I want to be honest about Brazil… their liberal politics on the international scene has made me especially sick the past few years, especially in the environmentalism arena. So holding the Olympics in Rio has made me a little sour in the stomach despite the fact that it had been a lifelong dream for me to travel to Brazil.
Something happened during the Rio Olympics that made me sit up and think that maybe they aren’t so blinded by liberal agendas and political correctness after all (at least the Rio Olympic committee). Recently, they made a sportsmanship call at the Olympics that surprised me to say the least. I’m not sure if you heard of the Egyptian athlete who refused to shake his opponents hand after a Judo match because his opponent was Israeli. It is tradition and respectful for Judo opponents to bow or shake hands at the beginning and end of a match.
Well Islam El Shehaby was not having any of it. When opponent Or Sasson extended his hand, El Shehaby backed away and shook his head, trying to make Middle Eastern politics the center of Rio Olympics. When the referee called El Shehaby back and obliged to him to bow; he refused and left and was loudly booed as he exited.
Here is where it got interesting… I assumed that everyone (I mean liberals) is so sensitive about Middle Eastern mood and attitudes that it would just be ignored. The International Olympic Committee gave El Shahaby a “severe reprimand” for his behavior following the round. El Shahaby received pressure from Islamist-leaning and nationalist voices in Egypt before the Rio Games to withdraw, but he went anyway.
The IOC, which set up a disciplinary commission to investigate the incident, said the Egyptian’s conduct “was contrary to the rules of fair play and against the spirit of friendship embodied in the Olympic values.” The Egyptian Olympic Committee also “strongly condemned” El Shehaby’s actions “and has sent him home,” the IOC said.
Good job IOC and Rio for raising the importance of sportsmanship. Competing and treating each other with respect is what the Olympic games is all about and I’m glad under the current political climate we haven’t lost that!