Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ara Abrahamian - Swedish Olympic Wrestler Loses Bronze Medal

Let me start out by referring back to my previous post in which I referred to Ara Abrahamian’s actions in the Olympic wrestling medal ceremony as a disgrace to Sweden. I still believe that. I am very surprised by the reaction that post garnered. I had no idea the response would be so overwhelmingly in Ara Abrahamian’s favor. I am very much against what he did. I was not impressed and don’t believe his actions had any place in an Olympic medal ceremony.

It seems that most Swedes don’t agree. And that’s fine. But Ara Abrahamian’s actions were a disgrace to Sweden. Unfortunately, the bubble Sweden finds itself in has led to an attitude of self importance that doesn’t allow them to see that the rest of the world isn’t impressed.

After the actions by Ara Abrahamian in the Olympic wrestling medal ceremony caused so much uproar the IOC has made a decision. He was stripped of his medal. The one he left on the mat anyway.

Good. He didn’t want it anyway. This was the right decision and a strong decision. And to all the Swedes who are going to get fired up. Calm down. He knew exactly what he was doing. He had to have realized there would be consequences. And he said it himself. He didn’t want the bronze. He wanted gold so the Olympics for him were a failure.

He has also been stripped of any recognition as an Olympic wrestler at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing/Peking. Also good. His actions were a disgrace to the Olympics, the Olympic spirit, and his fellow Olympians, not least of who stood on that same podium with him.

Check out the articles here:
Ara blir av med bronset
Abrahamian fråntas bronset
Ara Abrahamian fråntagen medaljen
Ara Abrahamian kan bli avstängd på livstid
Filas markering mot Abrahamian
Abrahamian stripped of bronze medal
IOC strips Abrahamian's bronze medal for tantrum

I think it’s important to note the last headline from ESPN, which refers to it as a “tantrum,” which is exactly how the rest of the world views his despicable actions. Unfortunately, the bubble Sweden finds itself in has made it impossible to make that realization.

Either way, I am pleased with the verdict. It is a fair verdict, and kind of expected to be honest. But either way, Abrahamian is wiped from the Olympic record. As it should be.

Luckily, because Sweden took another silver medal, this time in men’s tennis on the doubles side, Sweden still has a total of three medals from the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

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  1. Okay, after having leaving Sweden just a few days ago (and won't be back for a year), this is awesome. I haven't seen much in the online media about the Swedish opinion regarding Aras actions.

    And actually, I was thinking the same, that the decision about taking the bronze medal away from Ara is fair.

    Here in the U.S., I've been asked at least three times if I'm aware of what our Swedish wrestler did. I said I thought the Swedes would condemn Aras actions as I did, but apprently not.

    Well, again, thanks, this is so nice to read when the media can't "mirror" the ongoing debate (at least I haven't seen much on Svenska Dagbladet or Dagens Nyheter, maybe Aftonbladet has been the one taking up this thing?)

  2. Was nothing wrong with Ara's reaction imo :)

    I see OS as a competition. Even if it includes big big parts, i dont care about apperance or politics.

    You are supposed to have proper judges, you are supposed to treat every sportsman equally and not laugh at his face like that judge did, when he demanded an explaination. And if anything you are supposed to be open about it, have a proper discussion about it. Not just discard it.
    Tell me, in all the articels about Ara doing the wrong thing, did any of em insist of saying that the judge that judged the game did a right decision?

    I'm abit fed up about people changing subject. I'm pretty sure that Ara was tired of the wrestling organisation, he just didnt care anymore and proberly without not that much thought he insulted it the best way he could think of. And i dont think its a disgrace.

    I say, if u are to argue against what Ara did. Then argue that either the judge did something by mistake, or that what they did was right.

    In any sports, the more amateur u go the less proffessional people will help YOU, or make you follow the rules. If u are in the OS and got(dont know how many) maybe 6-7 judges) who are all are making sure that there is fair action going on, it shouldnt be possible what happened. Not without chaos.

    So as i said, either argue that it was an easy misjudge to make, or that the judgement was righteous. If that's the case, then it would be unsportsmanlike to make a big big fuss like this about it.

    Dont argue from one point of view, take all of em in. Without fair judges, u might aswell stop alltogheter in a sport like wrestling.
    Do you think a hockeygame where one team had hockeyclubs and the other one had tennis rackets would be just? would it be allowed to forthgo? all the way to the final.

    MAKE SURE the sport is fair before u choose the best man/team in the world, else its just stupid.


  3. @magnus – you’re missing out on quite the show then being gone. Enjoy your time away.

    @anonymous (braus) – you’re right. The Olympics should have the best of everything, athletes, judges, stadiums. Everything. And by all accounts the judging was questionable. But there has been no proof of any sort of corruption.

    Regardless of this, as I have stated, I believe his actions to be a disgrace. The medal ceremony was a separate entity from the semi final match.

    But you’re right, you would hope that what goes on in the Olympics is fair and partial.

  4. Ingen bryr sig om någon är imponerad eller inte för jag menar vi är ju en sån "liten bubbla" ändå och vår egen självbelåtelse räcker ju för att vi ska känna oss nöjda över oss själva.

    Han har rätt att visa sin ilska över ett felaktigt beslut som troligen beror på korrupta domare och kostade honom en finalplats. Det är domaren som dömde ut Ara som är en "disgrace to the Olympics" inte Ara. han gjorde rätt som tod upp och vågade markera mot ett fleaktigt beslut och mot en äcklig och korrupt domar och ledarkultur inom brottningen. Ta reda på avd du snackar om innan du snackar om det och säger att han är en skam för Sverige och OS. Jävla nolla

  5. @Pelle – you seem to be in a good mood what with the name calling and all.

    And you’re right he does have the right to demonstrate against what he believed was a poor judgment. He did not have the right to ruin it for the other athletes involved. There were three other men who stood on that podium. But Abrahamian seemed to forget that He was too self involved to take that into account.

    And I know exactly what Im talking about. Just because I don’t agree with you doesn’t mean I don’t know whats going on. That argument keeps popping up. And it’s just not a good one.

    I believe what he did was a disgrace to Sweden. A disgrace to the Olympic spirit and the other athletes competing. You don’t.

  6. olympic spirit. good sportsmanship, that is what is in question here. shouldn't all athletes at the olympics show that? what a shame if all of them turn into spoiled brats if things don't go thier way. that is NOT the olympic spirit! sports aren't always fair, life isn't always fair. what about the tremendous opportunity just to be a part of the olympic team. that is something very few in the world get to experience. no one should spoil that for any one else, no matter what!

  7. pelle, personal opinions are part of our free world, we don't need to be name calling just because someone else does not share the same opinion. you must be fun at dinner parties if you name call everytime someone disagrees with you!!

  8. @anoynmous - well said. thats what makes the olympics so special.

    @anonymous - also well said. he seemed like a fun person to hang out with really.

  9. in my opinion what Ara did was the only way to get people to notice and care about the state of the wrestling federation, no one cared for his protests so really how was he supposed to act? If he hadn't showed up to the ceremony people wouldn't still be talking about it! He knew what he was doing like

  10. you focus so much on the price ceremony without taking into account the reasons!!!I can understand why the rest of the world sees is as a tantrum, but as you say we live in a bubble we don't care, we're proud that he was brave enough to do something about the injustice he suffered.

  11. @anonymous (I think this is the same comment that just got split up somehow) - he did get people to notice. and there is something to be said for that. However, I don't think it was the right way to go about it.

    You say that no one woul dhave been talking about it had he chosen another action. But we don't need to look to far back in history to see that that is not the case. In 2002 in Salt Lake there was a huge judging scandal in ice skating. A Canadian couple, by all accounts were robbed of the gold medal. They manned up and accepted the medal. Took their silver at the ceremony. Following the ceremony though work was done. And it was proven that there was corruption and the couple were ater awarded a gold medal plus the judging system for ice skating was overhauled in hopes of avoiding a similar situation. so clearly, walking out of the medal ceremony and leaving your medal behind is not the only way to get results.

  12. HairySwede in what planet do you live in? I'm a Canadian, and in the 'rest of the world' and I don't see it as a tantrum. This illusion was created thanks to individuals like you who seem to have either lost sight or unable to think by themselves. Are you seriously comparing this case with what weant in Salt Lake City??? Your contradiction is nearly outragious!!! The Canadian couple didn't need to do much to get the full attention, it was in America, the NBC already claimed gold for the Canadians just after their skating, the Canadian population wanted the medal ceremony to be boycotted, which was about to happen. Seems that you have not paid much attention at David Pelletier reaction neither. Neither when the Chinese team boycotted the second medal ceremony. Ara was in a much more difficult situation, he was not against the 'bad, bad' Russians in American soil, when the entire population had already made him a winner. Beside unlike the figure skating scandal, for those who have watched the match, there can be no doubt that the ref. judgement was deliberatly wrong, when in figure skating many still advance that the Russians program was a little more difficult, without ignoring they won the short program. Thanks to ignorants like you who obviously fail judgement another case of corruption has been silenced, by guess what? Hitting on the victims head with a hummer and passing him as some noisy looser. In what year are you living? Everyone should stend up against such corruptions, even when it's in China (actually particularly when it is in China). And your criticism is almost laughable. The guy simply took the medal and placed it on the middle. And? WOW! How dare he does that? For the fragile hearts he should have answered with a big smile and kissing the winner who had the audacity of accusing him for having ruined his ceremony.

  13. @anonymous - I’m getting pretty damn tired of the personal attacks. Its amazing what the internet can bring out in people. You don’t agree with me. That’s fine.

    Plenty of people around the world see this as a tantrum. Read the articles that the press put out. But I suppose that means you can’t think for yourself. Can’t trust any media after all.

    And I am most definitely comparing it to Salt Lake. Let’s take a look. An obscure sport that people rarely pay attention to except for the Olympics? Check. Winners determined by judges who are meant to be impartial? Check. A medal controversy that took the gold away from someone who many believed deserved it? Check. Athletes from northern socialist leaning countries? Check. Yeah, they seem to pretty similar.

    You’ll also note that in my comments I have said that a boycott would have been fine by me. So had the Canadians done that in Salt Lake then that would have been fine. But once the decision is made to accept the medal you should accept the medal. And Ara Abrahamian did not.

    Furthermore, I do not have the power to silence corruption. Nor do I have the power to sweep this under the rug. Although I appreciate the vote of confidence.

    To answer your questions that you asked throughout. I live on the same planet as you. Hell I might even be on the same latitude as you depending on where in Canada you are. And I live in the current year. That being 2008.

    Clearly, you don’t agree with my opinion. I don’t agree with yours. Nor do I agree with the way you tried to present it. But thanks for commenting. Come back again soon ya hear.

  14. Learn first to distinguish personal attack from incivility. Turning the discussion around by labelling others answer as personal attack serves you in no way. Your comparaison doesn't hold, you place Canadians against the Russians in America and let NBC cover it, the Athlete can go sleep both ears on a nice pillow and be defended by the official Olympics station in the US. You make no sense at all. Qualify this as personal attack, this won't change anything. You should rather visit wrestling discussion forums where people who train exchange their thought and see what they have to say. Comming here with yet another second level garbage reporting like other ''bloggers'' only throw disinformation and serves the FILA get away with it. How many people know that a judge from the last olympic was suspended for bribary for two years? Yet you claim the claim of corruption is baseless. Say this to anyone in the field of Greco Roman restling and see how they'll laught at your face for such ignorant remarks. You claim you have no power to stop corruption, perhaps no! But by your ignorant and irresponsability you have the power with the other noisy ignorant bloggers (which is a fact, call it personal attack does not change that) to mispresent this. And BTW, I have yet to see your reply about my comment on why it was that hard for the fragile heart to leave a medal on the middle of the scene? Bad oll's Ara..., Chinese repressive system recycled somewhere else. Bad boy Ara, you had no right the take the medal which was yours and place it on the middle of the scene. What a political gesture..., shish!!! And Hairy Swede before replying to that remark, take a moment and think about how ridiculous your comment on bad sportmenship seems to be for that alone.

  15. @anonymous - Incivility is saying that was the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. A personal attack is question what planet I live on, what year I live in, and referring to me as an “ignorant.” I’m pretty sure I can differentiate between the two.

    So the US media was responsible for getting Canada that gold medal in the end? Because NBC is concerned with two obscure Canadian ice skaters? Just because they are in the US and because it is against the Russians? The cold war continues. Literally. Now it makes sense.

    Again, it seems you have missed the point of my opinion. I don’t care about the judgment. By all accounts it was a bad one. I have admitted as much in damn near every post. My point is that the actions he took following the judgment were a disgrace. Visiting a wrestling forum will not change that. It will only further the fact that it was a poor judgment. We’ve already established that. Multiple times.

    My blogging opinion might be garbage, but here you are. Again. Responding to my post and comments. And quite a few people know about the judge being suspended. Hell even I knew that (so apparently even an “ignorant” can do his homework). Let’s not play that sort of game. Plenty of people know the background.

    And nowhere do I claim that the corruption claim is baseless. I only point out that there is absolutely no proof as of yet that this call was made due to any sort of corruption. Before making sweeping statements like an Olympic wrestling match was rigged by a corrupt official I like to have some sort of evidence aside from one very bad call.

    I chose not to respond to your comment about leaving the medal because I just don’t really understand what you’re trying to say about a fragile old heart. I assume you are trying to be sarcastic. So, it is bad because it is poor sportsmanship. The medal ceremony is a time to celebrate the achievements of all the athletes. By attending the ceremony and allowing the officials to place the medal around his neck, he has accepted it. To then immediately walk off and plasce the medal in the middle is an affront to the other wrestlers who stood on that podium with him. It takes away from what they have achieved and worked for at a time when those achievements should be celebrated. In my opinion it was a selfish act. One which Abrahamian most likely believed was an act of defiance.

    And I’ll be honest, I don’t really understand what you’re trying to point out with the last part of your comment there. But that’s probably just my ignorance shining through again.

  16. Help Ara throw the medal

  17. Well sorry, you are an ignorant, your comparaison with the figure skating incident is a clear indication of that, more so when you refuse to change this in face of the obviously ridiculous comparaison. You even try to ridicule my comment by putting words in my mouth, it borders dishonnesty. Where did I ever said they were two obscure Canadian ice skaters or that the US was responsible of the gold medal? The NBC had a special coverage of the event like rarelly they did for non US athletes because it was the first time for decades that a couple was going to cut Russian supremacy on couple figure skating. And all this was going to happen by a North American team and in North America. When I saw what happened I had to leave Montreal that day for South Lake City, and was outraged by an obviously wrong decision. But my opinion got accross since it was shared by millions of people who saw the same thing. In figure skating it was easy to fix the situation, in Ara's case, it is impossible. So your comparaison is obviously flawed yet you perpetuate it. Because even if it is proven later that the match was fixed, it was during the semi-finals, and it was decided on not permitting a third period. One way or another Ara had lost the possible gold and nothing was going to change that. For the Canadian couple, it was a final.

    You do that the choice to not respond, but your supposed misunderstanding of my comment is convinient to say the least. As all your commenting revolve around this. Ara's behavior on the medal ceremony. You are very badly informed about why athletes compete..., they do not primarly compete to have a medal for their nation, unless you live in a Communist regime where you have no identity. Ara was after a gold, for himself first, the medal ceremony is the recieving of that price FIRST! And what he did? He took that medal and left it on the floor. Period! Until you have any reasonable argument to answer why that was as disgrace beside using empty words such as 'bad sportmentship, poor judgement' etc... your comment about this event is lacking of any substance.

  18. @mattias – good work.

    @anonymous – oh my favorite french-canadian back again. Let me start out by saying that for the most part ignorant is used as an adjective. So calling me “an ignorant” as you’ve been doing (and as I’ve been putting in quotes whenever I see you use it) doesn’t really work. You might be looking for ignoramus, which would be an extremely ignorant person.

    Your arguments that the reason the comparison doesn’t work is because of the location of the event and the long standing political problems between the host country and the competing country just don’t really convince me of anything. To dismiss the comparison is to ignore the obvious parallels.

    And I never tried to put words in your mouth. I am the one who has consistently been referring to them as obscure athletes. Not you. You give yourself too much credit mon ami.

    I “do that choice” to not respond because of your lack of command of the English language makes it difficult for me to respond in a legitimate way.

    I am well aware of why athletes compete (I have been an athlete myself, I have studied all kinds of sports, hell I have even worked in professional sports. I know why athletes compete). Individual glory. I know. Especially in sports like wrestling. The same can be said for the other three men on the podium with him. And so, by walking off in the middle of the medal ceremony Abrahamian showed disrespect to his fellow athletes who are also competing for that individual glory.

    I’m not exactly sure what more you want from me in terms of why that was a disgrace. Poor sportsmanship, lack of respect, bad timing, all reasons as to why it was a disgrace. You need look no further than the comments by the gold medalist who said that his Abrahamian’s actions ruined the medal ceremony for him to some extent.

  19. The IOC and referees are full of bribed guys. Olympics are only about money and advertisements.

    What is worst ? An athlete who refuses a medal because of bribed referees or Olympics supporters who claim that IOC are always right and represent "sportsmanship".

    Ara action may lack respect and IMHO he should have refused to fight his last match instead of doing that during the medal ceremony. Still I don't know what would have be the worst for the "poor" gold medalist who had his medal ceremony "ruined" whereas he had the gold medal only with the help of his referees.

  20. I’ve watching this match 6 times, just so you don’t have to. And I can tell you that it wasn’t a just “shaky” decision, it was a number of terrible decisions by the judges, and Ara had every right to be upset. Greco Roman wrestling is a technical sport, and to the layperson it is difficult to distinguish between fair and unfair judging. Also, at the international level the effect of judging is much more pronounced.

    I think we can all relate to losing, and the feelings associated with it. If it’s a fair loss, it takes the edge of, but this guy was robbed of silver or potentially even gold by terrible judging. It's not fair to discuss his actions without having a reasonable working knowledge of the situation that brought them about.

    That said, is his action acceptable? If he had taken the bronze medal it would have suggested that he accepted the judging that took place during the competition; and for him I don’t think that was an option, it’s his last competition and he has nothing to lose and any person who follows wrestling knows of some of the odd decisions made by the judges. I think his behaviour was not acceptable, but I don’t know how I would have reacted in a similar situation after equally bad judging.

    Is the stripping of the medal by the IOC also acceptable? Probably. But the action was taken without examining the match or the judging. They’re only going to do that now that they’ve stripped his medal. Seems a bit roundabout to me.

    As a final note, perhaps some of the selective reporting that has taken place with this situation needs to be examined. An Olympic athlete needs to be placed in an extreme situation to even consider doing something like this, and in this case, I think he probably made a statement that few career wrestlers can afford to make.

    Incidentally, I am not Swedish but I work with quite a few, and I can tell you that the ones that I know do not "live in a bubble", and are generally very nice people. Perhaps the problem you're having with the Swedish people is that they've come together for one of their own, and you cannot accept that the majority of people would back what you consider to be "despicable" behaviour. Perhaps you should look at the match, and understand the courage it took for Ara to make a stand like this. I hope Sweden appreciates how brave he was.

  21. Look Mr. Hairy Swede, I am not going to bother with who is going to have the last word. And yes my english is not that good. With your 'mon ami' comment got that I am a French Canadian. But you pretty much understood my point as your assumption was accurate. Yet you have not replied to what was still so offending beside repeating the same story. And that you still continue comparing this with the skating controversy shows that you are simply answering me for the sake of disagreeing. But do so, I will not waste my time, will only reiterate that there is no possible comparaison between an incident in a final, which the correction could change a result, and a semi-finals when nothing could change the results as it would require resetting at least two match and involving four players classification.

    But again, like I said, I will not be wasting my time here, continue distracting and turning around by using big words like 'bad sportmanship'..., which are simply empty of any sense. His medal, his action, the fragile hearts like you, or those who pretend having something to say may continue their prose..., but those arguments shall remain empty. And with the same occasion individuals like you have participated in throwing dust by preventing others to know what really shocking has happened.

    Mot gold medialist, his ceremony was ruined..., what a spormanship accepting a medal which he got because of a bvad judgement, so bad that it had to be deliberate. And by actually even provoking and pulling fuel in the fire. Yes! the gold medialist was the upmost exemple of good sportmanship.

    The next time, when you want to attract attention and pass as an intellectual, you don't have to act against a Swede just for the sake of appearing as a swede intellectual who can disagree with what the swede population agree with. I rest my case.

  22. @anonymous – fair enough. But I think we can both agree that his actions lacked a bit of respect. And I’m with you that had he wanted to make a statement then he just shouldn’t have shown up.

    @jeremy – Trust me. I’ve watched that match so many damn times I can probably give you a minute by minute break down. And it was a bad decision. I’ve said as much over and over in my comments and in the posts I’ve written about this. And even to the layperson it is a bad decision. I have never argued that point.

    And you’re right, losing always stings. But knowing that you lost fairly and believing you were the victim of corruption are two very different feelings.

    I still don’t believe his actions were acceptable. My feelings are that he could have just as easily not shown up for the ceremony. That would have sent a strong message. And, strange as it may sound, I have much less of a problem with that. It seems to me that once he made the decision to attend the medal ceremony he should have also made the decision to accept the medal.

    The actions of the IOC were definitely acceptable in my opinion. And I’m pretty sure that Abrahamian knew it was going to happen. The IOC looked only at his actions, because despite what happened in the prior match, his actions should be separated from prior events. That being said, the judgment should also be examined. But separately.

    Also, I agree thatAbrahamian was in a situation where he could do something extreme. He had already said that this would most likely be the end of his career. So why not?

    In terms of the Swedes, you are right. They are very nice people. My problem is not so much that they are coming together for one of their own. There is definitely something to be said for that. My problem is the numerous comments on previous posts discussing this topic. It is there that the bubble comment came from. The commentary, as a general rule, has neglected to look at this from an outsiders perspective and instead stuck steadfastly to the opinion that they are right and anyone who disagrees with them is an idiot. What I cannot believe is the vitriol directed towards anyone who does not agree with them.

    And as I said before, I have watched this match way too many times for not even being that big into wrestling. It has been replayed numerous times on TV, I have watched it online, I have read about it, and obviously written about it. I am well aware what went on.

    @anonymous – let me start out by apologizing for the English comment. That was below the belt.

    The thing is, what is offensive to me is the lack of sportsmanship. The lack of respect. That is my answer. And I think you’ll find plenty of people who would give the same answer. I’m not really sure what you want from me on that account.

    And there are still plenty of comparisons tobe made. You’re right though, the final allows for a greater chance of change.

    You say that I have somehow prevented people from knowing what happened. Read through everything I have written. I admit that the call that went against him was a bad call. I brig up the fact that he believes the referees were corrupt. I even bring up the fact that he lost in Athens on a bad call. How that is preventing people from knowing what really happened I’m not sure.

    And once again we are back to coloring the gold medalist as a bad person. Lets remember that he wasn’t exactly a slouch of a wrestler. Had made it to the semifinals. Had won the first round against Abrahamian. And had been wrestling well in tournaments before the Olympics. There is absolutely no guarantee that Abrahamian would have won that match.

    What’s funny about all of this is that I wrote this before realizing how my opinion would go against the majority of Swedes who have commented here. It was in no way an attempt at attention. Nor was it in any way an attempt to pass myself off as intellectual. If I were trying to do that I wouldn’t be writing about wrestling. Not exactly a sport associated with any sort of intellectual movement.

  23. I think you are right, abrahamian acted terible and the sweedish people don't whant to realise that. (sorry for my bad english by the way hope you understand anyway). Sweeds are a bit TO loyal.

  24. no worries at all. yeah I wasn't impressed by his actions. that being said, I have been impressed how he has handled himself lately. he has taken his complaint to the CAS to have them look into it. he is not asking for a new medal, not asking for new results, he is just asking that the matter be looked into. and that I have the utmost respect for.


  26. you are right... there have been a few judging controversies, in everything from wrestling to taekwondo to gymnastics. judging events make things a bit difficult. especially when everyone wants to see a clear cut winner in sports.

    and it does look lie there will be some investigation into the judgment rendered against abrahamian.


  28. if people are itnerested just check out the above site and you can find all kinds of stuff about Abrahamian. who by the way now is saying he might go to London after all.

  29. Cleared of all charges. That has to say something!? No disrespect to the opinions of any side.

  30. aah but its clearly a conspiracy. obviously.

  31. The judging was bad, the judge didn't even want to listen to the protests, and yet for some reason we're supposed to just lie down and accept that? Would that be good sportsmanship?

  32. two years later and still... no. youre not supposed to just lie down and accept it. but youre supposed to go about it the right way. and leaving the medal on the mat is a clear act of poor sportsmanship.