Saturday, August 16, 2008

Unsportsmanlike Conduct of Olympic Proportions

Image courtesy of CBC

I don't pay much attention to wrestling--it's not really my thing--but this story caught my attention.

It seems that Swedish wrestler Ara Abrahamian, in protest of what he deemed a bad call in a match, dropped his bronze medal to the ground and stomped out of the arena during the medal ceremony. He contends that the officials are wrong, and has even hinted at cheating--a pretty hefty accusation in any sport.

When I first read the story a few days ago, I raised one weary eyebrow, and then forgot about it in the course of a normal day at work.

However, now it has emerged that Abrahamian is being stripped of his unwanted bronze medal, for violating the spirit of the whole point of the Olympics.

To which I say...good.

I understand that he worked for many years to get where he is--to be good enough to represent his country in the Olympics. I understand, too, that what drives so many of these atheletes to the heights they achieve is competitive drive--the thrill of winning, of being the best. And certainly, anyone can understand how it feels to work so hard, for so long, only to have the end goal slip through your fingers.

Failure's a bitch. But it happens to the best of us.

But how much did this guy really fail? I have seen top-notch athletes in these games graciously accept silver and bronze medals. Would they prefer gold? Of course--but they also understand that the fact that they are on the medal stands at all is pretty amazing.

Like I said, I don't follow wrestling. Maybe there is something scandalous going on...but on the surface, it really just looks like a sore loser throwing a tantrum.

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