In honor of the bullshit that is The Olympics, I give you my Top 10 Olympic Scandals!
Despite holding a lead heading into her final skate and delivering what many termed a flawless performance, and despite the fact that Russian Adelina Sotnikova reportedly “stepped out” after landing a triple combination, Yuna Kim had to settle for the silver medal. The Russian, of course, won the gold. Among the anonymous judges was one who was suspended for a year for trying to fix an event at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, while another is married to the head of the Russian Figure Skating Federation. Outraged viewers have started an online petition calling for the IOC to open an investigation into the suspect judging: – change.org urging that the judging be investigated. – which is presently inching toward 2 million signatures. Still, this is the IOC we’re talking about. Good luck with that.
The Olympics has a rich history of really suspicious judging. Take the case of the bantam weight bout pitting Japan’s Satoshi Shimizu against Azerbaijan’s Magomed Abdulhamidov at the 2012 Summer Olympics. The Azerbaijani boxer was knocked to the canvas not once, not twice, not three times, not four times, but FIVE TIMES in the third and final round – AND STILL WON THE ROUND! And the bout. Sure seemed fishy, especially after THIS BBC report: Azerbaijan had paid millions of dollars in an international boxing organization. Perhaps even more surprising than the initial result was the fact that the Japan lodged an appeal – and won. And the judges were punished. Ha ha. Just kidding about that last part.
At the same 2012 Summer Olympics, Chinese boxer Zou Shiming had to endure the boos of the crowd after winning a highly controversial bout against Kaeo Pongprayoon of Thailand. Everyone in attendance thought the Thai boxer should have won – and he would have if he hadn’t been given a two point penalty for some mystery infraction with 9 seconds left to go in the match.
Everybody makes mistakes. Sometimes two. Even three. But when you’re judging a gold medal olympic event, six is apparently a bit much. Such was the case at the 2004 Summer Olympics. With the gold medal in fencing at stake, Hungarian referee Joszef Hidasi made six scoring errors decisions in favor of Italy. How egregious were his errors? So bad that he was replaced at the end of the match. Too little too late though for the Chinese who ended up losing by 45-42.
This one was painful to watch. With a one point lead over her German adversary with less than a second to go in her gold medal match, South Korean fencer Shin Lam was certain to emerge victorious. Unfortunately for her, the clock “stuck”, giving her opponent some extra time, time she put to good use by scoring a touch and snatching victory from the jaws of, well, somebody else’s victory. It was clearly a clock issue and, while the officials talked it over, viewers were treated to an inconsolable Shin Lam seated on the mat, in tears, as she awaited a decision. It finally came, one hour later but, with the extra time, officials were able to make the right decision and reversed the call, awarding the gold medal to the rightful win — Aaaah, just kidding. They screwed her over and gave the German the gold.
At the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, American boxer Roy Jones Jr was on the receiving end of some suspect judging when he lost a decision to South Korean Park Si-Hun in their middleweight gold medal bout, this despite landing 86 punches to Park’s 32. After the match, one of the judges admitted he voted for Park Si-Hun because he assumed Jones had the win in the bag and simply wanted it to look close for the home crowd. Despite investigating and discovering that three of the judges were wined and dined by Korean officials prior to the bout, the decision was allowed to stand.
Allegations of bribery dogged the IOC in connection with the awarding of the 2002 Winter Olympics to Salt Lake City. With several investigations underway, the Department of Justice also got involved. Heads rolled. The members of the IOC were expelled and another ten were sanctioned. By the way, the investigations discovered that the Salt Lake City bribery scandal was not an isolated incident.
Down 49-48 in their gold medal game against the Soviet Union, the USA Olympic basketball team sunk two clutch free throws (the second going in despite the sounding of the game-ending buzzer). The Soviets inbounded the ball to half-court when – they are awarded a time out. Sort of. The Soviet coaches were arguing they’d called a time out earlier. According to international rules, they could not be awarded the time out – but the officials stopped play anyway. Three seconds were put back on the clock. The Soviets inbounded. They put up a shot. And missed! The game was over! Nope. Apparently, the clock hadn’t been properly reset so the Soviets received yet another chance. And scored. Third times the charm I guess. Apparently, team USA’s silver medals still lie unclaimed.
At the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, one judge recorded another trying to fix the results. For some reason, no one was in a hurry to change the dodgy judging system…until four years later when yet another scandal forced their hand…
Two gold medals were awarded in pairs figure skating at the 2002 Winter Olympics, one to the Russians who were the original winners, and another to the second place Canadians after allegations surfaced that the results had been fixed. A French judge claimed she had been pressured to give the Russians higher marks and then, once the scandal heated up, retracted her initial statements.
Continuing our Stargate: Atlantis rewatch with…The Gift!
My past thoughts on this episode (and the last one) here: June 16, 2012: An early start to the day! Days of Stargate Atlantis Past! Letters from Pegasus! The Gift!
“Dream! Double dream!” This episode got off to a good start. Immediately folllowing the tease: “So far, so good.”
And, despite the many talky scenes dealing with some extensive backstory, most of which went over her head, Akemi enjoyed the episode. She was on the edge of her seat for the hypnotism sequence and did like the new resident psychiatrist, Dr. Heightmeyer (“Oh, beautiful!”).
On the other hand, Ford is fast falling out of favor: “Are you sure he’s military? So casual.” This a reference to the scene where Teyla shockingly disappears beyond the seemingly firm wall. As panic sets in, McKay suggests he take a running start. A concerned Sheppard reacts. Cut to: McKay and Ford, McKay equally concerned, Ford sporting a goofy ear to ear grin.
And regarding the Atlantis military personnel in general: “SGA’s army is a little more casual than well-trained SGU.”
She did find it curious that Beckett proved so reluctant to sit in the Ancient chair and initiate it, but in retrospect: “I learned from SGU. Chair is very dangerous.” True dat.
18 down and only 2 to go! Tonight, we roll into Siege I.
So, what did you all think of The Gift?
Today’s entry is dedicated to all the hard-training athletes who were robbed.