Inept officiating is too often an Olympic problem
Of course they got hosed.
Anyone with two eyes can see that the women’s football team was robbed in the loss to the Yanks in the semifinal, done in by inadequate officiating in the biggest game of their lives.
Everyone wrote it (Cathal’s piece is here) and the true shame of it is that there’s nothing anyone can do.
I’ve often said in private conversations that the refereeing in team sports when you get to this level is, basically, atrocious.
The game has become too fast for some of refs – and I’m talking basketball and football because it’s what I know best but I presume it holds true for field hockey, water polo and volleyball – and the players are simply too good.
I put the blame solely on the world governing bodies, FIFA for football, FIBA for basketball, because they are the ones who nominate the officials, they are the ones who decide who gets to do the games and the pick too “fairly” too often.
They take refs from countries where the game is emerging and not that important and plop them down onto the biggest sporting stage in the world. It’s stupid.
And then when they fail, either blatantly as she did last night or subtly like you see time after time after time, nothing happens.
Now, I don’t know if last night’s ref is a veteran or a rookie, highly regarded or an afterthought. But there can be no debate that she was overwhelmed by the moment and choked.
Until these global organizations start spending more money and time on referee development – and, most important, get past this idiotic notion that anyone can ref any game and put the best they’ve got on the biggest game – travesties like last night are going to keep happening.
Truly a shame.
And a sham.
The bar here in the press centre is named after Steve Parry, a legendary, now deceased Reuters sports editor and that’s a fitting tribute.
But if you’re Canadian and you hear that name …
Who doesn’t like a little Journey in the morning; hope Armstrong and Devlin are reading.
I know it’s a legitimate sport and the athletes are wonderful but you cannot have wrestling without turnbuckles, can you?
This was an Olympic moment I’ll never forget, a very cool few minutes that came about entirely out of nowhere.
Had to go cover cycling yesterday – and if you thought my trampoline knowledge was lacking, you can only imagine how lost I was trying to decipher women’s omnium cycling – and it was a hoot.
The mixed zone (where we do our interviews) is pretty much right in the middle of the track!
So we’re down there talking to Tara Whitten’s coach (I didn’t ask a single question so as not to prove my ignorance of the sport) when all of a sudden we have to stop chatting.
That’s because not 15 metres away was the medal ceremony for British men’s sprint gold medalist Jason Kenny. All the pomp, all the circumstance and there’s little old me, smack dab in the middle of it. Was going to grab some flowers to send home but though the better of it.
But standing in the middle of a track, seeing the British flag raised not 20 feet away and hearing the crowd bellow God Save The Queen was as cool as it gets.
After far too long an absence, got back to The Ship Tavern last night for a few – the Tribute cask ale was as good as I remember – and of course there's a conversation with the barkeeper.
She’s born in Sweden, now a Londoner, the conversation got around to Mats Sundin and the pucks (I know, I know, a true slip by me) and whether she’s a fan of the game.
Seems the answer is yes.
“They actually fight and I like that.”
Despite that, I’m still going back there at least one more time before we come home.
This is why R. Doolittle, Cub Sportswriter, is the Rookie Of The Year.
We’re back from The Ship having one in the lobby and there she is, over in the corner, just back from watching the football match in a pub, typing away.
Anyone who’ll sit in a lobby bar and sip water while writing a story about watching a game in a bar can play on my team any day.
So there’s this collection of buildings, with an open-air patio-like thing at the top just beside the basketball venue here at the Olympic Park.
I’ve been told it’s an NBC compound and I figure maybe that’s where the decide how to screw over viewers by tape-delaying everything so that writers and tweeters can scoop the network any old time we want.
Then I find out that, no, that’s not it.
It’s actually the Today Show set and I’m figuring if I can sneak in there today on my way to the women’s game, that’d be a heckuva good Olympic moment.
Might cost my credential but it’d be fun.
I’m thinking 10 or 12 hours of men’s basketball on quarter-final day might be a wonderful way to spend a Wednesday.
And it’ll keep me away from sports I know nothing about. You’d appreciate that, I bet; am thinking the bosses would, too.