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Notes on the Games: Phelps/King/Yuanhui/Douglas…

A few musings on the Games as I recover from a long meteoric (sorry for the pun) night and the Perseids were best right after I wrote the Fiji column about 415 or so.

First, isn’t Michael Phelps amazing?  Swimming, one of those amateur sports where there does not appear to be too much sports imperialism, seems to have a certain excitement and drama.  Phelps v. Lochte last evening and Phelps had a great evening coming in first again.  22 gold medals.  Wow.  I also was impressed with the Purpose Driven Life story about Phelps.  PDL is a great book – I’ve used it for personal devotions and one on one discipleship.  While Phelps will make no one forget Tim Tebow, we have to remember that each embraces faith in different ways and God is pleased with sincere worship of Him (assuming it is directed through Jesus Christ our Lord) so you do not have to so demonstrative about faith in Christ.

Then we have the opposite viewpoint:  Lilly King.  I am not sure what to do with King.  She is as much a symptom as the problem.  Here is the WPost coverage and here is the NYTimes report.  The comments at the WP are more jingoistic than at the Times but the headlines say it all:


American Lilly King outduels new nemesis Yulia Efimova to win 100 breaststroke


In the Olympic Pool, Contempt for Drug Cheats Rises to the Surface

I don’t like either one.  My headline would have been:

Lilly’s unsporting behavior in victory raises concerns

We do demonize Russia for things they did (invade Ukraine and Crimea) and things they might have done but are unproven (killing reporters or hacking the DNC emails).  In light of the Magnitsky Act, these issues are serious and we should be concerned.  When we demonize a whole nation, we encourage antics like King’s.

It does concern me also some of the comments at the WPost article.  Here’s a few:

chrisjiii59 says this:

The entire Russian team should’ve been barred from competition. They engaged in gov’t sanctioned doping and should’ve been punished. I’m sure that some palms were greased to change the decision to not ban them whole scale.

bsr111 wrote this:

Whether she cheats like a Russian or like one of own non-state sanctioned dopers, Efimova should be stigmatized. Because she’s a cheater. If clean athletes want to clean up sports, the only way to do it is to make it unpleasant for those who get caught.

Try this short debate between starling1, Palika and Corey Bayliss:

Sounds like FINA is as crooked as FIFA and the IOC. The entire Russian team shuld have been banned.


Geez, what has the world come to? Now FINA, FIFA, even the IOC don’t do the Americans’ bidding.


Hey, don’t let the facts get in the way of your obvious hatred is the US. Even if that makes you look like an apologist for a repeated cheater….

I guess Corey Bayliss thinks I hate USA too.  abqcleve added this to the comments:

Highlight of the Olympics, so far, for me. Great job, Ms. King, dealing with a very challenging situation. Loved the psych job in the ready room!
 And also:
Huh? “Sore winner”??? That’s really funny….. Remember, as Flo says, “Sprinkles are for winners.
I could go on and on.  (BTW, since Flo from the Progressive Insurance commercial came up – let me add 2 cents on that.  I once liked Flo because she was attractive but not the traditional model beauty but they made her mean and petty and now I can’t stand that character.)  And this is the Washington Post.
But if you want to see a wonderful interview and graciousness – try this one with the Chinese swimmer [Fu Yuanhui] who did not know she had won the bronze.
The interview started with how Yuanhui bested her semifinal time – she was thrilled – that’s an Asian record!  How did you do it?  I don’t know.  You were only .01 off silver.  My arms are too short, the swimmer replied.  Then…remember all this time the interviewer knows Yuanhui tied for bronze but she did not! In response to the question – something like what do you want to say to whoever the reporter was covering (I assume PRChina)…
What I want to share is that even though I did not win a medal,” Yuanhui begins, before the broadcaster clues her in and a huge smile breaks across her face. “Well, then I think that’s not bad at all,” she says.
I loved it.  I hope Fu Yuanhui wins gold next time.
Finally, Gabby Douglas and the national anthem.  She does not need my help in her defense but I think it the national anthem thing was much ado about nothing.  I took it as tiredness and perhaps concentration on the event before her.  I might have forgotten the hand over my heart, too if I was winning a gold medal.
I’ll take Douglas’ word for it – no protest intended.
Let me tell you I’d rather meet Gabby Douglas than the entire men’s basketball team any day.  And not because she’s attractive (she is – very) but she truly represents the USA.  Hard work.  Years of sacrifice.  Not a pro athlete.  No sports imperialism in gymnastics.  In contrast, men’s basketball was picked in a smoke-free room from NBA athletes some of who were going for multiple Games, coached by a coach who had coached before, and no one else got to try out.  Nope.  Sorry.  Don’t buy it.  Wearing USA on your uniform does not mean you truly represent the USA.


About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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