Monday, August 23, 2004

Sour Grapes From Russia

In an interview published Saturday in a daily Russian paper, Olympic silver medalist gymnast Svetlana Khorkina claimed that she knew she couldn't win the gold medal from the outset of the all around gymnastics competition.

Said Khorkina, "I'm just furious. I knew well in advance, even before I stepped on the stage for my first event, that I was going to lose". She continued, "Everything was decided in advance. I did everything right, still they just set me up and fleeced me."

Poor Svetlana, apparently the non-partisan Olympic judges have a vendetta against her. Why is it that judges would single her out for low scores? According to her, "It's because I'm Russian and not American". Gee Svetlana, I didn't realize that the rest of the world bent over backwards to hand favors to the Americans. Last I checked, a good percentage of the rest of the world would pull for anybody but the USA. Apparently this is true everywhere but in the Olympic female gymnastics judges community.

Obviously Svetlana is a very poor loser. Rather than celebrate her silver medal, she chooses to tarnish the games by claiming some outrageous conspiracy. But perhaps she's a really good person, simply frustrated by her performance? Perhaps her quotes were taken out of context? Nope. After the all-around competition was complete, Khorkina stated to reporters "I'm still the Olympic champion". That statement is curious not only because Khorkina is not and never has been Olympic champion in the all-around, but also because the real Olympic champion, Carly Patterson, was sitting next to her at the time. If there is any doubt left about Khorkina's venemous disposition, consider the comments she made later in the Russian daily about Patterson: "I’ve seen a much tougher opposition than her. Let’s see how long she can remain on top".

This weekend, I looked with sympathy at Khorkina, knowing she just missed out on gold in 2000. When the all-around competition ended and she had won silver, she appeared gracious. My family was pulling for her in the individual events, hoping that she'd take home a gold medal after all. But now that Khorkina has shown her true colors to the world, it's clear she doesn't belong on the world gymnastics stage, much less at the top of the Olympic podium.

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