Sunday, August 29, 2004

There's no crying in Taekwondo

One of the matchups in Taekwondo at the Olmypics yesterday was between an American, Steven Lopez, and an Iraqi, Raid Rasheed -- a match with highly political overtones. Steven Lopez won the match 12-0. In other words, it was a good old-fashioned behind-the-woodshed beating [and I know how those go ... I once lost a match 10-0].

Afterwards, this is what Raid Rasheed had to say [per this article]:

I had a problem with my right leg and the last twenty days I didn’t practice. I spent all my time with doctors and physiotherapists. Even today I had a problem with my calf, something that didn’t let me sleep. The American exploited my injury and he continuously hit me on this spot

Uhm, ok, what would he have liked Steven Lopez to do ? Only use one leg as well ? Only hit him on his "good" side ? Taekwondo is a combat sport -- that means you hit people where it hurts. And you don't complain afterwards that when your opponent kicked you, it hurt. That's all part of the game and you'd think that somebody competing at a high-level event like the Olympics would have internalized that.

What irritates me even more about Rasheed's attitude is that even if he'd been fully healthy, I doubt the end result would have been much different. Steven Lopez has been pretty much untouchable for the last 4 years -- he won the gold medal in Sydney in 2000 and in the last 2 world championships, and he won the gold medal this time around as well. In other words, he doesn't suck.

Sore loser, in more ways than one.


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