28 August, 2004

The Sad State of The State

Firstly, the title of this blog entry doesn't refer to W. It could. He's symbolic on so many levels of many of the problems facing our country, but he didn't cause this one...that is, unless he did father the Hamm twins. It's striking how much Paul looks like W. Morgan does as well, but as I've always liked him more, I like to think that it's not as strong a resemblance.
Anyway, today's topic refers to honor and greed. One of those we generally think of when we think of the word "champion." The other has come to be linked in the eyes of the world, except of course, for the G.O.P. (and I contend it's their first name), with America. Much of America cheered on Paul Hamm during his comeback victory in the Men's All Around Gymnastics event. I personally wanted Marian Dragulescu to win. He's hot, and I may be adopting Rumanian kids, so I have a special spot for that country, but I digress.
To those of you out-of-the-know, Hamm was incorrectly awarded a gold medal due to a judging error. The bronze medalist in the event should have received the gold. When this was pointed out to him, do you think he did the honorable (read=champion like) thing to do?
Phillip Bondy, of The New York Daily News writes, "Hamm might have become a transcendent star here...if only he had seized the moment and risen above... He could have lobbied for the South Korean, Yang Tae-young, invited Yang to the top of the podium to share the gold medal. Instead, Hamm stood by the letter of the law, and his championship was severely diminished... Hamm, frankly, comes off as just another selfish athlete defending his turf." I have to agree.
Now let's move from a tarnished American example of what my parents taught me was being a bad sport, to the opposite end of the spectrum. Irina Karavaeva of Russia is the woman who insisted on giving back a gold medal at the 2001 world championships, because of a judging mistake. "The Russian people were very proud," said Sergei Turunov. I would be too.

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