I am so thrilled to tout this next nation – first GOLD medal (and a bronze to boot!) and this is the first medal for the Cote d’Ivorie (Most of my readers will know it as the Ivory Coast) since that glorious Games of 1984 where most of the Soviet bloc (except Romania) boycotted the Games and kept their dope and semi-pro athletes home. We won these Games going away that year with 83 gold medals and 174 total.
But Ivory Coast is personal, too. I was once on the Model United Nations team at Wright State University (Now WSU Model UN is a powerhouse today at the National Model UN but the 1980 team did not win an award.
But we were the Ivory Coast and I was the representative on the Human Rights Commission (now the infamous Human Rights Council) from the Cote d’Ivorie.
I wheeled and dealed on that committee to first become Group of 77 (the so-called “nonaligned” bloc – don’t all laugh at once – but it was essentially the developing nations that were not directly under the orbit of one of the superpowers) bloc leader by making two deals: One with a girl from another part of the world (Asia or British Africa – I made her bloc secretary) and another with the delegate from Brazil (who could not be bloc leader or secretary because the Commission was investigating the disappeared persons in Argentina and Brazil had a few of its own to worry about!) that he sat on my left and was de facto bloc vice president.
Since I had resolution drafts already drafted on each issue, we could have short debates and then force the issue (we have an overwhelming majority in the HRC but the Commission used to at least operate by consensus if they could) using my resolution as a draft to spur discussion.
Two of my resolutions actually passed and then they both passed the Economic and Social Council (which the Cote d’Ivoire did not sit on) as well.
So Ivory Coast is a bit personal – they were one of the economic wonders of black Africa at the time but after their founding leader (President Houphouet-Boigny) died there was a terrible civil war. Now they are starting to come back ecomonically.
It is a wonderful nation and I am glad to tout them. Hope to go there someday – maybe on a missions trip.
So we salute not one but two national heroes – Cheick Sallah Cisse who won gold in the men’s taekwondo 80 kg weight class (about 176 lbs) and Ruth Gbagbi in women’s taekwondo 67 kg class (about 136 lbs). Here and here are two African news reports on the gold medal win. The Ivorian athlete won in the last few seconds with an effective kick on the British athlete:
World number four [Lutalo] Muhammad, 25, led 6-4 but was hit by a reverse turning kick with the last action of the final.
GB were aiming for their second taekwondo gold of the Games after Jade Jones’ -57kg triumph on Friday.
“I’m so distraught,” said a tearful Muhammad after his defeat.
“I was so close to becoming Olympic champion and making my dream.
“I don’t want to cry but I am so sorry to the people that stayed up to watch. I let them down at the last second. This is so hard.
It ain’t over until it’s over as Yogi Berra once is reputed to have said.
So pursuant to the Sanders Olympic Policy, I salute and congratulate Cheick Sallah Cisse and Ruth Gbagbi for their medals and their future national star status. Here is the national anthem for the Republique de Cote d’Ivorie. Now time to do the victory lap with the Ivorian flag!