Thursday, August 2, 2012

Fair or Foul: Olympics Version

I've been glued to my TV since the start of the Olympics and I've seen quite a bit of drama unfold. I want to throw two things at my readers to see what type of feedback I get from a couple of Olympic stories:

Jordyn Wieber
This recently-turned 17-year old gymnast was one of five young ladies who gave it their all to qualify for the team gold. However, Jordyn was dead-set on being an individual gold medalist as well. To do so, she had to be one of the top two performers on her team to qualify. She was third.

Once the results were read, Jordyn immediately buried her face in her hands and exploded into tears. NBC had multiple cameras trained on her as she dealt with her disappointment of not qualifying for the individual medals. After NBC interviewed the top two ladies on the U.S. team, they sent a reporter to interview Jordyn, just minutes after her finding out that it would be 2016 before she would have that opportunity for an individual medal again.  NBC had no concerns for her feelings. They only wanted to fuel their ratings with "the agony of defeat."

My verdict: I'd be firecracker-hot if NBC got all in my kid's grill after she experienced a disappointment like that. And don't get me wrong. I think kids should learn what it's like to be disappointed. It builds toughness and character. But, on national TV? Foul.  But, I give major props to Jordyn for handling the interview better than some older professionals would have.  She supported her teammates and kept everything moving.  Had that been my daughter being humiliated on national TV, then I would have been coming down from the stands with an ax handle.

Becky Hammon
This 35-year old WNBA star was born and raised in South Dakota. She spent her college years at Colorado State University before playing professionally with the New York Liberty and San Antonio Stars.  Everything about her background screams American. However, she was (once again) not offered an invite to participate on the U.S. Olympic basketball team for the '08 games in Beijing. So, what did Becky do?  She joined the Russian team. Yes, that's right.  Becky gained citizenship with Russia and is currently representing them in the '12 Olympic games as an opponent of the United States. But, she's just living out her dreams, right?

My verdict: I think it's a punk move. I think that her mindset that reflects a lot of under-40's in this country: you're not good enough to play with the big girls, so you take your ball and go somewhere else. What happened to earning a spot in sports? Why do people go elsewhere to try and get a chance instead of out-performing the person in front of them? I've seen parents fraudulently enroll their kids in other school districts just to find somewhere they have an opportunity to play.

If you're not good enough, then you're just not good enough. In my opinion, what Becky did, is definitely foul. The Olympic Committee should pass a rule that determines your home country as the country where you've spent a majority of your life.

Is it fair or foul for NBC to stay in the face of a minor after losing out on what could have been an opportunity of a lifetime?

Is it fair or foul to change countries in just to participate in the Olympics?

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