Wednesday, February 24, 2010

South Korea's Lee Seunghoon wins gold in men's 10,000-meter after Dutchman disqualified

As Ohno supporters might say, a gold is a gold (as I said of Ohno being a good skater who deserves his medal, "a silver is a silver"). Lee Seunghoon [Yi Sŭng•hun, 이숭훈] was four seconds behind Sven Kramer, but he did come in ahead of everyone else (setting a new Olympic record) and he avoided being disqualified.

And just as Kim Dongsung threw his country's flag down in 2002, the disqualified Dutch skater "threw his goggles down in disgust."

From the AFP:
Korea's Lee Seung-Hoon was gifted the men's 10,000m speed skating gold medal on Tuesday after Dutchman Sven Kramer was sensationally disqualified after coming over the line first.

Russia's Ivan Skobrev took the silver and another Dutchman Bob de Jong won the bronze.

Kramer, who won 5,000m gold last week, was the hot favourite and he lived up to his billing by powering around the Richmond Oval more than four seconds faster than Lee in the gruelling race.

He thought he had won but a lane infringement with eight laps left saw him disqualified, ending his dream of completing the first golden treble by an Olympic speedskater since Norway's Johann Olav Koss in 1994.

Kramer, the 23-year-old son of two-time Dutch Olympic speedskater Yep Kramer, threw his goggles down in disgust and was a forlorn figure as Lee celebrated an unexpected victory.
Kramer also blamed his own coach:
"Usually, I don't want to blame anyone else, but this time I can't do anything else. I wanted to go on the outer lane then just before the cone Gerard shouted 'inner lane,' I thought he's probably right and went to the inner lane," he said.

"At first I thought my skates passed the cone on the wrong side, I will be disqualified. Then I noticed in the stadium something was wrong.

"You have to decide in a split second. Afterwards I should have gone with my own thoughts, but I was brought into doubt. This really sucks. This is a real expensive mistake."
There may be some truth in what he's saying, so I'm not about to write that off as unsportsmanlike activity. As I said before, the biochemical rush going through these skaters when they finish provides reasonable cover for their post-race tantrums:
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.
No doubt some will see hypocrisy in Lee happily accepting this gold medal, but I don't think it is, for a variety of reasons. First, Lee Seunghoon was not (to my knowledge) one of those saying Ohno was undeserving. Second, Lee Seunghoon was not instrumental in Mr Kramer getting disqualified in the way that Ohno was instrumental in getting Kim Dongsung disqualified so he could win the gold in 2002. Rather different cases, methinks.

Of course, I have yet to see the race, and I don't know if I would recognize a foul by Lee if he'd made one, but from what I have to work with now, I don't think there's hypocrisy.


  1. oh, i'm sure brian will latch onto this like a rabid dog. congrts to mr lee for a job well done.

  2. Pawikirogii씨, I don't know if you read this post, but I think you are unduly harsh on Brian. For reference, I'll reprint what I wrote there:

    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.

    Everything I say there is still true. Brian is not being chased off and the K-blogs will be worse off for his departure. I agree Brian can be harsh sometimes and I don't agree with all of his conclusions — in the recent Ohno case I think he is seeing a bad-faith media attempt to whip up anger against Ohno when I think they're merely reporting on what happened and explaining to English-language readers about many South Koreans' hatred of Ohno in the past.

    But he is entitled to his opinion and it's not as if it comes from nowhere. The Korean press can be very nationalistic, stupid, or even counterfactual at times (and so can the press in other countries) and that makes his knee-jerk position against the Korean press somewhat understandable.

  3. As always, you're very quick to report a Korean gold, Kushibo. =)
    And you're right, you can't compare Lee winning this gold vs Ohno's act that led to his gold in '02. By the way, when I read the online news, I thought Kramer was being a bad sport when he was quoted as blaming his coach and throwing his tantrum...but when I saw the replay on NBC, it definitely WAS his coach who was yelling at him to go to the other lane and Kramer even had to step over the cone to move into the inner lane at the last minute. But I do think he could have at least PRETENDED to be a mature Olympian, especially when the cameras were all around him. Oh by the way...on the NBC recap of this event, absolutely NO mention of Lee getting the gifted mention at all.

  4. i've got zero respect for him and the problems he has in korea are self created. he takes a shit on everything koreans find important and so he shouldn't be surprised that he's being run out of korea.
    there's something called respect for the people who give you a job, a house, money to spend, and a girlfriend. instead, he simply showed contempt.

    i don't care if his shit is 'well researched'. it's the slant that bothers me. he deserves everything that happened to him.

    that's just my opinion, kushibo씨.


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