From a Facebook post by Tony Seed on August 19, 2016.
The American womens’ 4X100m relay team that failed to qualify earlier today got a “do over.”
Allyson Felix lost her balance during a baton exchange after making contact with a Brazilian sprinter, but that it did not make her drop the baton; she threw it away like a hot potato. Perhaps she knew they could complain and get a re-run. This team had lost fair and square; the incident is what can be considered a normal hazard of competition and the U.S. team should not have been afforded a second chance. Sport can and should allow for such failures, as it is fair and healthy.
For whatever reason, a “do over” has never been granted to anyone in the history of the Olympics. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) allowed the American team to run a second time all by themselves, against the clock. As a result of their time, the Chinese women athletes, who held 8th place in a virtual tie with Canada and were blameless, were eliminated by this exceptional event.
A level playing field is a norm of modern competition. Was this a political maneuver, featuring one of the highest profile and watched competitions in track and field? The famous rules, criteria and principles of relay provide for disqualification for a team violating the rules. If a team interfered with the American team, then it is the one to be disqualified. We are living, however, in an age during which sports have been commercialized more and more because of great economic powers. Standards and rules have been broken in the Olympics in order to benefit great powers and multinational companies and the super-professional athletes they sponsor. Unfortunately, this has brought about consequences of this sort.
Obama, in a speech at the UN, actually stood up and proclaimed to the world that “the US is an exceptional nation”; the centre of the campaign for the U.S. war presidency is to “make America great.” I guess it helps to be “exceptional”; that way, not only are you allowed “do overs”, but you also get to eliminate your main competition (the Russian Federation) even before the Games begin in violation of due process in order to be “great.”
Winning by any means, fair or foul, the ethos of U.S. imperialism, seems to permeate the US “dream team” and its celebrity athletes. No other country has the conceit and lack of humility to declare itself “dream team,” house them not in the athletes village but on a private luxury yacht, and run up the scores over lesser opponents.
Is it any wonder that so-called American “heroes” of the Rio Olympics – the swimmers James Feigen, Ryan Lochte, Gunnar Benz and Jack Conger – provided false testimonies about them being robbed in a taxi on the way to the Olympic Village? It turns out that nobody came as close as even attempting to rob them. Now these athletes may face charges of making false accusations in Brazil, along with being accused of discrediting the sitting Brazilian President Dilma Vana Rousseff, who has been a prime target of Washington’s intervention in South America and the “legal” coup now underway in that country’s senate.
“Winning is everything, the only thing” aka “the truth is what works” and “the end justifies the means” or “any means to the end’ is the US official philosophy of pragmatism, the ideology of US imperialism, which proclaims itself as “exceptional.” Even when they toss a coin to start a game, their rule is “heads I win, tails you lose.”
In sports, we reply with the motto, “Friendship first, competition second.” This does not mean, as some think, competition last. The defence of the highest ideals of amateur sport is to take the high road of civilization – a stand that benefits all humanity.
Postscript. The American womens’ 4X100m relay team took home the gold medal in the final.