Monday, August 25, 2008

Controversy corner

Fidel Castro won’t be happy.

Despite repeatedly calling on Cuban athletes to “fight to the last drop” on behalf of “the Revolution” at the Beijing Olympics, the semi-retired dictator will be seriously disappointed by the end result.

This time around, the Cuban team is taking home 24 Olympic medals, which is pretty good for a poor, smallish nation, but not good enough for Castro, who has spent decades using sporting victories primarily as a propaganda tool.

Of the 24 medals won in Beijing, only two are gold, compared to nine gold medals in Athens four years ago.

Even more disturbing for the regime, Cuban boxers failed to win a single gold medal – the first time this has happened since 1968. And both the high profile women’s volleyball team and the baseball team were also roundly defeated.

This all means that Cuba fell from the 11th spot on the official medal tally to number 28, behind countries such as Jamaica and Brazil.

Still, all those hard-working Cuban athletes dutifully dedicated their medals to Castro, as Cuban athletes have been "encouraged" to do at every Olympic Games since the 1960s.

As for the official Cuban media, well, they have recently described Castro as “the director of the team", an "unbeatable gladiator" and an "exceptional strategist, promoter and prophet” of Cuban sports. So, who knows what they will come up with next ...

So far, no commentary from the old man himself, but no, he won’t be happy.


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