August 26 2008

Unsporting Conduct At The Olympics Hits All Time Low

I know I said the other day I had Final Thoughts On The Olympics, but then you run in to a story you missed that is just jaw dropping.

A Cuban Olympian, Angel Valodia Matos, was participating in the Olympic taekwondo men’s +80-kg tournament for the Bronze medal.  He was leading 3 – 2 when a time out was called to tend to an injury on his foot.  According to the rules, participants have one minute to attend to any injuries, if this is exceeded, the match is to be awarded to the opponent. When Matos exceeded the time limit, Swedish judge Chakir Chelbat called the match for Arman Chilmanov of Kazakhstan.

Matos argued the call with the judge, while his coach raced out to also argue it and ended up punching the judge in the chest.  Then came the coup de grace as Matos decided to kick the judge in the head.  Other judges raced out to seperate the three men, and Matos was dragged off by staff as he continued to scream.  Within 30 minutes of the incident both Matos, who won the Gold medal at the Athens games in 2004, and his coach received lifetime bans from all World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) events.

Fidel Castro, the former President of Cuba, defended Matos in a column he wrote for a newspaper, saying that he couldn’t control himself since there had been attempted bribes of his coach.  He did not offer any further information on this aspect of the story, but it sounds fishy to me.

Remember folks: Usain Bolt was rude to celebrate too much, the Chinese gymnasts appear to have done nothing wrong… and, oh, we had an athlete kick a judge in the head?  Funny how I can’t find any comments on this from Jacques Rogge, the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).  Did it somehow slip past him?

Say what you will about Usain Bolt being cocky in his win, at least he didn’t kick anyone in the head.

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