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The Olympics is full of Heroes and Villains

Any sporting event throws up it’s share of heroes and villains, but an event like the Olympics seems to provide an endless supply of them. I’ll start with a few of the villains.

Some athletes came in as villains, while others have gained the moniker through their actions, inaction, or words. Freestyle skier Jason Begg-Smith is an easy target, and deservedly so. He essentially abandoned Canada for Australia so he could continue with his pseudo-legitimate internet adware business. Even his adopted country dubbed him the “spam king”, and there have been many allegations of much more malicious uses for the software he fronts. All the millions he has earned didn’t put a smile on his face at the medal ceremony. It’s hard to ignore the irony of him abandoning his country for money, then losing to a Canadian at the Olympics.

Some do feel he is unjustly vilified, but I can’t agree.

Evgeni Plushenko, however, created plenty of controversy before, during, and after his silver medal winning performance in mens figure skating. Within minutes of landing his trade-mark quad jump, the former gold medal winner put out the sound bite of the games to date, essentially stating that if his competitors weren’t landing quads, they weren’t real men! He has continued to say that, and he has some pretty influential people on his side. Canadian skating hero Elvis Stojko agrees with him, but has not stated it as colourfully! I won’t get into the debate about whether skating skill versus jumping skill is what separated the men from the women, as Plushenko puts it, but he certainly has not endeared himself to many, and is not exactly living up to those Olympic ideals.

Finally, in a sport that looks like roller derby on ice, the Korean short-track skating team has actually managed to upset people with their tactics and absolute disregard for their fellow competitors. As well as bumping, shoving, and grabbing like women at a shoe sale, the Koreans have also been accused of working together to impede opponents, which is apparently illegal in the sport – Formula 1 auto racing should take note. How bad do you have to behave to be singled out in a sport where someone like Bonnie Blair is revered? She virtually used WWE tactics to get her medals, and was proud of it!

I’ve deliberately avoided the pro athletes, it’s not their fault, is a big grey area, and a slippery slope. The IOC themselves would also make too easy a target. Any other villains worthy of mention?

Part 2 will cover the heroes – and was much harder to narrow down.

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  1. February 24, 2010 at 11:48 am

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