Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Olympic controversies

• The whole lip-synching thing. I find it hard to get that worked up about this, even though I feel like I should. But I do think the girl who was rejected as "not cute" is super cute and would have loved to see her at the opening ceremonies. I hope both girls aren't hurt or upset by this.

The Spanish basketball team photo. Disgusting. Horrible. Here's the thing: Just because something is not deliberately meant to be racist, doesn't make it OK. Racist words and gestures, however innocently meant, carry with them the baggage of deeply ingrained racist attitudes. This is why Americans care so much about words and gestures, and sometimes get mocked by others as "PC" for it. Reminds me of an experience I had in Paris where I had to try to explain to a French guy I knew why pulling back the corners of his eyes and mimicking buckteeth to imitate someone Asian was incredibly offensive. This was in 1994. Have racial attitudes in Europe really not advanced at all in 14 years?

• Gymnast Chellsie Memmel competed on a broken ankle in the team final (shown last night). She broke it last week but "did not divulge"--to the media, anyway, since presumably her coaches and teammates knew. Scariest quote:
“I was completely fine with it because at the ’06 worlds she finished with her shoulder completely torn,” Jeanelle Memmel said of her daughter competing on a broken ankle. “That’s just what she does for the team. A little broken ankle wasn’t going to stop her. This is the Olympics. She could have done more if the team had asked her.”

• And in other news of much less importance, here's some feedback I emailed last night to NBC in extreme annoyance. If you agree, you should email too, and maybe someone will put a muzzle on Hicks:
To: nbcolympicsfeedback@nbcuni.com
From: Me
Re: Olympic swimming coverage
I've really enjoyed the swimming coverage so far [always lead with something positive, that's my motto], but have been bothered by the commentators' (especially Dan Hicks) consistently talking over the start of every race. It's not only distracting, it's disrespectful to the athletes and to the importance and gravity of every start. Please consider having the commentators stay silent for the two to three seconds it takes for the swimmers to take their marks and dive into the water.
[name, email, city]

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7 Comments:

Blogger TeamWinks said...

I think the "rejected" little girl is just as beautiful. It's a bit silly on the host country's part.

8:51 PM  
Blogger MoMo said...

I was actually disappointed tha this happened with the two girls-but at the same time I wasn't surprised it happened.

10:07 PM  
Blogger sara said...

I too thought the little rejected girl was cute. I missed hearing about the photo from Spain - wow...that is not good at all, yikes! That was really rude to make those faces.

10:36 PM  
Blogger Eva said...

I have heard a lot about how racist sports can be in Spain.

Oh, China. Losing face over the effort to give good face.

4:54 PM  
Blogger MsPrufrock said...

Yeah, Spain has some serious racism issues. They are forever getting in trouble over racist chants and gestures during football matches, including the coach of their national team making an EXTREMELY offensive comment about a black player from France. He never apologised, and amazingly no action was taken.

As you have mentioned, just because the intent is not to be racist, doesn't mean what is said or done isn't racist. It's bizarre that people don't get that.

6:35 PM  
Blogger caramama said...

I'm with you on all these issues. I hadn't really heard much about the Memmel thing! I knew she had a broken ankle and did the bar routine, and I had wondered why an alternate didn't go in. I seriously can't believe her mother said those things. Especially now that I have a daughter! I just don't get it.

9:53 PM  
Blogger kbreints said...

I had noticed that they were talking over the swimmers start-- ans was puzzled because it did not even seem like it was the begining of the meet.

I may send that email!

4:10 PM  

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