07 August, 2017

The preposterous statement of a greek journalist

I was following the quarter-finals of the the men's 100 m when I heard something that left me flabbergasted. It was Gatlin's heat and D. Chatzigeorgiou said, quite seriously, that we should not criticise Gatlin for being a doping offender because he has served his sentence. I cannot imagine anybody in their right mind making such a statement. 

Gatlin has been caught at doping. Twice. Anybody else would have been banned for life. Gatlin is still running and he ended up being crowned world champion in London. (The best tweet I saw on this is one re-tweeted by swift_girl: "Well, he's not the champion the sport wants, but it's the champion it currently deserves"). 

The journalist who made this unacceptable statement is not just anybody. D. Chatzigeorgiou is the head of sports programs of the greek television and he is coordinating the greek tv delegation in London. I have, in the past, considered him as a knowledgeable journalist although I cannot stand his, grammar-school style, elocution. How could he pretend that all of a sudden Gatlin was a respectable guy? A murderer who goes to jail and comes out after he has done his time is still a murderer. This never changes. Serving a sentence means that he cannot be punished for the same thing again, but that does not wash away the guilt.

 The photo is from a parody of Chatzigeorgiou
 interviewing  K. Stafanidi that you can find here

Had Gatlin been of any other nationality but american I seriously doubt that we would have profited ffrom those unusually clement measures. When russian athletes must prove their innocence in order to be able to participate in athletics competitions, Gatlin's culpability was rewarded by what amounts to a slap on his hand. And then M. Chatzigeorgiou admonishes us to show respect to this brazen cheater. (Please don't get me wrong. My criticisms do not stem from anti-american feelings. I would have written the same post had the russian and american nationalities been reversed).

London's public reacted by booing Gatlin, showing that they do get athletics. M. Chatzigeorgiou apparently does not. Is this one sign of todays Greece, a country in its death throes, where people are desperately trying to cling to illusory values? 

Gatlin paying tribute to Bolt at the end of the final

At least Gatlin himself had the decency to pay tribute the greater sprinter of all times, U. Bolt.

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