Of unsung heroes and underdogs

Now look, long-suffering reader – I know this is excessive but I just have to run it again.

Today I had to cycle into town about the time someone else was cycling for gold and when I got there, they were going on about all the other events.   I dropped in: “Women’s volleyball, yo!”

Deadly silence.  “When’s it on?” someone asked.

“Right now.”

“Not really interested in volleyball,” said one girl.

“Nor am I but I am interested in those girls.”

“Yeah, we know what aspect you guys are interested in,” came a chorus of female voices.   One girl added that her guy was glued to the box during the beach volleyball.

“This isn’t the beach volleyball, this is the real thing.”   Then I explained how the girls had battled to even get there because the government stopped their money in 2010, that some of them had mortgaged their houses, that the sports bodies and government refused to give them proper facilities and they were having to go overseas to train and get match practice and so they came to the Olympics underdone but enthused.

Then they went and won a match a few night’s back.

“Oh?”    Now there was some interest.   I went on to say that this was what the Olympic spirit was all about – amateurs doing all they could to get there, off their own bat and though they were going down to the professional teams, they were fighting all the way.   We really should support these girls.

When I got home, sadly, against World N4 Italy, they’d lost the first set 25-27 which must have given Italy a fright but now our lot were way down and Italy took the second set.   In the third, it wasn’t all Italy’s way until they brought on this 500 game veteran, Piccinini and that was the ball game:

Our girls won some:

They lost more:

… but their enthusiasm and fight remained undaunted:

And weren’t those uniforms fabulous?

5 Responses to “Of unsung heroes and underdogs”

  1. Moggsy August 2, 2012 at 04:26 Permalink

    on balance I guess I am glad they kicked out those 4 badmington teams.

    I thought it was really bad sportsmanship. Whatever it takes ruthless smart but unprincipaled, and, as it turned out maybe not so smart after all. And some teams that really tried get to have a second chance.

  2. Rossa August 2, 2012 at 06:50 Permalink

    There was one interesting comment on Twitter from another Olympic competitor asking “why shouldn’t a badminton team decide to play tactically?” Not in the Olympic spirit but an alternative viewpoint.

  3. James Higham August 2, 2012 at 07:45 Permalink

    There’s a post in that. :)

  4. Moggsy August 2, 2012 at 09:24 Permalink

    Rossa, It is a point, like ok in love… and war maybe? I guess it proves some athletes and see sport more like war. If they loved it they wouldn’t treat it like that surely?

    Playing tactially or gamensmanship.

    I think with players not making every effort to win it is against the rules tho. Just often more difficult to prove than an open and shut case thing like maybe a false start, or taking performance enhancing drugs.

    This time they were so blatant no one who saw could doubt they were breaking that rule and so for being so blatant they got disqualified for breaking that rule. Seems like they asked for it.

    I figure the olympic authorities just had to enforce the rule or be seen to be ignoring such a blatant thing.

    So Playing Tactially? Maybe not so tactially smart when you look at the bigger picture?

  5. Rossa August 2, 2012 at 13:02 Permalink

    Moggsy, I agree with your points. What went wrong here is that both teams playing in the match were doing the same thing so it became very obvious what was going on. And the other pair of teams did the same.

    It has become apparent that the Chinese No 1 team didn’t want to meet their no 2 team before the final, to give both teams a good shot at the gold medal. So maybe you could put that down to tactics.

    Where I have a problem is where teams throw matches due to bets being placed as happened in cricket. Where money is an obvious corruption of the game it makes it a lot worse in my book.

    As for the Chinese swimmer, it may well be that she has taken something to enhance her performance. She may not even know it herself as her coach and handlers may persuade a young girl that what she takes is a vitamin or something similar. She may be 16, but in Chinese society and in the environment she has lived in, she will still be a child in many respects. I doubt she even knows enough to realise all that is going on or be able to say no to it.

    We already have the example of Russian and Eastern European athletes cheating on a widespread scale. And seeing the impact on their lives once they have passed their best is devastating to say the least. Talk about chewed up and spat out by the system! Not that I would blame the individual as they don’t necessarily know what they’ve been given and they are not brought up to challenge the process they go through.

    People like Lance Armstrong, Ben Johnson and our own drug cheats are a different matter as we assume that they must have known what was going on and took an active part in the decision. Again the profit motive rather than a regime like the one in China trying to prove themselves better than they actually are. If you have to cheat, you’ve lost, all ways round.

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