Mixed messages

First things first: This morning, as most of us north Americans were waking up safely and comfortably in our homes, our south American neighbors in Chile were suffering the aftermath of a devastating earthquake. My sincere and heartfelt thoughts and prayers are sent their way this morning.

I knew it! Just minutes after watching the exciting 500 meter short track final last night, one in which there was a controversial finish, and one in which we may have watched one of the truly great short-track skaters of all time, Apolo Anton Ohno compete for the final time I cringed as Chris Collinsworth interviewed Apolo backstage. Why, you wonder, did I cringe? Well, for the life of me I cannot understand, other than the obvious reasons, why the media always seem to take the low road. Obviously Apolo was disappointed in his loss, which was a direct result of his disqualification. I cannot be sure, but I truly do not believe that Apolo would have addressed the Canadian judge DQ ruling had Chris not asked. Way to go Chris. So, this morning on Yahoo news I get to see a little something like this:

“By lashing out at the judges who disqualified him from the 500-meter final, Ohno ended his Olympic career much as it began in 2002: with controversy” (as submitted by Martin Rogers, a Yahoo staff sports writer).

Did anyone else see the interview? Was Apolo not directly and deliberately asked about the judges disqualification decision by Collinsworth? He didn’t “lash out.” He almost matter-of-factly stated that he felt the ruling may have been a result of it being a Canadian judge in a huge race involving two of his countrymen. We all acknowledge that while judges are generally impartial, and expert, they are human. Based on how he answered the question I think that’s what Apolo was intimating. I give Apolo the benefit of doubt. Bad choice of a response by Apolo? Probably. “Lash out?” Strictly a matter of interpretation as far as I’m concerned.

“Ohno, who could have skated into the sunset simply thankful to be adorned with yet another medal-gaining Olympic Games, instead offered remarks that were unfair and unfounded, that came across as an attempt to take some sheen off a truly golden night for Canada. “Friday was Canada’s night. Apolo Anton Ohno turned his swan song into a disappointing afterthought.” (Martin Rogers, Yahoo Sports)

I think it’s safe to say that Apolo truly was, overall a “gracious loser.” Did you not see him offer congratulatory handshakes to each of the medalists immediately after the race, and the disqualification decision? In fact, in the same interview with Collinsworth he acknowledged and gave credit to his competitors. Instead, we’ll focus on an almost off-handed, throw-away remark he made to Collinsworth, when deliberately asked? Come on, people. We’re better than that. From what I witnessed, Apolo’s post-race behavior did not indicate any disrespect, nor actively attempt to detract from Canada’s well-deserved and glorious moment. I think we do owe Apolo, a classy gentleman, a chance to “skate into the sunset” after all he’s done for the sport throughout his career.


~ by William Maloney on February 27, 2010.

7 Responses to “Mixed messages”

  1. Your sensitivity to the Chilean people is so like you, always thinking of others.

    I did watch the interview with Apolo and I totally agree that the interviewer led Apolo to respond. Thank you for pointing that out to those of who did not see the interview. You seem to be one to shine the light of truth. Keep shining.


    • Carole Ann, thanks. I am passionate sometimes to a fault. Sometimes I knee jerk respond without fully thinking everything through. It’s a double-edged sword I suppose. Thanks for your thoughts as always.


  2. Yea I watched that race and your right, had Chris not asked the question, Apollo I don’t think would have ever publicly blame his loss on the Canadian ref. However, I am surprise there has been no controversy on the call. When they showed the replay over and over, you will notice that the Canadian who won that race too had a hand on the racer in second. I feel that disqualifying Apollo was a correct call, but feel the same fate should have been bestowed upon the Canadian who too had a hand on another racer. All in all though, it was a great race and I think, even tho he disqualified, Apollo ended his Olympic career with a great race and it was because of him the relay team got a medal.


  3. Bill, was so excited when I saw your blog post because I too was bothered by the interview and the back lash. Apolo is a favorite of mine because he seems so gracious, outside his sport. I watched as he made sure to shake the hands of his competitors and although he wasn’t pleased, he still had a smile on his face. He acknowledged that he had benefited, in the past, from similar situations.

    It never fails to amaze and confound me that the incredible feats of these athletes is never enough, for the media. Why can’t watching a young man do extraordinary things, at 3 different Olympics, be enough?


  4. good read – I actually had not seen the interview – thanks for sharing this……insightful


  5. Yes, but it is not actually controversial. You can search the Old Testament from end to end, and even if you take a maximal view of passages like the “I know that my redeemer liveth” bit in Job, you’re still left with a very small selection over against the vast mass of the Old Testament in which the question is not even raised.


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