August 14, 2012

Spectral Olympics

Hatched by Sachi

A specter is haunting the Olympics, the specter of -- PC police?

Ever since I can remember, the Olympics has always included controversy. During the cold war, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was notorious for favoriing the Eastern bloc of Communists and other totalitarians. The basketball game between the United States and the Soviet Union at the 1972 Olympics is a classic example: Wth the U.S. ahead by one point at the end of the game, Olympic officials allowed the Soviets to play the final three seconds over and over, until they finally got a basket and won the game on the third attempt.

The idea that the Olympics have ever transcended politics was always a joke -- think of the East European "female" shot-putters, the figure-skating scoring scandas, and synchronized swimming shenanigans; but in the XXXth Olympiad, some attacks against athletes were not due to national rivalries but from the athlete's own country. These individuals were targeted for their political and religious beliefs, and in one case, guilt by association: the German Olympics Committee didn't like the boyfriend of one of their female rowers.

John Fund lists a few examples of outrageous political discrimination against athletes by their own countries' Olympic commitees this Olympiad:

Greek triple-jump champion Voula Papachristou was expelled from her country’s Olympic team last week after she tweeted a tasteless joke. In a reference to a recent outbreak of West Nile virus in Greece, she said that with so many Africans living in Greece, the mosquitoes carrying the virus would be eating “homemade food.” She was promptly booted for making racist comments “contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympics movement.”

At first, this was reported as an overreaction to a dumb joke; we later learned that Papachristou was a supporter of Golden Dawn, a right-wing, anti-immigrant, Greek political party. It's clear the real reason she was kicked off her team and out of the Olympics was her political opinion; the tweet was just an excuse. Fund points out that whatever what one feels about Golden Dawn, "it is a legal party...[it] has 18 members seated in the Greek parliament."

Then there is the case of Nadja Drygalla, a rower who was pressured to leave the German Olympic team last Friday after a TV station reported that her boyfriend was Michael Fischer, who had been a candidate for the far-right National Democratic party in a regional election last year. Some also claimed Fischer had been involved in disruptive protests against immigrants.

Drygalla insists that she dose not share the political opinion of her boyfriend. Even Fischer himself has left the party. None of that mattered to the German Olympic Committee, and Drygalla was forced off the team.

Lessons learned: If you are on friendly terms with anybody connected to a right-wing European party, you yourself are guilty by association. (You may recall similar tactics used by a previous political party in Germany's past.)

But, even if Drygalla herself was a party member, so what? What is she guilty of? Where does the Olympic rule book state that you cannot represent your country if your politics disagrees with the ruling elite's?

Clearly, neither Greece nor Germany believes in freedom of speech ("Free speech for me but not for thee"); but the United States does -- allegedly. Yet even in Barack Obama's America, a disgustingly similar injustice has occurred.

Track and field US Olympian Lolo Jones has been harrassed via a vicious Twitter hate parade regarding her sex life, or rather the lack thereof: Before the games, Lolo Jones "outed" herself... as a Christian who doesn't believe in sex outside of marriage.

That prompted a barrage, possibly orchestrated, of savage attacks. One of the lesser tweets, from a twit called JayAbe2, reads, "Lolo lost? Good. Go have sex now girl, STFU and then you’ll win". Another reads "Poor lolo, just have sex and done."

But it's not just twits on Twitter. Despite finishing fourth in the 100m hardle race -- a respectable acheivement one would think -- her critics have attacked her relentlessly for not getting a medal. (Really, try running yourself, you bunch of couch potatoes!)

But even before the race, the New York Times printed a hit piece on Jones, accusing her of seeking popularity due to her looks rather than her atheletic ability.

After sneering that Jones has "only a slim chance of winning an Olympic medal," the Times tears into her:

Jones has received far greater publicity than any other American track and field athlete competing in the London Games. This was based not on achievement but on her exotic beauty and on a sad and cynical marketing campaign. Essentially, Jones has decided she will be whatever anyone wants her to be -- vixen, virgin, victim -- to draw attention to herself and the many products she endorses.

Women have struggled for decades to be appreciated as athletes. For the first time at these Games, every competing nation has sent a female participant. But Jones is not assured enough with her hurdling or her compelling story of perseverance. So she has played into the persistent, demeaning notion that women are worthy as athletes only if they have sex appeal. And, too often, the news media have played right along with her.

Had Jones not confessed to being a Christian, and worse, a virgin, would the newspaper have tried so hard to rip her to pieces and possibly adversely affect her performance? We can all be the judge of that. But note that the Times completely ignored Jones' undeniable acheivements:

She was the first woman ever to claim back-to-back World Indoor titles in the 60m hurdles while setting an American record in the process. Jones finished her career at LSU as a three-time national champion and 11-time All-American, where she ranks among the top-three all-time at LSU in both the 60m and 100m hurdles. Jones was named Gatorade Midwest Athlete of the year and holds the 100mH record for the state of Iowa.

So Rush Limbaugh gets condemned by the entire liberal establishment for joking that a woman who wants to sleep around and make the "government" (us, that is) pay for her contraceptives is a hooker (and we're her pimps); but "America's newspaper of record" can mock a woman for being a Christian and a virgin, essentially accusing her of being a coquettish sex kitten for looking sexy, but refusing to hook up... and nobody on the Left sees anything wrong with that. So much for radical feminists being "pro choice!"

Notice overall point: In each of these instances, a female athlete paid the price for virture, or for speaking her mind, or for her boyfriend's past political stances. Somehow, the men seem to be given a greater flexibility by liberals and feminists for politically incorrect opinions.

In the bad old days, the IOC allowed Communists, Fascists, and other tyrants to participate on an equal footing with the free countries, though the Left was generally "more equal" than the Right. But now, in the bad new days, Olympics officials, commentators, reporters, and fans don't even want to allow the Right to participate at all, even if that eliminates some of the best competitors. For when it comes to a choice between harassing a "right-wing" team member off the team, and winning Olympic medals, the joy of hate wins hands down.

Hatched by Sachi on this day, August 14, 2012, at the time of 2:11 PM

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