Friday, August 3, 2012

Controversies at the 2012 Olympic Games

For those who haven't been catching up with the Olympics games, I thought I would summarize some of the controversies that has happened thus far

1. Swimming: Singapore's Joseph Schooling's Banned Swimming Gears

One of Singapore's promising athletes, swimmer Joseph Schooling, was told minutes before his 200m butterfly heat that part of his swim gear were not permitted for use. In particular, the gear in question was his swim cap and goggles manufactured by swimwear brand TYR. Joseph and the officials claimed, among other things that checks were made prior to the competition to ensure that the gear used are legit, and that this episode has affected his focus greatly. Eventually, Joseph came in last during the heats, with a timing that is three seconds slower than his personal best. An official complaint has since been filed to the International Olympic Council.

2. Table Tennis: Singapore's Wang Yuegu Outburst After Quaterfinals Lost

Singapore's Table Tennis player, Wang Yuegu lashed out at the umpire after her lost to Japan's Kasumi Ishikawa during the Woman's Singles Table Tennis Quaterfinals. From the news reports, it seems she was unhappy that the umpire was a German, and claimed that there was a conspiracy behind to select the German as the umpire and thus causing her to lose points. Details of how exactly the umpire, being German, caused her to lose points were very sketchy with members of the Singapore Table Tennis team refusing to comment further on the incident.

3. Badminton: Deliberately Losing  Matches

8 badminton players from China, Korea and Indonesia were booted out of the competition for deliberately throwing a match. Basically, in order to prevent fratricide (by playing against a team from the same country), as well as to prevent playing against a stronger team, the teams deliberately tried to lose the match in the round-robin format of play. However, the way that they were trying to lose was simply too obvious with serves hitting the nets and rallies of no more than 4 hits, that it prompted the umpire to come out to serve them a warning. Subsequently, they were booed off the match and a formal complaint was launched against these teams. The teams were subsequently disqualified following a formal disciplinary hearing from the Badminton Federation.

The first match between China and Korea of this episode can be seen here on Youtube (Scroll to around 55 min)

4. Fencing: Last Second, Second, Second, Second, Second...

South Korean Fencer Shin A-Lam and German Fencer Britta Heidemann are tied neck to neck at 5-5 for a chance to advance to the gold medal round in the Woman's Individual Epee (Fencing). In the last second, the umpire deemed that Shin A-Lam has committed a foul but the timer has run down to zero. By protocol, the umpire had to reset the timer to one second (when the foul is suppose to have occurred) and then resume the match.  Upon restarting the match, Britta Heidemann was said to have landed the winning touch and was declared the winner. The issue was that the timer did not actually count down when Britta Heidemann made the attack, it was stuck at 1 second for quite a while before it ran down to zero, eventually. So there was no way to tell if Britta Heidemann hit Shin A-Lam before or after the second. Eventually, the judges ruled in Britta's favor, prompting the South Korean team to lodge an official complain, and for Shin A-Lam to stage protest for more than 45 mins, refusing to leave the piste and crying in tears.Check this link (source: Buzzfeed Sports) for the screen capture.

5. Women's Football: National Flag Boo Boo

Apparently, some intern never do staff check, and his/her boss never double check, causing a boo boo at the  Woman's Football match between North Korea and Columbia. Instead of displaying North Korea's flag when introducing the players of North Korea, the electronic display showed, of all the flags possible, the South Korea's flag instead. This prompt the North Korea players to stage a protest and left the pitch. Subsequently, the error was corrected, but from some news sources, the North Korea team refused to play until special permission was given from Pyongyang to continue with the match. Eventually, the Olympic organizing committee apologized for the incident and blamed it on the video producer, and Britain's PM David Cameron had to come out and say it was "an honest mistake". Maybe the video producer should learn from this Australia paper on how they distinguish between the two Korea nations.

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