After a very good weekend showing by Canada at these now-winding down Athens Summer Olympics, Kyle Shewfelt got royally stiffed by the gymnastics judges in the vault competition. We all know the story by now; Shewfelt hits his two jumps well, yet mysteriously Marian Dragulescu of Romania somehow manages to win the bronze in spite of falling in his second jump.
Far be it for Canadians to complain about lousy judging at the Olympics (cough, cough, Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, figure skating, cough), but why does this stuff keep happening? Politics isn’t supposed to be part of an apolitical event like the Olympics last time I checked, yet in sports that seem to require judges like figure skating or gymnastics, it always creeps in sooner or later. Figure skating will be watched closely at the 2006 Winter Games in Torino for the judging nonsense of Salt Lake City; gymnastics needs a serious rethink in terms of its’ own judging practices because, honestly, it’s stunning that Shewfelt lost the bronze based on two very good vaults.
Credit goes to Shewfelt – he’s a total class act and he’s our only gold medalist so far. He’s suddenly made these games not a total loss for Canada. Speaking of which, the glorious Perdita Felicien is oh-so-close to the gold medal in the 110-metre hurdles. Keep your fingers crossed – Felicien deserves the gold completely and like Shewfelt, she’s a total class act. Besides, since Gail Devers is out after an ill-fated comeback attempt (no disrespect to Devers intended, just that an athlete should know when to quit while you’re ahead) the field is pretty thin after Felicien.