Call me simple-minded, but I always thought that the Olympics were supposed to be a major sporting event where the world’s best athletes would compete. That everybody would give 100% in clean, honest competition, and that the judges are able to fairly judge and score each competition. Well these 2012 Olympic Games are proving how simple-minded I am.
You could tell that these 2012 games were getting off on the right foot back on July 25th, Day One of the Olympics during a woman’s soccer match between the North Korean and Colombia. Before the match, North Korean players were displayed on the electronic scoreboard, pictured next to the South Korean flag. The North Korean players refused to play, and the match was delayed one hour until the North Korean flag was properly displayed.
Then, you have athletes suspended from the Olympics and sent home due to ‘offensive’ tweets on Twitter. First you had Greece’s Triple Jumper Paraskevi Papachristou getting sent home for posting up on her account the following statement: “With so many Africans in Greece…the West Nile mosquitoes will at least eat homemade food!!!” Then a member of the Swiss Men’s Soccer team tweeting about his upcoming opponents, South Korea, and basically saying they were retarded and should be burned. That earned him a trip back home to Switzerland...not by the IOC but his own team. Though the Olympics are old-fashioned, people keep forgetting that this is the 'Digital Age', where everybody is keeping an eye on what you say. Not a smart idea to drop ethnic slurs on Twitter, especially during the Olympics when all eyes are on you.
And what is an Olympics without some good ol’ competition controversy. We start with Men’s Gymnastics, where the Ukraine Men's team take 3rd place while the Chinese took 1st and Great Britain took 2nd. But for some odd reason, the judges decided to award the 4th place team, Japan, extra points. Japan finished 4th due to their last gymnast on the team, Kohei Uchimara, having a bad dismount. But the Japanese team appealed, judges reviewed, and the decision was that Uchimara actually landed the dismount. Japan was then awarded 0.7 points, which was more than enough to bump them up to third and send the Ukraine team back home empty-handed.
Then in women’s fencing South Korea’s Shi A-Lam's quest for Olympic Medals was dashed by a faulty clock and really poor judgement. With one second left on the clock, A-Lam was about to win but then the clock reached 0 but suddenly reset back to 1 second. With that 'restart', her opponent, Germany's Britta Heidemann, tagged her for the winning point. South Korea immediately appealed, but after 30 minutes, the judges allowed Hiedmann to go on while A-Lam was left crying and wondering what could have been.
Even when it's not the judges who are being corrupt, it's some of the nation's teams that create the controversy. Recently, you had four teams from China, South Korea, and Indonesia in Woman's Badminton disqualified. The reason why: They were throwing their matches in order to get a better, easier seeding later in the knockout stage. When I say throw away, I mean they barely hit the shuttlecock over the net, they kept aiming for out of bounds on serves, and did not even attempt to make movements during play. Most people will scoff at the fact that it's just badminton... but this is the Olympics. This is the moment of your life that you may not have ever again. And you're going to pull a cheap move and throw a match to draw an easier future match. Well the only thing you can look forward to now is trying to explain to your nation's media why you were disqualified.
But perhaps the most disgusting and most controversial decision was the rejection of the "One Miunte Of Silence" at the very beginning of the Opening Day Ceremonies. The One Minute of Silence is a memorial tribute to the 11 Isareli Olympic athletes who were murdered by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September during the ’72 Olympics in Munich. Since the ’76 games, in respect of the 11 athletes’ widows, during the start of every Olympics there is one minute of silence to pay tribute. This year there wasn’t. Reason why was IOC President Jacques Rogge said his hands were “tied” due to the 46 Arab and Muslim members that were admitted to the IOC. Why has something that has been going on for nine Olympics, that pays respect to those fallen athletes, that has had the support of many nations, suddenly stops because a few Arabs didn't like it? Well I guess even in the Olympics, the majority still has to conform to the minority.
As we approach the midway point of the Olympics, one can only hope for the integrity and purity of the spirit of competition would remain untainted. But then again, it's just a simple-minded thought in the cold, cruel, controversy world that is the Olympics.
-Ryan L. Fox
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