Friday, August 27, 2004

OLYMPICS WRAPUP POST DAY #15: Capsules. I was going to go through all the wrestling and taekwondo I taped before I wrote this, but then I'd be up all night. So you will get incomplete Olympics coverage. LEARN 2 LUV it.

Basketball, Men's: Marbury had 31 and we beat Spain handily? Gollee. I guess Stephon was reading the papers.

Soccer, Women's: The other American team I've been down on pulled off the gold medal victory on a game that sounded like it was hugely physical (I had it on in the background at work.) Big bad Abby Wambach got the go-ahead, so maybe we are in good hands for 2007 and 2008. I hate those little pony-tailed North Carolina girls, though.

Diving: China won gold. SHOCKER! I think I'm repeating myself, but still.

-Athalons: Two New Zealanders won gold and silver in triathlon. The horse-riding part proved the deal breaker in pentathlon.

Wrestling: They showed clips of Egyptian wrestler Armen Nazarian actually cheating to win in a preliminary match over a Japanese guy--he grabbed the guy's bum behind the refs back--which apparently is some kind of illegal advantage and hence a no-no. Luckily he was defeated by a virtuous Korean and the eternal story of wrestling, good triumphing over dirty cheating evil, was retold. There's this other Egyptian guy who clearly saw this as his tryout for the WWE as he threw the crap out of one guy and then did backflips in celebration. I wonder if anybody explained the "hideous racist gimmicks" part of pro wrestling to him.

Taekwondo: I'm at that part in my tape now, so I don't know if I get to see this or not:

Taiwan won its first-ever Olympic gold medals Thursday and was honored with a medal ceremony featuring a national anthem and flag that is not its own.

The medals came in quick succession on the first day of the taekwondo competition.

Chen Shih Hsin won the historic first gold in the women's 49-kilogram category, and then heavily favored Chu Mu Yen followed suit about 20 minutes later in the men's 58-kg class.

Several hundred Taiwanese fans in attendance went wild after the victories were clinched, but the celebration turned more muted when the medal ceremony began.

As part of its sovereignty dispute with China, Taiwan is not permitted to use its actual flag and anthem in international competitions. Instead, Chen and Chu had to watch as a more generic Taiwanese Olympic flag, featuring the Olympic rings, was raised to the tune of the "Song of the national flag.''

Chen cried throughout the medal ceremony, while Chu was more composed.

"I would like to dedicate this medal to everyone in Taiwan,'' Chen said. "I'm pretty sure that everyone in Taiwan will be happy for the gold medals won today.''

Taiwan and China have been locked in a sovereignty dispute for five decades. Beijing says the island belongs to Chinese territory and must accept Communist rule or face war. But the Taiwanese have refused to join the mainland and have been drifting closer to seeking a permanent break.

As a concession to China, Taiwan participates at the Olympics under the name of "Chinese, Taipei'' instead of its official name of the Republic of China.

Chu began his winner's press conference by declaring in English: "I am from Taiwan.''

His translator was Chinese and he apparently did not want the message said any other way.

This China-Taiwan thing is--it's going to be interesting how it shakes out, heading into 2008. Beijing can't threaten Taiwan too much before then--do they really want to be holding an Olympics while they're fighting their next-door neightbor? Oh, I'm sorry, engaging in a "civil action" in their "breakaway province" or what have you. So Taiwan knows this and it seems to me--dumb schmuck writing on the Internet--that if they wanted to press for independence, now would be the time.

Anyway, it sucks that Taiwan can't even compete under their own flag or name or hear their own anthem because the IOC are a bunch of pussies. Meanwhile, watching taekwondo--I'm still getting the hang of it. The nuances are even harder to spot than they were in judo--thank gosh Pat Croce is there to tell me what's going on, which is as bizarre a commentary assignment as Bill Clement's was with table tennis last week.

Track & Field: We swept the 200 in an event where the crowd decided to assert itself in an annoying way, whistling for ten minutes so they couldn't get clean start off. Apparently the Greek media is amping up the anti-Americanism, blaming us in some tangential way for the drug tests Kenteris and Thanou missed. Hey Hellas-types, it's not like you're the only ones to lose people to drug tests. And it's not our fault Kenteris and Thanou embarassed their nation-state. So--eat our non-drug-enhanced-until-proven-otherwise dust.

Handball, Women's: Your survivors are Korea, France, Denmark and Ukraine. That's all I know.

Field Hockey, Women's: Germany takes gold over my Dutch brethren.

Hey, that's all I got. There was some synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics but even I won't watch those.

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