The use of drugs is forbidden for all. Or so it appeared after all the new items referring to a zero tolerance for the use of any substance prohibited by the Olympic Committee responsible for drug testing. Can I simply ask the sporting world as to how the US goalkeeper Hope Solo satisfied the authorities about the use of a drug which was prescribed for the control of her menstrual periods, but had a prohibitive substance, unknowing to the star keeper? She is still with the US women’s team in London. Although retaining incidents over the years could easily be forgotten as things happen so quickly, I distinctly recall the year 1994 during the preliminary round of the FIFA World Cup, the universal football genius of that era Diego Armando Maradona was banned instantly when he followed his doctor’s orders and took a prescribed medicine, not knowing that the medicine contained a banned substance. Instantly, the Argentine was banned without too much explanation and took away his ultimate glory just after he produced a brilliant goal against Greece. Surprisingly, no one was alarmed about same, because Maradona was already branded as a user of illegal drugs. I am in favour of the use of illicit drugs and will always be, hence the reason why I cannot understand the difference between the two incidents.
A reactionary response to this action by the Olympic Committee can easily bring into question the respect which they have shown to one and not the other. Hope Solo is an American idol, whether it is Dancing With the Stars or stopping balls from entering the goalnet, she has been chosen to protect. Maradona, despite being arguably the greatest footballer of all time, may only have been forgiven if the said incident had occurred amidst his home fans in Buenos Aires. However, there was much more to enjoy in London, especially by the American fans. Ryan Lochte may have pleased his family, close friends and supporters by reducing the attention given to Michael Phelps. The pain of defeat is clear, especially after four years of recognition as the major success in the pool moving to repeat the feat and write indelibly into the record books. Lochte had other ideas and will now try to keep his teammate in the limelight for the other races. While the early events have brought the Games to an alltime high, thanks to China’s performances off the diving board, and Serena Williams smooth passage past a high ranking Serbian Jelena Jankovic, the performances at other sporting disciplines have not yet reached maximum quality, maybe because its just early days.
Our own George Bovell 111 seemed comfortable and confident in his opening race. It must have brought a thumbs up from his friend and coach, Minister of Sports, Honourable Anil Roberts. But we all know that the path to a final in swimming is more difficult than most other events, where each event calls for maximum effort and the swimmer’s best time. Bovell has had the experience in two previous Games since Athens 2004. However, his failure to make the final 16 is indicative of the vast improvement which swimmers across the world have made within the last decade. We now have to hope that he is still able to keep within the final eight for his pet distance. The British athletes seem to be having difficulty in understanding why many of the stadia for certain events are not filled to capacity. Some blame it on the business sector who have purchased tickets and did not give them to their employees. What they do not realise is that the only sports which are followed by the maximum number of fans are soccer, track and field, boxing, and more recently, cycling. Those who cherish the boats along the river Thames will get their share of fun by sitting at various points and watch their county’s team battle for medals.
Soccer has been getting reasonable crowds, but the majority of tickets for the semifinal and final are sold out. No surprise there!. Their second problem stems from the fact that their contingent of athletes have been in Portugal putting the finishes on their readiness for the track and field events. However, the latest report is that eight of their athletes are injured with different levels of injuries. The management of the team is disappointed over the number of injuries. I will be the same if, in this day and age , trainers and coaches, assisted by physiotherapists, plus medical doctors, have failed to keep these athletes off the massage table. They have but five days to their events and the British are faced with some uncertain performances from this group of athletes. After two days, only the Chinese and the Americans can smile and pat themselves on their backs for a medal haul of eleven for the Chinese and eight for the United States. Today may be better for some of the other countries.