And the award for bad sportsmanship goes to….the USA. Again.

Before I start writing this post, I must point out, I do not wish to offend anyone. I am not anti-American. I am not pro-Chinese. I am not a communist. I have no affiliations to either country. I am not suggesting Michael Phelps has used doping in the past. I think Phelps is a phenomenal athlete. I believe in freedom of speech and I just wish to point out the facts as I see them.

Ye Shiwen, a young 16 year old Chinese girl has seen amazing triumphs in London 2012. She won Gold in the 400m individual medley (4:28:43), setting a new world record in doing so. She set an Olympic record in the 200m individual medley semi final (2:06:39), which althougbh superb, it should be noted is almost 3 seconds slower than the world record set in Rome in 2009. Her win has been described as “disturbing” by the Executive Director of the World Swimming Coaches Association. I call it ‘disturbing’ that a man of his stature and position can throw around unfounded accusations like this at such a time.

 

The controversy arose as (1) Ye Shiwen beat an American to Gold in the 400m final and (2) Ye Shiwen had swam her final 50m 0.17 seconds (only 0.17 seconds) faster than American Ryan Lochte did his final 50m in, although it should be noted, she still finished 23 seconds slower than Lochte did.

As I said above, I admire Michael Phelps as an athlete. Clearly he is half man, half fish. He has been absolutely phenomenal in the world of swimming. He lives by the motto “eat, sleep, swim” and I believe it’s hard work and determination that has got him to where he is today. I don’t believe for a second that he’s ever been involved in doping. But please let me point out the facts.

Phelps won 6 gold and 2 bronze medals in Athens 2004, setting 3 Olympic and 2 World Records in doing so. He continued, and actually surpassed, this success in Beijing 2008, winning 8 gold medals, setting 7 World and 1 Olympic Record in the process. Phelps won more medals than any other athlete in either of those games and has won the most gold medals won by any athlete at a single Olympic Games.

I never ever heard a single mention of doping when he was in the process of winning all those medals and setting all those records. No other country accused him of doping. They graciously accepted his win and accepted the fact he is an exceptional athlete. They accepted his talent and his success.

But it seems any time an athlete from any country, other than the USA of course, performs exceptionally well in the Olympic games, and probably most notedly beats an American in the process, the Americans immediately raise suspicions of doping.

Michael Phelps is probably acknowledged as the most exceptional male swimmer in modern day history. Why is so hard to believe that perhaps Ye Shiwen is/will be the most exceptional female swimmer in modern history?

Chinese athletes undergo an extremely strict training regime. That’s why they are so exceptional, like the Soviet Union athletes were in their day. Potential champions are identified at a very young age. Teachers are on the lookout for natural sporting ability and are obligated to report it when found. Young potential champions are removed from school, taken from their homes and their parents and placed into rigorous and extreme training camps where they study, train and sleep in preparation for major sporting events. They are programmed to win. Ye Shiwen has been training since the age of 6. It beggars belief that people will try to take away from the hard work and commitment she has given to swimming for the last 10 years of her life.

It seems to me, as long as the Americans are winning, there’s no problem. There’s no question of doping. There’s no accusations of cheating. I think it’s extremely bad sportsmanship. Swimming is not the only sport where American’s call foul play: Show Jumping, Gymnastics, Athletics…I could go on.

The Olympics is about three values: Excellence, Respect and Value. Seems to me, the Americans abide by none of those values.

Fair deuce to this guy!

Hamadou Djibo Issaka. A 35 year old from landlocked Niger received a wild card to compete in the Olympics. Having never rowed until three months ago, he found himself rowing among some of the world’s most elite rowers. He gave it his best and although he finished in the slowest time ever seen at Olympics rowing (8:39.66), I think the guy has done really really well for himself. Hamadou finished 100 seconds behind the last competitor.

100 seconds is a lot. But considering Hamadou only took up rowing three months ago and he was competing against the top rowers in the world, when you really consider it, 100 seconds isn’t all that long at all.

He should be seen as an inspiration. He never gave up. He kept going and gave it his all. The crowd got behind him. Even the commentator had words of encouragement for him.

A true inspiration.

Well done Hamadou!