A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Beijing Olympics, and why I like Bela Karolyi

I'm not gonna lie. I love the Olympics. Winter Olympics, Summer Olympics. It doesn't matter. I try to watch as much as I can, and this summer has been great so far.

Everybody has their opinion about former US women's gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi. I think he's great. When he was a coach, he pushed the girls really hard. He may have been verbally abusive. The verbal abuse isn't necessary, but the harsh reality is that if he didn't push them so hard, they wouldn't have been so great. His most famous proteges, Mary Lou Retton and the magnificent Nadia Comaneci have always come to his defense whenever people have harsh words to say about him. That's good enough for me.

What I love, though, is that he's never shy about criticizing the IOC or the judges. Frankly, they need criticism, and tonight was certainly no exception. After Shawn Johnson was given a very disappointing score after a near-perfect routine on the beam, Karolyi didn't mince his words in an interview with Bob Costas. He sharply criticized the "system", which he says allows for bias, and he called out the Argentinian judge. Instead of hinting at it, he used the word "cheat". Wow. Of course tonight's routines were only for qualifying purposes, but it doesn't matter.

Last night, I watched some of the men's qualifying routines, and I thought that there was some corruption on the part of the judges, or some bias against the US athletes. I talked to some people about it today, but unfortunately, nobody knew what I was talking about. Alexander Artemev had an amazing routine on the pommel horse, but was given a score lower than that of a Chinese gymnast who had a horrible routine on the parallel bars. I was blown away. Furious, even. And it was just a prelim event.

This has always been the rub on events like gymnastics and diving and figure skating. It allows for corrupt judges to influence the results. Unfortunately, there's really no way to fix it.

In the meantime... rock on, Bela.

1 comment:

"Dave Schultz" said...

I'm with ya, I thought Artemev's score was wayyy too low.


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