The Real Olympic Spirit
The Lebanese judo team showed up at its practice venue and discovered they would be sharing the facility with another team.
What do you think they should have done?
1. Walk over and introduce themselves in a friendly manner in keeping with the "Olympic Spirit?"
2. Ignore the other team and concentrate on practicing for their events.
3. Run to the IOC and London organizers and demand that a partition be put up between the two teams.
Oh...did I mention the other team was the Israeli judo squad?
The Lebanese judo team at the 2012 London Olympics refused to practice next to the Israeli one on Friday afternoon, and a makeshift barrier was erected to split their gym into two halves.
According to several Hebrew sports sites, the two teams were scheduled to use the same gym and mats at London's new ExCeL center for their final preparations. However, the delegation from Lebanon would not train in view of the Israeli team, and insisted some sort of barrier be placed between them.
Organizers accepted the Lebanese coach's demand to separate the teams, erecting a barrier so that the Lebanese team wouldn't see the Israeli one.
The incident was the first political one between Israel and other countries during the 2012 Games, which don't formally get under way until Friday evening's opening ceremony. It happened only days after the Iranian delegation head stated his nation's athletes would compete with Israelis, a statement which was quickly rejected by Tehran, which tried to suggest that his true sentiment was lost in translation.
As I point out in a post I wrote for PJ Media's Tatler last night:
If the Lebanese don't want to practice next to the Israelis send them home. Why enable their hate by giving in to their demands? Talk about a gaffe: the IOC and London Olympic organizers have managed to spit in the face of the Olympic ideal, give in to haters, and insult the Israelis - all in one afternoon. Makes Mitt Romney look like the soul of discretion.
There's no excuse for this. The Olympics should be above this kind of petty hate. The reason it isn't says more about the people who run the "Olympic movement" than it does about the high minded ideals of the games that never quite seem to be realized.