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Sunday, August 22, 2004

Khorkina drama, etc...

I am mentioning all this since it probably won't appear in US media - Khorkina, after her loss to a US gymnast, said the following:
"...I'm just furious. I knew well in advance I was going to lose. Everything was decided in advance...I had no illusions about this when the judges gave me 9.462 for the vault after conferring with one another at length... I practically did everything right, still they just set me up and fleeced me..."
About the all-around winner, Carly Patterson:
"...I've seen a much tougher opposition than her. Let's see how long she can remain on top. Can she keep going and compete in two more Olympics like myself? No, well, you better write that Patterson is a great champion and she has a great future," she added sarcastically..."
On Sunday night, Khorkina actually fell from the uneven bars and finished last - she "...did not stay to watch the medal ceremony, storming off after receiving her 8.925 score from the judges, without watching the final competitor...". Emilie Lepennec of France won gold and US gymnasts Terin Humphrey and Courtney Kupets took silver and bronze respectively.

This is nothing compared to what happened in the men's competition - a Korean gymnast had a higher score than the US athlete who got - by "mistake" - the gold!
The three judges were suspended but the US TV audience got to see an American winner.

"...Three judges were suspended on Saturday for the mistake which saw American Paul Hamm win the men's all-round event. The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) upheld Tae-young's protest but said they could not change the outcome.
"The judges' marks have to be accepted as a final decision and cannot be changed," said the FIG in a statement.
Hamm says he will abide by any decision from the officials.
"If they decide I should give back the gold medal, then I will," he said..."

In Sunday's competition, Paul Hamm "...stumbled landing on his final tumbling combination ended his hopes and he finished down in fifth place...his twin brother Morgan finished last of the eight gymnasts competing in the floor final...Kyle Shewfelt handed Canada their inaugural gymnastics gold when he won the men's floor event".

Of course, all this may be totally coincidental - the fact that US television channel NBC is the major games financier and needs US victories to get ratings for the all-important Gymnastics events plays absolutely no role...

The other thing that will probably come as a shock - to Americans anyway - is the doping problems in Athletics.
People are already laughing at the sight of Gail Devers sliding below a hurdle instead of jumping over it - as CNN SI notes, "...Devers' took the third U.S. spot in that event when Torri Edwards was suspended for two years for accidentally ingesting a banned stimulant..."

You have to love this - while evil communists use doping intentionally, the US athletes do it "accidentally" -
Reminds me of someone accused of a sodomy offence - he testified in court that "...we were both naked, I slipped and it happened by accident..."

Update: The NYT, who did their best to cover-up the US doping scandal, by burying the story as deep as they could, just run a "sympathetic" piece on the same Torri Edwards - check out some of the language, here:
"...last week, a panel of the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld her two-year drug suspension and put an official end to her dream of competing in the Athens Games...Edwards was the latest athlete to be caught in a drug net as part of a crusade to catch those who use performance-enhancing drugs...The Court of Arbitration for Sport refused to be moved and upheld the same ban that White and others received...The drug-cleansing agencies may have inadvertently created the advocate that track and field so desperately needs...Somebody has to help the athletes fight back against these doping agencies...I just want to get across to everybody that I did not cheat. I've never cheated through my career..."

I guess that's the major worry of the NY Times and their fellow propagandists - for decades, their main claim to being the greatest was that the US stands for "no cheating" - whereas the rest of the world tries to catch up by doing just that. Now that some foreigners (the anti-doping "crusade" is run by a Canadian) are demolishing the "no cheating" myth, NY Times and Co are really getting pissed, and it shows - they even advocate "fighting back" against the anti-doping authorities!!
No wonder - what will happen when the scandal spreads to the really popular sports, like basketball and baseball, now that US judges are investigating the THG scandal?

Another NY Times hack was equally upset - he proves that he isn't even reading other US media, or even his own paper, when he claims that:
"...plenty of American athletes are either sitting out these Games because they were suspended (hmmm, I wonder why...the hack doesn't think his readers need to know) or they suddenly had a scheduling problem..."
Yep, they had more serious business than the Olympics - their local College championships perhaps?
"...Gatlin (the 100m winner) is coached by Trevor Graham, who has had six athletes test positive for banned substances in the past. Four of his athletes, but not Gatlin, have been implicated in the Balco scandal. It is all so wearying. I am not naïve, and I suspect that a lot of our American sluggers and offensive linemen are beefing themselves up artificially. With all these busts in Athens, don't hold your breath waiting for big league ballplayers to show up in Beijing in 2008. They don't need this publicity..."

Wearying indeed - they are glad to report on other people's doping troubles, but things get "weary" when the focus switches to the native boys and girls. Now you know why professional baseballers won't be in any Olympics...

As for their Gymnastics coverage - no mention of the Khorkina affair, or the "error" in Hamm's case. And that's the "liberal" media.

Meanwhile, some obnoxious/ overpretentious/ etc character on BBC World was shouting ".. who is this this Yuliya Nesterenko? Where are the great names?..." The answer is that the famous US sprinters mysteriously missed the US trials or lost in the semis or got injured or whatever - in any case, they couldn't make the Womens 100 meters final, so Nesterenko won. I doubt if NBC even mentioned her.

Well, what happens is that if you don't show up for the final, you don't have to subject to a doping test - after the THG scandal, which was largely covered up by US media, many famous US athletes, like Tim Montgomery, started to have problems and failed to qualify for the Olympic events. Kelli White - the one the obnoxious BBC character had in mind, along with Devers - was stripped of her medals, while some others were "warned"- after testing positive!!

Remember Marion Jones? Wondering why she is not a hero this time around? Check this out
This was first page news internationally - but not in the USA.
I wonder what the NBC people are saying about all this (Marion also "failed to qualify" in the US trials) since I can't watch their broadcasts - I guess some sort of "accident" is responsible.
The "accident" involves over 20 US top athletes - mostly in Track & Field, since it is well known that US basketball stars and the like are never tested for doping.

The CNN SI people are firing some warning shots, to protect certain people from embarassment...

"...In truth (Jones) doesn't have to admit to using drugs. She can simply cite her struggles to get fit, the importance of the long jump or some nagging (real or created) injury. Just like that. Everybody is safe. If the relay runs a little more slowly without her, so be it. A bronze or silver that's kept is better than a gold that's given back..."

The hero of the day is Justin Gatlin, who just won the 100 meters final.
He "...tested positive for an amphetamine at the 2001 U.S. junior championships. The drug was contained in prescription medication Gatlin had been taking for 10 years to treat a form of attention deficit disorder. The International Association of Athletics Federations gave him early reinstatement from a two-year ban in July 2002. The IAAF said a second violation would lead to a life ban...".
Add to that the news about his coach and his past exploits.

The really nasty news usually comes after the Olympics are over - that's when the major doping cases are announced.
But by then, NBC will have its ratings, and everything will be forgotten until 2008...

Update: The THG affair is not obscure, like high fashion, and cannot be regarded as conspiracy talk - if you do a Google search using "THG" you'll see that the subject was major news (front pagenews in many cases) all over the world, including the UK - with one exception, the USA. It is true that US media only really bother with Athletics every four years, when the Olympics are on prime time TV - but the lack of coverage in the major media (a couple of provincial newspapers broke the story - NY Times and Washington Post coverage is a joke) is impressive, by any standard.

The W Post made some nasty comments about Khorkina - "...Khorkina was neither graceful nor elegant in her Olympic farewell. She wasn't tactful, either, snatching her warmup jacket and exiting with a flourish, trailing television cameramen in her wake, as Humphrey stepped up to perform the rotation's final routine. When Khorkina's name appeared on an Olympic scoreboard for the last time, it was in last place, 8.925. She granted no interviews, walking briskly past waiting reporters. And she didn't so much turn her head when an American journalist asked if she truly felt she had been cheated out of the all-around gold. "It shows very poor sportsmanship," said U.S. Coach Kelli Hill. "It's too bad because she, in her day, was somebody to look up to. Now I can't even do that. I've lost all respect for her...."

The W Post followed the NY Times in questioning anti-doping authorities - that prompted an unusual response by Dick Pound, the Canadian who is the head of WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency). He says that the W Post hack made " prejudicial and intellectually lazy assertions" and that "a newspaper of record should act like one, not like a tabloid".
"Freedom-loving" journalism goes down the drain.


At 8/23/2004 4:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

long live the queen! - svelte

At 8/23/2004 5:12 AM, Blogger FV said...

Well, it's over for her, but I am sure there will be plenty of new stars after her, like it happened with tennis and Kournikova.

At 8/23/2004 5:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this olympics is over for her, however she said she may stick around for the world cup and she may 'come back' if she really wants to. who knows though. any way, she will live on as one of the bests. she has her place in history. - svelte

At 8/23/2004 5:53 AM, Blogger FV said...

yeah, she said that "..."I'd like to work for the International Gymnastics Federation. These competitions have shown the sport needs a lot of changes,"
"It should be judged primarily on grace, elegance and beauty rather than simply on mechanic tumbling."

Tough - the US networks want early-teens with a smile painted on their faces to do amazing jumping feats, sort of a WonderBarbie or WonderBratz, and who can draw crowds in Disneyland parades - not anybody graceful or elegant.

At 8/23/2004 5:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is true FV- what got me into gymnastics was svetlana. i admired her grace and elegance. look at how all of the newer gymnasts move, it's all mechanical. it's a shame, sveta is right- gymnastics won't be the same without her...and i'll lose interest.

anyone have those elle scans? ;) - svelte

At 8/23/2004 2:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm an American from Texas and I really get tired of seeing the USA win over and over. I was elated to see Nesterenko win the gold in the 100 meters. I also think Paul Hamm should give back his gold medal. I would. And about doping in American sports... The Dallas Cowboys recently cut their starting quarterback, Quincy Carter, because of drug problems. Of course it was his 3rd offense. The 1st and 2nd failed tests were never made public. Apparently because of a deal between the NFL Player's Association and the NFL Owners... I love America, but it's certainly not perfect nor a paradise.

At 8/23/2004 3:08 PM, Blogger FV said...

Everyone knows there that some athletes get special treatment, depending on the event, the country, the sport, etc
Khorkina may or may not be right - but that episode with the Koreans was a clear attempt to make sure Hamm got the gold. NBC got their rateings, now they have to keep the story from blowing up - we'll see...

And of course everyone remembers the uproar with the judges in the Winter Olympics, where a Russian skating couple were said to be favoured...

The real reason US journalists are so apprehensive about all this WADA/THG doping thinbg is that the US judicial system is looking into it, and that the people responsible were selling high-tech dope to several major baseball/football/basketball stars as well.
It is a well-known fact that the players in US professional sports are not tested for doping - only for narcotics (cocaine, etc), and the worst few get punished each year to keep the rest in line.
Only Track and Field athletes (swimmers supposedly "cleaned up the act" in the last four years)really need to take advanced doping drugs because of the sophistication of international doping testiing - since they have to compete internationally.
The US is not big in strength-related sports like weightlifting or throwing, where most other doping cases show up.
(although Marion's husband, C.J. Hunter, is a shot putter champion)

btw this is what Hunter said about Marion Jones and doping - amazingly, this was not widely reported in the US, there was never any outcry in the media, and Marion Jones is ready to compete in Athens !!!

"...Hunter told federal investigators he personally injected Jones with banned substances and saw Jones inject herself with performance-enhancing drugs in Australia ...he told Internal Revenue Service agents that Jones used human growth hormone, insulin, the endurance-boosting drug EPO and the steroid THG, according to a federal memo obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle....the Chronicle said Hunter told federal authorities that Jones used banned substances before, during and after the Sydney Games....“Hunter stated that he saw Jones inject herself with EPO,� IRS agent Erwin Rogers wrote in one of the memos quoted by the Chronicle. “Jones would inject herself in the front waist line area slightly underneath the skin. ... Initially, Hunter injected Jones because Jones did not want to inject herself in this location.�..."

Another sport where doping seems to have near 100% penetration is pro cycling. Greg Lemond, 3 times winner of the tour has openly said several times he’s not sure superhero Lance Armstrong is "clean" - and a famous Italian cyclist recently died from a doping-related illness.

I'm an American from Texas and I really get tired of seeing the USA win over and over. I was elated to see Nesterenko win the gold in the 100 meters. I also think Paul Hamm should give back his gold medal. I would. And about doping in American sports... The Dallas Cowboys recently cut their starting quarterback, Quincy Carter, because of drug problems. Of course it was his 3rd offense.

At 8/24/2004 7:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Paul Hamm affair has begun to hit home a little more each day.

This American from Texas, you can call me Ras, has been paying a lot of attention to what NBC provides as news as opposed to what this weblog and others proport to be the most accurate news.

According to NBC and the local papers, and FIG, South Korea didn't abide by the rules that govern this type of situation and failed to contest the scores before the next event started. Had they done so, it would have been a different story.

I'm now of the opinion that the South Korean's should have spoke up sooner, as per the rules of international gymnastics. There are rules in place to sort things like this out. Those rules weren't followed.


At 8/24/2004 9:48 AM, Blogger FV said...

Maybe the Koreans botched it, and missed their chance

However, things don't seem to be as simple, I noriced at least one US sports writer suggesting that Hamm give his gold medal to the Korean voluntarily

Also, it's one thing for a judge to make a questionable judgement during a routine, and another to "forget" to give the right starting mark, with the overseeing judge not noticing the error - and that was an undsisputed error, since the judges were suspended.
The Koreans btw insist they did complain in time, but were ignored.

In any case, the Koreans will get mad once again, the Russians will get doubly mad after the Khorkina episode, and NBC got more drama than they thought was possible with Gymnastics

At 8/24/2004 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked Khorkina over Patterson because I'm getting sick of pre-pubescent girls winning. And Khorkina was at least colorful. Not all US press is negative, by the way:

As for Hamm, judges mess up all the time. That's the problem with subjective events. It would be a mockery of the system to go back and retroactively change the scores now, though. The athletes' performances and (I truly believe) the judges' marks are infulenced by the scores on the board. Everyone in the room HAS to be able to take the scoreboard at face value.

Should FIFA retroactively disallow the Hand of God and make Argentina and England replay their '86 semifinal?

The NBC conspiracy is garbage, also. I don't know if you're in the States and saw the broadcast, but after Hamm fell to 12th the commentators said that he had no chance of winning and only a small probability of even medaling. They practically told us to change the channel! And this was on tape delay so they could have changed their statemtents in light of the fact he did win.


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