The Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, Aug.13-29

Discussion in 'ten-forward' started by gerardwil, Aug 11, 2004.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. gerardwil

    gerardwil Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    Posts:
    4,748
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Two days more to the opening ceremony in Athens. For music lovers, watch and listen to our Dutch DJ Tiesto. You will like him and his music.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. gerardwil

    gerardwil Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    Posts:
    4,748
    Location:
    The Netherlands
  3. dog

    dog Guest

  4. dog

    dog Guest

  5. dog

    dog Guest

  6. ssgtmax

    ssgtmax Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Posts:
    385
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ

    Hey, tanx for the info, dog. Added that link to my Favorites list. ;)
     
  7. dog

    dog Guest

  8. ssgtmax

    ssgtmax Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Posts:
    385
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Looks (uniforms) can be deceiving, especially in Olympic competition as it has evolved over the last couple of decades. Here's another glaring example of just how far we've drifted from the "Olympic ideal":


    COLUMN ONE
    Going Away for the Gold

    Dozens of Olympic athletes have swapped nationalities -- seeking greater opportunities, less competition or, some suspect, profit.

    By David Wharton, Times Staff Writer


    It is a quintessential Olympic moment, hundreds of athletes marching into the stadium, drenching the field in the banners and colors of their nations. But when the 2004 Summer Games in Athens begin with this traditional opening ceremony, take a closer look.

    That sprinter wearing a British uniform? He was born and raised outside Sacramento and had never been to Britain until last month.


    The familiar-looking woman with Slovenia? She competed in the six previous Summer Games, winning numerous medals, as a Jamaican.

    And what about the Greek baseball team? All but two of the players grew up in the United States or Canada.

    The Athens Games will include dozens of men and women who have taken advantage of a little-known rule, swapping nations to compete under a different flag.

    Some have fled poverty, looking for a new home with better coaches and facilities. Others have returned to the land where a parent or grandparent was born, where they face less competition to make the national Olympic team.

    Sports officials call the number of athletes crossing borders a growing problem. Even more worrisome are cases in which athletes appear to be motivated by profit.

    Several world-class Kenyan runners have recently moved to the oil-rich emirates of Qatar and Bahrain, where governments hungry for athletic talent pay them handsomely. This has prompted an angry response from the International Olympic Committee.

    "From a moral standpoint, we should avoid this transfer market in athletes," IOC President Jacques Rogge told reporters. "What we don't like is athletes being lured by large incentives by other countries and giving them a passport when they arrive at the airport."

    A Bahraini sports official, who confirmed that his nation's army pays salaries and expenses for two Kenyans, wondered about all the fuss.

    "They don't have a chance to survive in Kenya," Shuber Alwedai, general secretary of Bahrain's athletic association, said in a telephone interview. "How do they live? How do they pay rent?"

    The trend of athletes on the move has grown common enough that the international track and field federation — which has seen more than 100 "transfers of allegiance" in the last four years — has established a working group to consider new rules.

    The issue could prove tricky to resolve, however, because each Olympic sport is governed by separate national and international federations with a mishmash of policies.

    The Olympic charter, hovering above them all, has its own set of regulations.

    Olympic rules state that an athlete "must be a national" of the country he or she represents. For anyone looking to switch, that entails acquiring citizenship. In many cases, such as the U.S. ballplayers, athletes can do so while remaining citizens of their native lands.

    Next comes a waiting period. Newcomers may not represent their adopted country in the Olympics until three years after they last competed for their former country in any major competition.

    Jamaican track legend Merlene Ottey followed this lengthy procedure. Telling the international track federation that she preferred Slovenia's calm lifestyle, she moved to the city of Ljubljana in 1998 and eventually became a citizen. She is now eligible to represent that country in Athens.

    But not everyone waits.

    Many nations are quick to give incoming athletes a passport, even in this post-Sept. 11 world.

    Last month, U.S. runner Malachi Davis — a California native whose mother was born in London — received a passport from Britain and, arriving in that country for the first time, was awarded a spot on the Olympic team.

    Davis had found a way in: Because the former UCLA athlete never represented the U.S. in any major meet, he was starting with a blank slate, IOC officials said. The same was true for the North American players on the Greek baseball team.

    Other athletes have avoided the three-year period by persuading their former country to help them petition for early eligibility. Israel let sprinter Attila Farkas switch to Hungary last year.

    The change did not go as smoothly for Stephen Cherono, a Kenyan steeplechase runner who changed his name to Saif Saaeed Shaheen and moved to Qatar, where, international track officials said, the government agreed to pay him $1,000 a month for life.

    The Kenyans initially consented to the transfer, in part because the Qataris pledged to finance construction of a stadium in Cherono's hometown of Eldoret.

    But Kenya has since grown worried about the so-called "brawn drain," with as many as half a dozen of its top athletes leaving.

    "Of course it is of great concern," said Isaiah Kiplagat, chairman of the nation's athletic federation. "If we allow that, we are going to destroy our athletic society."

    Kenya has now blocked Cherono and two other runners — Abel Cheruiyot and Leonard Mucheru, who moved to Bahrain — from competing in Athens. Alwedai, the Bahraini sports official, declined to say how much Cheruiyot and Mucheru were being paid, but the All Africa news service quoted sources putting their salaries at $1,800 a month plus expenses.

    IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau said: "Our president has been very clear. To see athletes change nationality because they are attracted by money — that's what we want to avoid and keep an eye on."

    Such cases mark a shift in a long history of nation swapping.

    No one raised much of a fuss when several teams enlisted non-citizens at the 1904 Summer Games in St. Louis.

    Only a few European nations had bothered to make the long, expensive ocean voyage. Greece, for example, sent only two athletes and quickly rounded up 13 Americans of Greek descent to fill the void.

    The modern Games were still young and "there was a lack of organization, a lack of standards," said Kevin Wamsley, director of the International Centre for Olympic Studies at the University of Western Ontario in Canada.

    The IOC eventually instituted its nationality rules and, for many years, athletes tended to stay put. But a new wave of movement began near the end of the Cold War, most frequently involving men and women escaping the crumbling Soviet bloc.

    "At that point, we find all different [athletes] migrating to different countries for a number of different reasons," Wamsley said.

    The most visible example was Zola Budd, whose native South Africa was banned from the Olympics because of its apartheid policies.

    Budd, whose grandfather was British, obtained a passport from Britain in less than two weeks and competed at the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles. Running in the 3,000 meters, the barefooted teenager was involved in the infamous tangle that sent U.S. star Mary Decker Slaney sprawling to the track.

    By 1992, with a changing South Africa readmitted to the Olympics, she ran for her native country in Barcelona.

    Other cases of athletes switching countries have been less controversial.

    In Athens, the women's soccer team from Mexico will include several Mexican Americans. They are players who probably would not have made the powerful U.S. team, and they are helping a country that is only just developing its women's program. Similarly, the Greeks have been playing organized baseball for only a few years and went looking for experienced players.

    Still, there can be hard feelings.

    Last month, the Greek baseball coach threatened to quit because his national federation selected so many North Americans — some of them generations removed from Greece — for the team.

    In Britain, newspapers dubbed Davis "the Californian carpetbagger" after an interview in which he could not name the prime minister and did not know where Wales was.

    Even touchier are instances of athletes leaving poor nations. Such countries receive extra funds through an IOC program called Olympic Solidarity, but it isn't always enough to provide adequate tracks, pools and gymnasiums.

    "You've got these other countries that are thin on athletic talent but very wealthy," said Matthew Mitten who, as director of the National Sports Law Institute in Milwaukee, has monitored the situation.

    Given the circumstances surrounding Cherono and the other Kenyans, there is a growing fear that rich nations will cherry-pick all the best talent. "You might even have countries openly recruiting like you see at American universities," Mitten said.

    Such enlistments undermine the archetypal image of a tearful athlete on the medal stand, singing his or her national anthem, watching the flag hoisted aloft.

    Yet Mitten pointed out that no one thinks twice about athletes moving unhindered through other realms. Americans play professional basketball in Europe. Scandinavians sign contracts with the National Hockey League. Soccer players are continually switching countries.

    "The concept of the athlete as a migrant laborer comes into play in this era of globalization," Mitten said.

    And, protestations from IOC President Rogge notwithstanding, there is another compelling argument for athletes being free to move about. It comes directly from the Olympic charter, about 50 pages before the rules on nationality.

    "The Olympic Games are competitions between athletes in individual or team events," the charter states, "and not between countries."

    Olympic nation-hoppers

    Dozens of Olympic athletes will be competing in Athens for countries other than their homelands. The list includes: Home Olympic
    Athlete country country Event
    Yamile Aldama Cuba Sudan Track and field
    Glory Alozie Nigeria Spain Track and field
    Eunice Barber Sierra Leone France Track and field
    Kathy Butler Canada Britain Track and field
    Gao Jun Chang China U.S. Table tennis
    Malachi Davis U.S. Britain Track and field
    Attila Farkas Israel Hungary Track and field
    Zhang Guirong China Singapore Track and field
    Vaho Iagorashvili Rep. of Georgia U.S. Mod. pentathlon
    Aliuska Lopez Cuba Spain Track and field
    Adam Mania U.S. Poland Swimming
    Merlene Ottey Jamaica Slovenia Track and field
    Mary Sanders Canada U.S. Gymnastics
     
  9. dog

    dog Guest

    LOL that's why our metal count is always so low ... our talent is being exported to other countries. :D Time to shell out the bucks Canada an import a few ringers!!! ... Well, then again, maybe if we actually funded our athletes ... we could stop the exodus.

    Hmmm ... if I remember correctly Daniel Nigaly (sp), Wrestling, was a Canadian Import ... So we're guilty too! :mad:

    Oh well, really it is about the athletes, and not national pride. :doubt:
     
  10. big ed

    big ed Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2003
    Posts:
    3,137
    Location:
    Ye Olde New England
    All of the events should be classified as Contact Sports. The US could sent a bunch of NFL linemen to compete in the Syncronized Swimming competition. That should guarantee us at least one gold medal.

    Play on!

    big ed
     
  11. gerardwil

    gerardwil Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    Posts:
    4,748
    Location:
    The Netherlands
  12. slammer_JvA

    slammer_JvA Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Posts:
    1,588
    Location:
    Below sea-level. Safe and sound behind our dikes:
    Great thread, Gerard!

    (You beat me to it, hahaha :D)
    regards,
    slam
     
  13. Marja

    Marja Honestly, I'm not a bot!!

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Posts:
    4,553
    Location:
    In the Vast Fields of My Mind
    Hi all!

    Don't know if it's because I am using FireFox, but, I get no joy at the virtual village site, and I really want to go there!!:)

    Any ideas?

    Marja
     
  14. Cochise

    Cochise A missed friend

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2003
    Posts:
    2,549
    Location:
    North Thoresby Lincs Good Olde England
    I'm with you Max on this one....the whole thing has just become one great Money-Spinner.

    I was kind of hoping I would be able to come and hide away here from all the TV and Radio hype......guess not...

    Just as a matter of fact, I always thought that all Competitors had to be Amateurs (as in never been paid for their abilities)...when did that change?, there must be millions of cash money floating in all directions now so how can the results be unbiased...no wonder the old 'Stickits', 'Sniffits' and 'Shoveits' are in big demand......Ahhh! well, suppose ya can't stop 'Progress'.


    Like you said Max, I don't think anyone knows or cares who's doing what for which Country anymore just as long as they can gather in a few Gongs..it's getting all very sad now...... :D

    Mind you, if you want to really see something done on a shoe-string and turn out to be the biggest farce ever is if we, in the UK get the Ollys in 2012, we still can't get a Train to run on time, we still can't get from A to B in a car because the road plans are obsolete before work even starts, Wembley Stadium is a prime example, they closed and pulled the old one down 2 years ago and 'THE COMMITTEE' is still discussing the plans for the new one and still trying to figure out who will pay for it!!.....God help us. :D :D



    Cochise, :cool:
     
  15. gerardwil

    gerardwil Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    Posts:
    4,748
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    I know you would start up this one, but as I am not seeing you very much lately I was so brutal :D, just in the case you missed the bus.

    Greet,

    Gerard
     
  16. gerardwil

    gerardwil Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    Posts:
    4,748
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    The ceremony has begon.
     
  17. ssgtmax

    ssgtmax Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Posts:
    385
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    "The Games will feature the shotput at the original Olympia site, an event that purposely will have no scoreboard or modern frills."

    --LA Times

    Now THAT is a concept I can get behind! Just the athletes, their (ancient) arena & some spectators. No Jumbotron TVs for the spectators to watch what they're alreading watching, while Coke or Pepsi ads blast away. :rolleyes:
     
  18. slammer_JvA

    slammer_JvA Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Posts:
    1,588
    Location:
    Below sea-level. Safe and sound behind our dikes:
    Hm... I kinda like the 'all-black KIWI-gear' a lot... and, being the patriot I am, also the all-white-with-orange-tie gear from..... you guessed right;) :D

    :D :cool:
    slam
     
  19. slammer_JvA

    slammer_JvA Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Posts:
    1,588
    Location:
    Below sea-level. Safe and sound behind our dikes:
    Time to wear the white one with orange tie tonight!!!
    Yankees beaten (always nice :p) with swimming 4 x 100 metres free-style relay; silver :D
    CONGRATS SOUTH AFRICA; GOLD, a marvelous achievement.

    (And, more important: "Hoogie" seems ready for "Thorpedo"... bring us that OZ-sinker! :p:D)
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2004
  20. big ed

    big ed Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2003
    Posts:
    3,137
    Location:
    Ye Olde New England
    Hey, Puerto Rico defeated the US Basketball team today quite handily. When US player Iverson was asked why they lost he replied "the other team played better than we did today". DUH!

    big ed
     
  21. gerardwil

    gerardwil Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    Posts:
    4,748
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Most remarkable for me today: Holland defeated the Gold Medal favourite Russia in Volleybal.
    Worst thing happened: Leontien van Moorssel brought to hospital after she fell in women roadcycle.
     
  22. slammer_JvA

    slammer_JvA Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Posts:
    1,588
    Location:
    Below sea-level. Safe and sound behind our dikes:
    Well, they did; didn't they? Dream-on team:p

    It's about time the u.s.a starts learning a most important virtue:

    HUMILITY...

    (and not only sports-related....)

    Thank you, Puerto Rico; congratulations :)
     
  23. big ed

    big ed Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2003
    Posts:
    3,137
    Location:
    Ye Olde New England
    Hey, Slammer

    Well, I really don't feel humbled or humilliated. I most always root for the underdog in any contest. We still may have a chance in Syncronized Swimming.

    Cheers, big ed
     
  24. slammer_JvA

    slammer_JvA Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Posts:
    1,588
    Location:
    Below sea-level. Safe and sound behind our dikes:
    Hear hear :) that's the spirit
    (By the way: No offense intended! )

    regards Ed,
    slammer
     
  25. Detox

    Detox Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2002
    Posts:
    8,507
    Location:
    Texas, USA
    Let's avoid the political commentary please, gents. Criticism of nations and their people belongs in forums other than Wilders.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.