Thursday, August 19, 2004

Gymnastics Gold Medal Shrouded in Controversy

Just The Beginning Of More Anti-American rhetoric?

Last night's coverage of the Olympics featured the "miraculous" comeback of American gymnast, Paul Hamm, who recovered from a fall in the vault exercise to win the gold medal.

It made for great television, but some are grumbling it was less than legitimate. Officials from the South Korea gymnastics federation are questioning some of the judges' scores for Hamm's ill-fated vault routine.

My point is not to debate whether there were some scoring irregularities, just sour grapes from the South Koreans or the powerful U.S. gymnastics federation twisted some arms. Instead, we need to focus on the political atmosphere that these types of allegations stem from.

The Bush administration has so isolated and alienated the rest of the world to such a degree that every country suspects cheating, lying and general wrong-doing at nearly every social setting. The rest of the world reviles us. We need to be prepared for the pervasiveness of this notion. It is quickly filtering into the standard worldview of our nation abroad. Republicans claim this fact does not bother them. "Who cares what the French think!"

The fact is we cannot spread what we believe to be the noblest aspect of our country--democracy--if we so disregard others interests.

During the Cold War, Americans constantly accused Soviet and East German athletes of wrongdoing. It worked because they were the enemy and it turns out they were juiced.

Is it a stretch to say we are now the Soviets to rest of the world? We have a myriad of athletes under suspicion for steroids and yet the world sees them those same athletes still competing in Athens. The Two Greek sprinters who withdrew from games for possible steroid abuse stated this same fact.

We watch the Olympics on television hear the chanting of "USA, USA, USA" while others see us as arrogant, lying cheaters bent on glory at any cost.

3 comments:

Pops said...

What bothers me is not the possible strong arming, not the resentment that other nations are feeling, not even the possibility of violent retaliation.

What bothers me is that I think you actually do sit- alone- in your apartment chanting “USA! USA!”

I worry about you.

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