Wednesday, August 24, 2016

THIS & THAT  #12

Olympic Moments to
Remember and Forget

The Olympics should be the epitome of nations gathering together in pure competition with rivals, without a hint of politics or animosity. Unfortunately this year the world witnessed all of that, from high-level officials who cheated and lied, and athletes who followed the example of those leaders.

At times, the Olympics are political, corrupt, and as dishonest as the current Presidential campaign. The purpose of both the Olympics and the race for the Presidency is simple — just win, and in too many instances, it’s winning at any cost.

The Games of the 31st Olympiad concluded on August 21st, and were filled with memorable moments, and moments that are best forgotten, both in competition and away from it.

Unforgettable – The Good
There were dazzling, uplifting and record-winning performances in track and field, gymnastics, and in the pool. There were also heartening performances by some athletes who didn’t win their event, but demonstrated that they had the true Olympic spirit.

In the Women’s 5,000-meter event, when a New Zealand runner fell during the race, and an American runner stopped and assisted her to her feet. The American then discovered that she, too, was injured. They bonded then, and perhaps forever, and crossed the finish line together. A committee awarded them the “Fair Play Award” as an example of selflessness and exemplary sportsmanship.

There were instances in the marathon near the finish line, when exhausted and out-of-contention runners encouraged and helped competitors to make it across the finish line.

Unforgettable – The Bad and the Ugly

No Hope for Her
Hope Solo, the goalie for the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, must be a Republican, as she emulated Donald J. Trump’s innate ability to insert her foot in her mouth. After a disheartening shootout loss to Sweden in the quarterfinals, where Solo allowed the winning penalty kick, she blasted the winners saying, “They played like a bunch of cowards.” The “cowards” lost in the finals to Germany, and settled for the Silver Medal, while the US Team settled for extra time off.

“Some of My Best Friends Aren’t”
In judo competition, an Egyptian judoka fittingly named Islam, refused to shake hands following his defeat by his Israeli opponent. This is a big "no-no" in judo, where respect is a big part of the sport. A Saudi athlete forfeited a first-round judo match, when he allegedly dropped out to avoid facing an Israeli opponent in the second round.

When a bus destined for the Olympic venue pulled in front of the hotel where Israeli athletes were waiting to board, they were prevented to do so when the head of the Lebanese delegation blocked the entrance. The Lebanese official claimed that the bus had been reserved solely for his team, and while the International Olympic Committee reprimanded him for his actions, he was hailed as a “hero” back in Lebanon.

Is it any wonder why there’s still no peace in the Muddle East?

Olympic Leadership
Here are a few of the numerous incidences of how badly the leaders have led, beginning with how the awarding of the Olympics is fraught with tales of bribery. Along with all of the doping and the resultant disbarring of many Russian athletes, one Kenyan official hand carried the urination sample of one of his runners to the station to be checked. It turned out that the sample belonged to the official, and he was disbarred. The International Boxing Association dropped a number of judges and referees, when some of their decisions were quite questionable. 

Green with Envy
Ryan Lochte, the thirty-two-year-old juvenile swimmer, fittingly dyed his hair green for the Olympics. His tall tale of robbery at gunpoint, after a night of partying, has opened a future for him in presidential politics. After his embarrassing fabrication was revealed, his sponsors swam away, causing him well-earned financial distress. He lost the sponsorship of Speedo Swim Suits, Ralph Lauren, Airweave Mattress Company, and Syneron Candela, a company that sells hair-removal devices.

Speedo called his behavior “counter to the values this brand has long stood for,” Syneron declared, “We hold our employees to high standards, and we expect the same of our business partners.” His embarrassing story cost him lost green, but he could once more becomes the “star” of a failed reality show.

LATE NEWS FLASH: Friday, Aug. 26
Don’t Pine for Lochte As An
Opportunist Tries to Cash In

The world should be grateful for the munificent, generous, and purely unselfish actions of one company, who is trying to rescue Lochte from his self-inflicted injury to his reputation.

A Pine Bros. Softish Throat Drops spokesperson said that people should be more understanding, so Lochte will be featured in advertisements that say the company’s product is “Forgiving on Your Throat.”

Doesn’t it sort of get you all chocked up, and want to do good in the world? However, as a bearded man who doesn’t swim, I will stick to Smith Bros. Cough Drops.

The Political Reality
Of the Olympics

The above instances were minor compared to Germany’s self promoting Nazism in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, and the cow towing by the American Olympic chairperson, who forced two Jewish American runners to not run. In the 1968 Mexico City Olympics John Carlos and Tommy Smith won medals, and successfully protested inequality in America. In the 1972 Olympics in Munich, the Palestinian-led Black September Group massacred eleven Israeli team members. In 1980, after the Russians had invaded Afghanistan, President Carter had America boycott the Olympics in Moscow, and in retaliation, the Russians boycotted the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. These tales and others will be found in detail in the Ho-Ho-Kus Cogitator, Vol. 5, No. 3, coming out in October.

Don’t Table That Thought

The Ego of the Media “Star”
Sportscaster Bob Costas was scheduled to conduct an inspiring interview with sixteen-year-old Kanak Jha, the youngest member ever to play for the USA’s Men’s Table Tennis Team. Jha was the U.S. National Champion, and has been training with the coaches at the World Champion Table Tennis Academy (WCTTA) in Santa Clara County for more than eight years.

Costas “challenged” Jha to a match, and won convincingly in the video shown. However, you never saw Costas’ face as the ball whizzed by the stunned Jha. In reality, Kanak was playing against Timothy Wang, another member of the USA Table Tennis Team. Costas wasted Jha’s time, just to showcase the broadcasters own limited talents on the table, as well as his inability to conduct a professional interview.

Kanak did receive professional media coverage from both The New York Times shown here, and Sports Illustrated on line.

Jha Called for Help
From His Real Coach

Although Stefan Feth wasn’t selected as the US Men’s Table Tennis Coach at the Olympics, he should have been given that earned honor. Feth was one of the lead coaches at the WCTTA who trained Jha, and Kanak relied on Feth’s ability to coach him before any match, anywhere, and better prepare him to play his next opponent. Prior to the start of any Olympic match in Rio, Feth’s cell phone would ring. He’d politely excuse himself from any lesson he was giving in the WCTTA’s facility, and although they were thousand of miles and four time zones apart, Feth would provide Kanak with needed, welcomed, and asked-for advice.