Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fools' gold

[above: Ohno, Lee, and Celski after their silver, gold, and bronze, respectively. Lee avoids touching Ohno, because he's got smugness cooties.]

Okay, time for a little redux on this.
  • The K-blogs tend to be going overboard with how much "the Koreans" are going overboard about Ohno cheating his way or lucking his way to a silver medal, when in fact it was 이호석 who most Koreans are pointing their fingers at. Or giving the finger, whichever you prefer. 
  • On a related note, bashing most or all Koreans for the un-sportsman behavior of anyone on the Korean Olympic skating team is, well, something that Americans would rightly complain about when/if most or all Americans were bashed based on the actions of, say, American leaders, some other famous American, or Ohno himself. 
  • Lee Jungsu won a gold medal and no matter how much he thinks Ohno is a punk who brings a bad aura to his competitions, he should just suck it up. You won the frickin' gold, after all, and you're going to be a hero in South Korea for the rest of your life. Let the press worry about what a punk Ohno is.
  • Ohno is still a punk
  • A whiny punk, in fact.
  • Lee Dong-sung, back in the 2002 Olympics, was unsportsmanlike for throwing down the t'aegŭkki when it turned out he got disqualified after coming in first in Salt Lake. I'll excuse him, though, based on the undoubtedly high level of adrenaline pumping through his veins just then. Some will say I'm a hypocrite, because I'm not willing to accept the same excuse for police officers who shoot suspects they've chased into an alley, but come on, there's a difference between throwing down a flag and putting twenty-five bullets in someone carrying an ice cream cone you thought was a rocket launcher. 
  • If I'm understanding this right, Ohno was a punk for skating around with the American flag after he had not just won the gold. (My understanding is that it's the gold medal winner that does that, not the silver or bronze medalists, but someone please correct me if I'm wrong.) That was Lee's chance to shine, not Ohno's. Ohno can save it for when he actually breaks the record, which will hopefully happen with a deserved gold, not an accidental silver. 
  • Despite that last sentence, a silver medal is a silver medal. Ohno is a good skater who came in second across the line and he deserves the medal.
  • I still wish it had been Celski who had gotten the accidental silver. He's not the punk Ohno is. 
  • 이호석 (Lee Hosuk) lost and screwed over his countryman by his own last-minute greed for a silver over a bronze. There's a metaphor in there somewhere. 
  • The rivalry between 이호석 and the countryman he crashed into is a bad reflection on inter-school rivalries that are deep throughout Korean society. This, not Ohno, is the thing people in Korea are more likely to be talking about. Do a word search for 이호석 and 바보 (idiot). 
  • Respectfully, I think that Brian should fix this post, because it still suggests that Yonhap and the Korea Times invented a quote ("nothing turns up in English") about Ohno "hoping that there was disqualification of the other athletes who were racing ahead of him," when I and others have pointed out articles where Ohno is directly quoted as saying, "At the end of the race I was hoping for another disqualification kind of like what happened in Salt Lake City." Since that particular item was a big part of the overall theme of the post that the Korean media is engineering anti-Ohno sentiment, that mistake should be corrected and/or addressed in some way, methinks.
    • Brian has his hands full with that comments section, though, so I'm going to cut him slack on this one. 
    • Pawikirogi, you should do the same. Brian's a good guy who calls them like he sees them — and I can't fault him for getting flustered about the Korean press, some members of which are criminally negligent or hopelessly unprofessional — but he works very hard to present some good stuff about the Chŏlla region (and sometimes the rest of the country) that wouldn't otherwise get the notice of the anglophone K-blogs. Lay off him, please. 
  • No matter how much Korea bashers like to depict short track as an insignificant sport that no one except Koreans cares about, Apolo Anton Ohno is being treated as one of the American heroes of the Olympics and has long been treated as a star athlete. He's big in America (and he's all over my browser's online ads), and that means that someone in the US is paying attention to short track. 
  • It's always at least a little foolish to use the concomitant bad behavior that stems from "We wuz robbed" sentiment as an indictment on an entire country, state, region, or people. 
  • Ohno is still a punk who plays dirty. It taints his wins, methinks. Not as bad as, say, McGwire's steroid use, but still. 
  • Can we get some figure skating going already?
[above: Female skaters are so much more fun to look at than the males.]


  1. Kushibo,

    Let me set one, minor point straight. Not all of us who bash short track are also Korea bashers. Personally, I think the sport is ridiculous, more akin to roller derby (constant contact, pushing, shoving, whining) than sport worthy of the Olympics. I also reserve a withering contempt for figure skating, synchronized swimming and to a lessor extent, gymnastics floor exercises. I find most "sports" that are scored subjectively to be highly problematic and the source of most controversy in these games. Sports that are decided by points or timed (short track's only redeeming feature) are far more entertaining to watch and, in my mind, more legitimate. To reiterate, short track's problem is the sport itself and perhaps the whiny, little bitches who are attracted to it; American, Korean or Martian.

  2. Douglas wrote:
    Let me set one, minor point straight. Not all of us who bash short track are also Korea bashers.

    Oh, I know. And although I don't entirely agree with you about short track and those other events in the Olympics, I certainly wouldn't put your objections in the category of "depicting short track as an insignificant sport that no one except Koreans cares about."

  3. "이호석 (Lee Hosuk) lost and screwed over his countryman by his own last-minute greed for a silver over a bronze. "
    I disagree completely. Well, he did lose, so not quite completely. The three Korean skaters were teammates but only as a manner of speaking. I don't think there is a team plan to promote one team member ahead of your own interests in these races (I think there is in the Tour D'France, but I don't think there in speed skating). If Hoseok thought he was faster and had a clear way by, he had to try. It's an individual sport, and any competitor in it needs to try for his/her best time or placing.

    He made a mistake and cost himself, his 'teammate' and Korea medals, but he was not necessarily wrong to try.

  4. Kwangdong Brian, I see your point, and if I gave the impression that they should have been working in unison for the first, second, and third spots, then that's my bad.

    He made a mistake and cost himself, his 'teammate' and Korea medals, but he was not necessarily wrong to try.

    He was wrong to try if it was clear he couldn't do it, and to an experienced skater (which he is), it would seem that he didn't have the gap between him and the person in front nor the time left to pull it off.

    Given the same tight conditions, would have have made the same move if there were two or three laps left instead of zero, or would have have thought it too risky? I'm guessing it's the latter. I stand by my observation. I appreciate the comment, though.

  5. I just noticed this post, and I do indeed have my hands full a bit with the comments. Nothing I can't handle, but something I choose not to handle, by letting them play out, and allowing---on that thread, not on others---people a relatively free hand.

    But I addressed in an update your comments regarding the comments in the Post article. Thanks for following up on this story and for being attentive to what I and others are writing. I don't happen to agree with you here, but I do appreciate your thoroughness.


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