It has been a bit of a different experience enjoying the Summer Olympics on Brazilian television. And I have really liked it. Even though all the commentary is in Portuguese, it is not that hard to follow what they are talking about. Even the Brazilian commentators get excited about Michael Phelps and seem a little in awe (like the rest of the world) at how amazing the US men’s basketball team is.
These Olympics have held their fair share of controversy. Brazilian Judo team member Rafaela Silva was disqualified in a match that she was clearly winning. The DQ came from a side judge and not the referee, which only added to the controversy. In what had to be one of the craziest incidents of these Olympics, South Korean fencer Shin A Lam appeared to have won her match against German Britta Hiedemann and moving on to the Gold Medal match. Instead, the judges ruled that the clock had malfunctioned and put more time on it allowing Hiedemann to score and be declared the winner. Lam’s coaches filed an immediate appeal which was denied. In an effort to try and correct their mistake and apease Lam, the International Fencing Federation later offered her a “special medal for aspiration to win and respect for the rules.” This is kind of like the participation trophies that every kid in America gets for playing a sport. Needless to say, Lam suggested a few other places where they could put this “special medal.”
Olympic boxing has long been a favorite sport of mine. That is until the Olympic Committee came up with the current scoring system. Don’t get me wrong. The old scoring system was bad. I didn’t think it could get any worse. I was wrong. Here is a brief summary of the new system: “The new system merely counts up all the judges’ registered punches and gives boxers a score out of 10 after every round, with the score based on an average of three of the five judges’ scores, and with no time limit on recording hits.” That clears things up, right?
There have been some very exciting, competitive matches. The decisions, though, have created a lot of controversy. Aside from a horrible scoring system, Olympic fighters also have to contend with terrible officials. Referee Ishanguly Meretnyyazov of Turkmenistan was sent home (hopefully this means fired) for his mishandling of a fight. And when I say “mishandling” I mean it looked like he had been slipped a briefcase of US dollars before the fight. I am more than a little curious how much experience a boxing referee from Turkmenistan is going to have to begin with. Another boxing official, this one from Azerbaijan, was also sent packing for violating the Olympic code of conduct. Another boxing referee was suspended for five days for a questionable decision he made to disqualify a fighter from Iran. That is three Olympic Boxing officials fired or suspended in the first week of the Olympics!
And I realize that I have not mentioned gymnast Gabby Douglas or the US women’s basketballball team. I think these American girls could probably beat some of the mens basketball teams that showed up for these Olympics. And, NBC is in hot water because they televised live a swimsuit failure in Women’s Water Polo. I can’t wait to see what is going to happen in week two!
I haven’t even mentioned why I think the Brazilian television coverage is so much better than NBC’s.
What have been some of your favorite moments from these Olympics?
To be continued….
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