Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Major Lack of Sportsmanship Shows at the Rio Olympic Games

The Olympics are supposed to involve the world coming together in a friendly competition, with each individual country putting forth its best athletes and celebrating whoever comes on top.

Oh, each individual country and athlete really does want to win, but regardless of whether they get the gold or not, they still play nice both before and after each event.

At least, they’re supposed to.

Personally, I wasn’t impressed with American Anthony Ervin on Friday night. After winning the gold, he celebrated by straddling the lane marker, flexing his muscles and falling into the next lane, where one of his opponents still was.

If he had done that in his own lane, more power to him. I’m all about celebrating a win, especially when it’s a U.S. win. But what Ervin did seriously smacked of gloating at other people’s losses rather than enjoying his own achievement.

Anthony Ervin could learn some tips in sportsmanship from his fellow American gold medalists on Friday, Katie Ledecky and Maya DiRado, or from Singapore’s Joseph Schooling, who beat Michael Phelps yet still reacted like a class act.

With that said, even Anthony Ervin could teach one particular group of Olympians a thing or two, and that would be those hailing from certain Muslim countries.

The Washington Times reported last week that Israeli athletes have been downright discriminated against during these games - so much so that the International Olympic Committee had to issue a reprimand at one point. So far, the drama has included:

·         Members of the Lebanese delegation physically blocking Team Israel from getting on a bus they were supposed to share to the opening ceremony
·         Egypt’s Islam El Shehaby refusing to shake his Israeli competitor’s hand after their judo bout (which he lost) even after the referee reminded him of his obligation.
·         Saudi Arabian Joud Fahmy forfeiting a first-round judo match, allegedly to avoid facing Israel’s Gili Cohen in Round 2. Saudi Arabia says she was injured during practice, but that defense only holds so much weight when this kind of thing has happened before:
o   Syrian boxer Ala Ghasoun quit an Olympic qualifying match this June because he wasn’t going to shake the hand of someone representing “a Zionist regime.”
o   Iranian Judo champion has flat-out admitted to intentionally losing matches if Israel was the next fight up.
o   Israeli soccer teams have to go into the World Cup and other such tournaments as a European-based country since so many of their fellow Middle Eastern nations won’t play them.

With that kind of behavior on full display at an event as public as the Olympics, it seems logical to conclude that world peace – or even basic levels of global tolerance – are a long ways away.

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