walked out immediately after receiving the medal, and before the other athletes had received theirs. He is reported to have said "I wanted to take gold, so I consider this Olympics a failure". It was truly a "gold-medal" dummy spit, and many will hope that the wrestling sports body takes appropriate action.
    (Photo: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

But graciousness and goodwill have been the hallmark of most athletes.


Olympic Post Script: 25-Aug-2008

There has been a change - a new, last-minute result. The biggest, and gold-medal-winning tantrum goes to the Cuban Taekwondo fighter, Angel Matos, who was disqualified after taking too long for an injury time-out: he kicked out at, and hit, an olympic referee. He, and his coach, have been given a life-time ban by the World Taekwondo Federation.

Full story at: