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Aug 09 2012

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Support sportsmanship; not the country or the team

The 2012 London Summer Olympic is probably the only Olympic games that I watched met with so many controversial issues from qualifications to post games. When racial and ethnic issues came out in the media, first I thought that I am too sensitive “it” causing my mind to focus on negative aspects of the games. But after coming across several newspaper and blog articles (references) on racial and political problems of the 2012 London Olympics, I think it is safe to say we still have a problem in our communities.

Players themselves are racists

The far right British political view of “plastic Brits” have blown out of proportions by British media.


Beyond what the Western media would cover several players were disqualified pre-Olympic and during the games this year for making racially and ethnically charged comments. For example, Voula Papachristou was kicked out of Geek national team “for mocking African migrants and expressing support for a far-Right political party.” (ref) While you have the right to your own political beliefs, according to IOC rules, if you want to participate in the Olympics you should keep your values to yourself. If you want to be part of the political arena you should do that after your Olympic carrier is over. But, no with these athletes screwed up the order of their priorities.

At least this incident occurred before even the games began. Michel Morganella, Swiss Soccer Player, ejected for racist Tweet about South Koreans. He write that South Koreans are ‘bunch of mongoloids’ who ‘can go burn’. If this is not racism, but “freedom of speech” and Morganella was kicked out of the team due to deep rooted “political correctness”, then next time I see a Black American man forced to ride in a separate Blacks only elevator, do you place that under “political correctness” too?

That’s what exactly happened after 1936 Berlin Olympics. James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens who won the Gold medal for United States that claim to stand against Hitler’s fascist behaviour, was forced to segregate by his own country. When he returned to America, he was forced to ride in Blacks only elevator and drink from Blacks only fountains. Thank goodness that this is 2012 and a lot of people are educated and civilized than barbarians of 1930s. But then again we all know that racism cannot be defeated because it is sometimes lurk in the subconscious. The only difference is that the form which it take has transformed into something new, different.

Racism hidden behind a political agenda

One of the best form of racism is political agenda and freedom of speech. While most democratic countries allow free speech, it has been a tool to popularize polarizing ideologies in the community. Specially the mass media in the US have proven to be morally inferior to most part of the world. When the Chinese or players belongs to racial groups other than White representing countries other than “US-friendly” nation out performed in events that dominated by White athletes, they have always been questioned by not only the media, but also US team officials. Not only the US media have pointed doping allegation against Chinese swimmer, Ye Shiwen, the NBC called “female Chinese athletes are robots, unemotional and focused utterly on winning at all costs”. American coach John Leonard accused Ye Shiwen of doping clamming it was impossible to achieve what she has achieved. All drug tests for her have came back negative and Lenoard has no evidence to prove his claim. Also, why not question Michael Phelps’s great achievement? No because he is White and American?

Let’s forget about the critical view of the Western media towards players from other countries. Look at US gymnast Gabby Douglas and how she was portrayed by the US media. Gymnastic in US is predominately controlled by White players. The US female gymnastic team is mostly composed of White players. When Gabby Douglas, a Black American girl won the Gold medal, the US media did their best to not to cover her story on prime time. During the very little coverage, the media has criticized her parents and her hair style. If this is unbiased reporting, why not provide the same coverage for the other White players such as Alexandra Raisman in the US team? Because she is White and Jewish, you cannot say anything bad about her? So much for free media and freedom of speech.

The issue of media is not just a problem confined to the USA. The far right British political view of “plastic Brits” have blown out of proportions by some British media organizations. Some British political parties have accused GB team members who were born outside of UK for playing for UK. (ref) The British far right is doing their best to hide their racist views by adding that anyone, regardless of the skin colour born outside of UK is not a British. But the reality is that their problem is with the Black and Chinese British athletes not the White ones.

Behaviors counts

If you want to train your child to be good, you reward them for their good behaviours. If you want to train your dog a new trick, you will use a reward system to teach the dog brain what is right and what is wrong. The Olympic players who always complain, demonstrate aggressive behaviours, cheat or “play dirty” should be punished. The punishment should fit the crime. For example, when USA national Women’s Soccer team abused the referee during the semi-final games between Canada and US, Abby Wambach should be given a yellow card. But no, the heavy influence of USA in the Olympic committee may have prevented that from happening.

When some national teams lose a game, the players have went crazy by yelling and screaming while on the playing field. What makes things worse the disgusting victory celebrations such as those of Venus and Serena Williams representing USA. It is one thing to celebrate with joy, it is another to make fun of the players you have beaten. There should be stiff penalties in the future for players who cannot take a win or lose in an appropriate manner.

Outcome may have been predetermined

It seems that team USA seems to have the upper hand on almost every game that they are weak at. For example, the Chinese women’s beach volleyball team(2 player) was eliminated because the referee did not gave the Chinese team two point that they deserve. This has reduced the medal count for China and helped US move forward. During the Canada-US Women’s Soccer semi-final game, the referee gave a penalty in the box in favour of the American team which is clearly not a hand ball. It seems like the games are pre-determined even they begins!

The best of the best goes to Fencer Shin A-Lam of South Korea. She clearly won the game, but because the clock got stuck at the last min, she lost the 3rd place. The racist Olympic officials went in favour of the White German player over the “mongoloid” Shin A-Lam. Well done IOC and their idiots because this must be a mistake right? Nope, it is not a mistake because when North Korea was awarded medals, the London Olympic officials raised the South Korean flag. It is a political statement by the West, not a mistake!

Using the term “political correctness” is stupid

People from the far right who supports athletes like Voula Papachristou often use the term “political correctness” is the reason for her down fall. This is simply not true because the very fabric of Negro, Asian and Paki slave driven pre-history economy of the West laid the foundation for the rapid socio-economic development of North America and Europe. Even without that , unlike countries like Japan, the economy of the Western world is often relied on influx of immigrants from all across the world. Therefore as long as the player supports the values of the country and is a citizen of that nation, that player should be allowed to compete in the Olympics representing their country regardless of the ethnicity, race or the county of origin.

In addition, the IOC events and the Olympic games are paid by the public of the world. The key word is the “world” that includes Blacks, Chinese, Europeans, Japanese, South Asians, Hispanics, and people of mixed races. The games belongs to the world, not to a far right, far left or center political party. Olympic should not be used to make political statements because UN is the right place to do it.

To defend your bigoted narrow view of the world by calling “political correctness is the problem” itself should be a crime. It is a good thing that the 2012 Summer Olympic games were awarded to such a diverse city like London with strong ties in multicultural values. The Queen of England and the Royal Family even supports the enrichment of other cultures in the British communities. It looks like these far right ideologists even in England is willing go against their own queen for their political agenda.

I can go on and on about many other racially, religiously, ethnically or politically motivated issues at the London 2012 Summer Olympics. The goal of this article is to highlight the fact that racism is still a growing problem amplified by the current global economic down turn.

You can be an example to others

I learned from life experiences that you cannot change the world. However, you can change yourself. This is where respecting the individual Olympian for their sportsmanship should overtake your national pride, political views and racial hate. I personally don’t support teams because I support players. The only exception is the Women’s Soccer team of Canada and Japan for two different reasons. For Canada, our women’s team played well and did not abuse the referee even when referee was clearly playing for the American team. Japan because I have seen the Japanese women’s team lose games and they are clam and submissive compared to their aggressive and outspoken American counterpart. The best way highlight that you do not approve of racism, sexism, bigotry and political extremism is to avoid supporting teams, countries and individual athletes who demonstrate poor sportsmanship on and off the field.

You test a person’s ability to process ethics and morals not during that person’s best moments, but during the worst moments in life. You can truly test the “multicultural” nature of people during this global economic downturn.

Permanent link to this article: http://sanuja.com/blog/support-sportsmanship-not-the-country-or-the-team