Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Was the 200m finals a farce!? Double disqualifications!? WHAT!

Really good write up about the farce (It WAS a farce, besides Bolt's amazing achievement) that was the 200m finals at the Beijing Olympics last night.

Colorado Springs - The Gazette
An article by MILO F. BRYANT

There is something to be said about earning your way onto the podium.
We don't have to compete in the Olympics to know that getting to them takes hard work. It takes smart work, too.
Lifting, sprinting, stretching, technique, starts, mental work - hours and hours of all of them culminate in one moment. In the 200-meter sprint, that moment stretches over 20 seconds or so.
Thousands of hours for 20 seconds.
Almost seems unfair. But it's not.
What is unfair, at least from a good-of-the-game standpoint is what happened to American sprinter Wallace Spearmon and The Netherlands Antilles' Churandy Martina.
Every sprinter taught to run a curve has been told to hug that inside line. Both did. And both squeezed it a bit too tightly.

Both were disqualified for lane violations. They ran on the inside line. The video screen inside the Bird's Nest showed Spearmon's infraction over and over while Spearmon, unknowingly, ran around the track celebrating his bronze medal. Actually, all three celebrated. All three hugged and took pictures. Spearmon even picked up Bolt at one point carrying him a few yards before letting him down.

Looking at Spearmon's infraction, Team USA noticed Martina might have had a lane violation, too.
An hour to 90 minutes after the race, Team USA's protest was upheld. That gave Americans Shawn Crawford and Walter Dix silver and bronze medals.

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt took the gold medal in world-record time, displaying a 19.30-second effort that eclipsed the 12-year-old record set by Michael Johnson by .02 of a second.

Call it sour grapes, but there's a difference between getting a medal and earning a medal. Both runners broke the rules, and I understand that. But it's near impossible to ascertain whether stepping on the line gave either of those sprinters .01 or .02 or .1 of a second advantage.

"That's not the way I wanted to attain a medal," Crawford said before finding out about Martina's disqualification. "I know he's heartbroken right now. He crossed the line in the podium position. Then to find out you're disqualified for stepping on the line, I'm disappointed for him. That's heartbreaking.
"A fourth place man walking home with a third-place medal? It just doesn't sit right with me. It feels kind of weird. It feels like a charity case."

Crawford is right. Gamers want to know that they're the best because they beat the best, not because the best did something that didn't affect the event's proceedings in any way.
"I don't feel like it gave him an advantage," Crawford said of Spearmon. "I'm in mourning for him. I know he's disappointed. I'm kind of disappointed myself."
Then a reporter told Crawford that the American team had filed a protest because it thought that Churandy committed a lane violation, too. Crawford rolled his eyes, shook his head and gave a sarcastic grin.
"Oh Lord," Crawford said. "The second place stepped out. The third place stepped out. Hopefully Usain stepped out, too! So, I'm going home with the gold."

Sounds silly, and laughter did follow the remarks. But there's a lot of truth in that sarcasm.
There's a difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. This was a case where the letter of the law hurt the spirit. We have to wonder what it's teaching.

Crawford and Dix got their medals. But they didn't earn them. says ... Martina Churandy is the reason why I found out that there was a sovereign nation called Netherlands Antilles!

The Netherlands Antilles (Dutch: Nederlandse Antillen), previously known as the Netherlands West Indies or Dutch Antilles/West Indies, is part of the Lesser Antilles and consists of two groups of islands in the Caribbean Sea: Curaçao and Bonaire, just off the Venezuelan coast, and Sint Eustatius, Saba and Sint Maarten, located southeast of the Virgin Islands. The islands form an autonomous part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The islands' economy depends mostly upon tourism, international financial services, international commerce and shipping and petroleum.

It is part constitutional monarchy part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Area - Total 800 km² (184th in the world) or 309 sq mi. Population @ July 2005 estimated at 183,000 (185th).

Yes, a nation which is smaller then Singapore with a population no bigger then a little town in Malaysia produced the world's second fastest man. Yes, in my eyes, Martina Churandy was 2nd!


patrick said...

Not only for churandy martina but also all the hopes and dreams of the country of the netherlands antilles (curacao). It's just not right. What selfish of the american team I suppurted them during all the olympics but today I have another feeling. What a Shame.

sthyan said...

I just found out today that Martina Churandy goes to the same university as me! Wow! He's a senior undergraduate student too! Maybe I can hunt him down to get an autograph or something..haha!

Julian Si said...

Wow, cousin ... that's quite the coincidence!!

Olympics are now over, back to food food food on me little blog :-)