Unprecedented solo rerun by US women’s relay team against Olympic spirit of fairness

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/8/21 19:38:39

Although the US women's 4x100 meter relay team won a gold medal in Rio Friday, its victory is not without controversy.

Many had not expected to see the US team coming back in the final after sprinter Allyson Felix dropped the baton in the relay.

To the surprise of many, after lodging a complaint that the baton drop was due to being elbowed by a Brazilian runner, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) decided to grant the team an unprecedented redo.

The redo has been regarded by some as ridiculous and unfair. Even Felix herself said it was "really weird" and "running without competitors is just strange."

A netizen on the Washington Post website also commented: "It's a solo game, not a match in the 2nd run. Such a shame!"

"This is the biggest joke ever," another netizen on the Post website said.

The US team knocked China out of eighth place and got into the final. China protested to no avail.

However, any clear-eyed spectator can see it's extremely unfair to reinstate one team at the expense of another when the latter is not at fault.

For starters, bodily contact and physical collisions are commonplace in sports and the US runners can hardly blame another team for their own failure in handling the baton.

The IAAF ruling to allow the US team a special solo rerun damages the reputation of the sports body and will be regarded as a stain on the legacy of the Rio Olympics.

The fact that when the US team wanted a rerun, it got a rerun also provides an insight into the US hegemony in handling sports disputes.

Just like in many other areas, the US believes it can make all the rules and interpret them for its own benefit.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the gold medal that the US women's team has managed to pocket this time is far less deserved than the others, since the rerun drama has tarnished the Olympic spirit of fair competition.

Why are the Olympic Games so popular around the world? Its fairness by treating all athletes on an equal footing is one of the important reasons. Deviating from its rules of fairness would make a medal meaningless.

The article is a commentary from the Xinhua News Agency. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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