Thursday, August 14, 2008

Car Trouble, a Bronze Medal to Ara Abrahamian, and Swedish Disgrace

I’m the proud owner of a well used Saab 9000. It’s old. And tired. And kind of a dark blue color. I don’t really use it that often. A quick trip down to Skåne maybe, the big trip to the grocery store once a month or so and that’s about it. So it sits in the garage of my building. Gathering dust.

And so it happened that I came back from the US with very little food in my name. So a trip to the grocery store was in order. And instead of the little one that jacks up its prices near my building I decided it was time to break out the Saab and head to the big time. Where I can buy in bulk. Swedish bulk at least.

So I went down to the basement and got into my car. And turned the key. And got no response. I mean nothing. Not even an attempt at starting. The battery was dead. Completely shot. Which leaves me in an interesting predicament with a few options.

Obviously, getting someone to help me jump the car would be the best bet. Of course that requires a second car. I don’t know a single person in the building that owns a car. In fact, I don’t know anyone in the greater Stockholm area that owns a car. Which is fine, because sometimes people are helpful. Except I’m stuck in my little garage cage where I park.

So I either have to push the car out of the cage and maneuver it outside and then hope I can get someone to help, or I can try to lure someone into the garage. Both sound pretty miserable, and to be honest, the luring sounds damn near impossible. Disregard for a second the creepiness of some big Swedish-American guy with a red beard coming up to you and trying to convince you to drive into the garage because really, there is a car in there that needs to be jumped, and remember that this is Sweden. A country where no one speaks on public transportation. A country that is often described by newcomers as the place they felt the most lonely of their lives. A country where my parents worked for nearly half an hour to get someone to help jump their car in southern Sweden. A country where my brother and I worked for nearly half an hour to get my car jumped last winter. It is not an easy task.

So with that in mind, my car is still sitting in the garage. Gathering more dust until I can find someone willing to help. Or maybe I’ll just man up and push the thing out. We’ll see.

In Olympic news, Sweden has made international headlines. Unfortunately, not the good kind really. Sweden did win a third medal, this one a bronze in the 84-kilogram Greco-Roman wrestling. It seems, however, that this medal will not be making its way back to Sweden.

Ara Abrahamian threw a bit of a fit in his semifinal match which he lost costing him a chance at the gold medal. Apparently there is some sort of wrestling conspiracy out to get him because he was denied gold in Athens and was so pissed about that loss that he quit. So when another controversial call went against him Ara lost it. I watched the match, and I don’t understand a damn thing about wrestling so I can’t even begin to attempt to explain what went wrong. But a call went against him in the closing seconds and he lost. He was pissed, screamed, yelled, broke some things, had to be restrained from going after the judges, and finally left. At which point it was rumored he wasn’t even going to show up for the bronze medal match.

Twenty minutes before the match start he got a couple of phone calls from his friends and he changed his mind. And won bronze easily. Yay. Now, Ara had already managed to show some pretty poor sportsmanship in his attempt to convince the world that the greater wrestling community has it out for him, but he was not done. In a manner very unbefitting a man of Swedish citizenship, Ara accepted the bronze medal, threw it to the ground, and walked out of the medal ceremony.

I don’t care what happened. I don’t care if he was robbed. I don’t care. Man up and accept it. Take your bronze. Stand quietly during the ceremony. Do not be an ass. Be an ass after the ceremony, bitch, moan, and complain all you want. After the ceremony. But Ara couldn’t manage that. Instead he ruined the ceremony for the gold and silver medalists and managed to thrust Sweden into the international spotlight as a disgrace.

Tomorrow, the powers that be will meet and decide if Ara deserves to be stripped of his medal. He should be. Regardless of the events leading up to this, regardless if he felt like he was shedding light on a larger conspiracy, this was neither the time nor the place. Some people think he did the right thing, other disagree. I for one believe that Ara Abrahamian does not deserve any sort of medal or recognition. He says this was his final match. Good. And if he gets the itch a little bit later as London approaches I can only hope that Sweden refuses to even entertain the thought of allowing him to wrestle again.

Luckily plenty of English language news media picked up on this. Including ESPN, Yahoo, and of course, our good friends at The Local.

So enjoy some reading that truly defines the Olympic spirit:
Minguzzi's surprise Greco-Roman gold overshadowed by protest
Angry Swede throws down medal, quits
Swedish wrestler refuses bronze medal

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74 comments:

  1. Har du sniffat lim eller?
    /Backwall
    http://ubi-fumus-ibi-ignis.blogspot.com/

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  2. Precis. Vad faan snackar du om? Ara har all rätt att vara förbannad på en sport som avgörs på sidan om mattan av pengar under bordet. Det här är ingen galen konspirationsteori: han BLEV av med guldet i Aten p.g.a. en mutad domare i finalen. Vad gjorde brottningsförbundet? Stängde av domaren. Inget mer. Så Ara kommer alltid att vara en av få svenska hjältar för att han vågade stå upp mot korruptionen på ett sätt väldigt få gör.

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  3. märks att du bott i de korruptas land ett bra tag.. skygglapparna på!

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  4. alltså du har ju ingen aning om vad du snackar om(förmodligen fattar du inte svenska heller din dumme jävel). Du vet inte hur mycket träning "den dumme,elake ouppfostrade" Ara lagt ner på att förverkliga sin dröm om ett OS guld. Tusentals timmar av svett och fysiska smärtor för att sedan bli bortdömd av en BEVISAT korrumperad domarkår och missa drömen och lyckan över att ha vunnit ett OS-guld, den största vinsten av allt för en idrottsman. Ska han acceptera det? Skulle han snällt säga att "aj fasiken det var ju synd, jag var den bäste brottaren men domaren dömde bort mig så, tja, jag får väl vara nöjd med mina två medaljer som egentligen borde varit guld, jag borde hålla käft och veta min plats bland förlorarna, även om jag blev bortdömd". Det enda du beskriver är hur synd det är om den guldvinnande italienaren som minsann var väldigt ledsen över Aras beteende vid priscermonin. Ah, han fick ju i alla fall ett OS-guld som plåster på såren eller hur? Din nedvärdering av Ara Abrahamian gör mig illamående..

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  5. Did you read this one: http://www.aftonbladet.se/sportbladet/os2008/article3102369.ab

    It seems to me that the international wrestling federation is definitely rotten to the core. There had been proposals for a random lottery of judges prior to top matches but they just don't want that system. Something is definitely fishy there. (Aside from the fact that a bribery case had already been proven in the Athens OS.)

    It was a very strategic move that he did it under the ceremonies so that the public would see it. No one would have cared had he done the protesting afterwards.

    I honestly think the swedes should be proud of Ara for giving this nation some balls. Thanks to him, now the alleged corruption within the wrestling federation will be subject to the public's prying eyes.

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  6. And who do you think you are judging Ara? The wrestling world has been proved to be corrupt, it's not just Ara bitching about being robbed of two Olympic golds! At least his protest will enlighten the world about the dirty business in wrestling. You say he put Sweden in the spotlight as a disgrace? well I couldn't disagree more, I'm Swedish and I'm proud of Aras actions today. Something has to be done.

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  7. Hes a American what else did u think when u read this.

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  8. What I usually do is go through all the comments, translate anything that is in Swedish to English and respond in English. That way everyone can understand what is being said and I stick with the language I write in. I’m not going to do that here. For a few reasons, the main one being that there are just a lot of comments in Swedish. It seems I struck a bit of a nerve with the Swedes who couldn’t handle critique of one of their athletes and so instead decided to accuse me of sniffing glue and calling me a dumb son of a bitch. Welcome to Sweden. Anyway, my responses are as follows (and in English):

    @Henrik – no. I have not been sniffing glue.

    @Christoffer – as I said in my post, Ara does have the right to be pissed off. I completely agree. I do not agree at all with his display of anger. Hell, I was even ok with his little hissy fit after the semifinal match. But then he decided to go through with wrestling in the bronze match. So he accepted it. He’s been involved in wrestling a long time and he made that choice, hes obviously accepted plenty of the rulings over the course of his career. As my old man said “om man ska spela spelet så ska man tåla spelet”

    @kristian – well here it is, I am against this because I’m American. A corrupt country. Of course, thanks for pointing that out.

    @anonymous – here’s the person who called me a dumb son of a bitch. Such a lovely person really.

    I am well aware of the amount of time and effort he put into this. And it’s unfortunate he didn’t win. Especially if the judges truly were corrupt. But if you read my post carefully (assuming you can actually understand what I wrote you dumb son of a bitch) you’ll see that I write he can do whatever he wants. After the ceremony. I said, stand quietly and accept it DURING the ceremony. A time when other people are also being honored. Set aside your selfish ego.

    @mogLi – I did read that one. And you’re right. Wrestling doesn’t exactly seem like the most ethical and clean sport. But I’m going to stand by my statement. The medal ceremony and the way he went about it was not something I agree with. And not something I would ever want to see again. Especially in the Olympics.

    @anonymous – read the articles being written around the world. He is being described as a cry baby. AS having thrown a hissy fit. Has having ruined the ceremony for others. In typical Swedish fashion, the country has managed to spin this so that Sweden comes out on top. Unfortunately, the rest of the world doesn’t always listen to, or care, what little Sweden thinks or does.

    @anonymous – damn right. Take responsibility for your actions. Don’t blame it on someone else. Don’t expect the government (or governing body) to come in and save you in times of need because you can’t do it yourself like the Swedes.

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  9. I'm with you on this one. I don't think it matters what one's nationality is, nor how corrupt the other party is; one should not behave in such a manner. He might've pulled more weight had he not acted like that.

    Det är antagligen lite lättre att snacka skit och klandra när man får skriva på sitt eget språk.

    /j

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  10. @jen - agreed. but we're americans and apparently that's how we are supposed to react.

    it seems from everything I've read and the comments that there are serious problems in the wrestling world. fine. corruption is never good. but the medal ceremony at the olympics is not the place to throw a fit. he could have made the same statement by not showing up, which for some reason seems much more acceptable to me than just throwing the medal to the ground and storming off.

    either way, I still don't believe that he handled this well. it will be interesting to see if anything comes of it. sweden seems to think he has started a revolution in the wrestling world. I think he acted like a spoiled athlete who believes he is entitled to the gold.

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  11. HairySwede, let me first say that I respect your opinion.
    But sports history is aplenty with examples wherein desperate situations required desperate measures.
    In 1960, Cassius Clay, later known as Muhammad Ali won the Olympic gold in Rome. He thought that he would be welcomed home as a hero in his hometown Louisville. But no, he was refused service at a "whites only" restaurant. In rage, he threw his gold medal into the Ohio river (he was awarded another medal as a replacement to that when he carried the torch in Atlanta '96.)

    Now fast forward, 1968 Mexico City OS. The two pillars of the civil rights movement in the US, Malcolm X and Luther King were already dead. Black athletes were still exploited internationally and then treated as 2nd class citizens at home. One famous quote referring to the black sprinters, "Why should we run in Mexico only to crawl home."

    Despite this, the black sprinters participated anyway, and in 200m won the gold and bronze, producing that iconic picture of two black men with raised fist in black gloves (the power to the people salute). Even the silver medalist, a white australian wore a patch bearing the logo of Olympic Project for Human Rights, in support to their cause. When Smith and Carlos later returned to the US, they and their families were ostracized and even received death threats.

    Today, 40 years later, their action still resonates and they are treated as heroes receiving awards (rather belatedly) at home and abroad in recognition of their advocacy. Nobody thinks anymore that the pair destroyed the awarding ceremonies for the white silver medalist.

    Going back to Ara's case, who is getting plenty of support from the Swedes for his protest action, I would say that's the main difference about how immigrants are treated here and in the US. The majority of the Swedes wouldn't disown a compatriot for standing for what is right. And when FILA (the wrestling federation) is cleansed of snakes, history will be on Ara's side.

    Welcome to Sweden!

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  12. A nice little debate here :) I was blogging about the same incidence not knowing what's happening here.

    I understand that the Swedes think they are right about this one. I would too. When Björn Gustafsson was making an ass of himself in front of whole Europe in Eurovision Song Contest, the Swedes defended him by saying he was really funny. Now Ara Abrahamian was treated badly and he protested in return. Sweden defensing him, the rest of the world thinking he was indiscreet. See the same pattern here? Ara may have been right, but surely he doesn't deserve any medal for what he did in Beijing!

    Seriously, all corruption should be removed from everywhere. But how can you do it? Easier said than done.

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  13. @mogLi - it seems that I am very much in the minorty when it comes to this. From the news reports I have seen, the newspapers and articles I have read, and the people I have talked to, most are in complete support of Ara Abrahamians actions.

    I'm still not. And I appreciate that you respect that.

    You bring up some very good examples, and to be honest, I was waiting for someone to bring these points up. And you're right, sports often times are tied to politics. Even as far back as Jesse Owens dominating the Olympics in front of Hitler politics and sports have been joined. For better or worse.

    The difference here is that the examples you give are all political movements, all fights for a better society at a time where the civil rights movement was underway in the US. They were not a demonstration against corruption in the very sport the athlete participates in (which brings up all kinds of questions whether he has ever unwittingly, or knowingly for that matter, benefited from that corruption. If it is as widespread as it seems than at some point he probably was helped out without even knowing it in order to advance wrestlings cause). I'd also like to point out that the Australian in Mexico City supported the actions and knew about them. Unlike the athletes yesterday in Beijing who were subjected to Abrahamians outburst without knowing what was to come. In fact, Abrahamian did not even congratulate the silver and gold medalists.

    I don't see this as an issue that is anywhere near the importance nor historical significance of those events. Although, I do agree with you that Sweden is doing an excellent job of supporting their athlete. Commendable and impressive. But I will not agree with you on the treatment of immigrants in the US. At this point in history at least. Numerous Olympic competitors on the US team are immigrants, none of whom are treated with any less respect. In fact, many are celebrated even more because of the very fact that they have come to the US and accomplished what they have.

    And I do hope that wrestling is cleaned up just as judging within gymnastics and ice skating have been cleaned up in the last couple of years. I will stand by my statement though that this was an unacceptable way of bringing the issue to light.

    @smek - there is a bit of a pattern isn't there...

    but I do like that the Swedes are standing up for him. theres somehting to be said there.

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  14. Hej Hairy,

    I dislike to see such displays of emotion at sporting events of any type. If he had a righteous complaint, I hope the IOC had a way to adjudicate it, but perhaps not and that may be part of his point.

    But this doesn't help you start your car. I have had such experiences in the US and A, and here is what I have done, short of getting a jump or a push:

    Take the battery out and carry it (there is a battery strap to do this, or used to be) to the recharge place. You get it recharged on a quick (and not complete) basis, or the overnight (and better) way. Unless things have changed. Anyway, you may learn that the battery is permanently dead. Then all you need is money.

    Best wishes,

    Ron P

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  15. @HairySwede: Protests against corruption at all levels (be they big or small) are "fights for a better society."

    In my opinion, actions showing disgust against any form of injustice takes precedence over what one would normally consider as acts of civility.

    Your point on how to behave during the awarding ceremonies remind me again of the Smith/Carlos incident, when Time magazine published in their paper the olympic five ring logo with the words, "Angrier, Nastier, Uglier" (instead of Faster Higher Stronger) in reference to the pair's "uncivilized" manner of not just taking their medals and not making any fuss.

    Instead of criticizing these people for their apparent lack of civil manners, they should be showered with accolades for fighting for a better society in their own little but brave ways. But then again, that's just me.

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  16. Hairy-

    Wow, a lot of unwarranted vitriol being thrown your way. I like reading your blog for numerous reasons, but one of the biggest is that whether I agree or disagree, your opinions are consistently thoughtful and grounded.

    And you are right on on this one. What would the world have said if this was an American athlete's tantrum. He and we would be crucified as self-absorbed entitled brats... typical American behavior.

    Ruining the crowning moment of someone else's entire LIFE is just inexcusable. And to compare this protest of corruption in an obscure olympic sport to the civil rights struggles of past athletes, is just a tad hyperbolic if you ask me.

    Anyway,
    Go USA
    Go Sweden
    Go World!

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  17. Why show this kind of respect to a competion that doesnt show respect to you?

    The best thing about Ara though is the fact that he gave everyone something to talk about...

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  18. @ Ron – probably the best comment in this discussion so far. I didn’t even think to just take the battery in. I’m going to have to give that a shot. I’m hoping that this sort of thing is doable in Sweden.

    @mogLi – I definitely understand your point. And see where you’re coming from. I guess I just have a hard time comparing Ara Abrahamian with those who came before him who made political statements in the name of civil rights.

    But, as you said, that’s just my opinion. And in all sincerity, I do appreciate your comments. They are always well written, thoughtful, and backed up with good information.

    @John – yeah quite a bit of disgust with my opinions, at least some of them were thoughtful and led to good discussion. Others were less nuanced, of course I responded in a less nuanced way to those, so I’m not sure what that says about me.

    But anyway, it seems that all of Sweden is behind Abrahamian and his little wrestling flap. I have only seen one article saying he should be stripped of his medal. A columnist for Svenska Dagbladet. Every other major publication has been all for his actions. But I appreciate that you find my opinions thoughtful and grounded. That’s what I’m going for, whether people want to agree or not is another story.

    I think you do bring up a good point. It would be interesting to see how the world would react to a similar situation had it been an American athlete. James Blake made a few comments today about poor sportsmanship on the part of his opponent but nothing really on the same level as Abrhamian leaving his medal behin and walking out of the ceremony.

    @anonymous – still gathering dust in the garage.

    @sebbe – because you should show respect to the other athletes who are wrestling for the gold just like you are.

    But you’re right. His actions did get people talking. And they got people talking about Olympic wrestling. Which doesn’t happen all that often. Maybe it was all a PR stunt.

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  19. Han störde inte alls ceremonin för Manguzzi, eftersom denne inte i någon rimlig mening kan betraktas som guldmedaljör, och ceremonin i sig därmed var irrelevant.

    I och med att domaren gick in med det "domslut" han gjorde så gav han vare sig Manguzzi eller Ara möjligheten att vinna matchen och ta sig till final. Att Manguzzi sedan formellt fick bli vinnare är en annan sak, men den som anser att hans guldmedalj är riktig är självklart galen.

    Domaren gjorde egentligen även Manguzzi till offer, eftersom han inte fick chansen att vinna på riktigt.

    Att man skall 'spela spelet' är f.ö. inte speciellt rimlit när spelet styrs av folk som är idioter alternativt maffia-artade.

    /KG

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  20. "Be an ass after the ceremony, bitch, moan, and complain all you want." That, if anything, would prove a sour loser. Now he made a point beyond himself.

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  21. You are both fighting a illadviced uphill battle if you going toe to toe with a Swede regarding sportsmansship. In this perticular instance there are several well documented facts regarding the wrestling community. It Is corrupt, Ara did lose his gold from 2004 due to bad and intentional misjudging. He was subject to the same bad misjudging this time. Intentional or not the judging was a clear disgrace beyond comprehension.
    Being civil and wellmannered in the company of FILAs corruption goes against everything it means to be true to the spirit of competition. If you want to present sportsmanship as meekness and spinelessness in face of blatant corruption, greed and incompentence then by all means do yourself and the sport that disfavour. I'll take Aras stance of your illinformed rantings anytime.

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  22. En kommentar till din kommentar på inlägget (där ni andra också gärna får fortsätta diskussionen): http://uppsalaliv.blogspot.com/2008/08/os-medalj-3-guld-i-brottning-genom-ara.html

    Visst fanns det andra sätt som Ara kunde ha protesterat på, men jag kan OMÖJLIGT se Ara som en "disgrace to Sweden" som du kallar det. Möjligtvis kan jag kalla den korrumperade domarkåren för en skam för hela världen. Bara en sådan sak som att de motsätter sig att domarna ska kunna lottas precis innan match för att omöjliggöra mutor talar ju sitt tydliga språk.

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  23. So you think that Ara was out of line and behaved outside the "rules"? Damn right he did and thanks to that behavior something might even happen.
    The same way the two black men turned the worlds focus on the situation of colored people around the world, so did Ara with the situation of corruption in the wrestling arena.
    Had he attacked the referee physicly he had been out of line but he posed the perfect protest.
    He showed them that he belonged on the pedestal and then he gave them back the "prize" to show that he wasn't going to stand silent anymore. Perhaps if we had som more "Aras" in our governments the diktators and rouge governments around the world would not get away with the actions we merely protest against today.
    All they have the balls to do is talk, talk, talk. Bla bla bla.
    Sometimes words are not enough.

    //Mr G

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  24. @kurtgreger - Actually, Manguzzi said specifically that “did in a way spoil the victory ceremony for me.” People seem to forget that Abrahamian wasn’t guaranteed to win this match even if he hadn’t been deemed the loser after the second round. He lost the first round. Nothing is guaranteed.

    And as I’ve said, Abrahamian knew what he was getting himself into. He’s had four years from his last little outburst to work to get wrestling cleaned up, to shed light on this corruption. Instead, he pulls a stunt like this.


    @Garuda – no, it would have proven that he had respect for the other wrestlers who chose to take place in the medal ceremony. Instead he forever tainted their achievements.

    @Peter J – Well it does seem an uphill battle, I’m not exactly sure why it is ill advised. I am not interested in the corruption in wrestling. I have already linked to plenty of articles regarding that, acknowledged that it seems pretty dirty and that’s plenty. My problem is purely with the way Ara Abrahamian handled himself.

    Four years ago, Abrahamian found himself in a similar situation as he believed wrestling robbed him of a gold medal. In those four years then, he should have been working to shed light on the corruption, trying to bring the problems in the wrestling community to the larger athletic community and working for changes just as though that occurred in ice skating and gymnastics. He did not. And instead jumped right back into a sport in which he had participated in for years and knew exactly what he was getting himself into.

    He could have handled his protest in a much better way.

    And I’m not exactly sure why my rantings are thought to be ill informed. You don’t have to agree with me, but I present what happened and then my take on the issue.

    @L – seeing as how the rest of the world is viewing this incident as another spoiled athlete who didn’t get his way, the international community doesn’t seem too impressed with his actions.

    @Mr Galahad – To compare this to the 1968 protest for civil rights is to belittle what those men fought for. It also doesn’t take into account that the third man on the podium, an Australian, was privy to the fact that a protest was to take place, and supported it. There is a difference.

    Some would argue, as MogLi has, that you should fight against all forms of corruption no matter how small. That may be, but in this case, I believe the actions for outweigh the corruption that he is fighting against.

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  25. Du skriver att du inte förstår ett skit om brottning, är det inte väldigt konstigt att du fördömmer hans agerande då?!

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  26. @Åsa - not at all. you don't need to know anything about the sport to realize that his actions were ridiculous. when it comes down to it, his actions are separate fromthe actual wrestling.

    and I must say, I've learned quite a bit about wrestling, and Olympic swrestling, in the last couple of days just keeping up with this story.

    so let's not play that game.

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  27. smek this: are you ON something here? Ara Abrahamian cleraly demonstrated that he didn´t WANT the corrupted organisation´s medal! Didn´t quite get that? No, never thought you did.

    Hairy Swede: I have to laugh. At you, and the bunch of loonie swedish right wing defenders of the US that claims that the American wiew of the one who goes his own way is always forgiving, close to embrazing and that as a product of the upbringing, school system, liberal attitude and what not.

    And here you are, proving them wrong and me right. Thank you.

    BTW: I find you comment to Peter J, that Ara could have protested in a "much better way" funny: Thay tried, you know, but the swedish protest was overruled completely, not as much as considered. You probably think Ara should have written a letter or a complaint form when he got back home that colud have been filed in the big circular archive and no one would have noticed.

    It is obviuos that dispite your upbringing aboroad, you have a very limited knowledge of international sports and hoe things are done there. It is probably a good idea, if you want to save whatever is left of your face, to put a lid on it and lay low in this matter for time to come.

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  28. About the car: I had the same trouble myself last Winter. I went to a gas station and bought a car battery recharger and recharged the battery. Didn't have to carry the heavy battery anywhere. It took several hours but was worth it. If you're not planning to get a new battery, better expect to face the same situation in near future. So the charger wouldn't be waste of money :)

    About the wrestler. I hate to continue this, but approving his actions without punishment would give everyone a right to misbehave at the ceremonies. No one seems to have thought about that...

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  29. @Nicklas - everyone seems to be aware of the fact that he didn't want it. nor does he deserve to keep it. and as it stands right now it looks like he wil be stripped of it completely. good.

    I'm glad I could make you laugh. but I don't really understand what you are trying to say. In fact, it makes no sense to me the point I am proving you right on. I'd love if you would comment again and try to explain it. The American way that I think you are speaking of is one of individuality, taking responsibility and doing what needs to be done. But it is also about respecting others who are fighting that same fight. Something Ara Abrahamian failed to show to the other competitors as he walked away during their life's crowing achievement without so much as a word of congratulation. Disgusting is what it is.

    And I stand by my comment to Peter J, he could have protested in a better way. He could have not wrestled for the bronze. That would have been effective. He could have not shown up at all for the medal ceremony. That would have been effective. But to walk out in the middle is a disgrace.

    I have quite a bit of knowledge of international sports and am well aware how it works both in the US and throughout much of the world. It seems that just because you don't agree with my opinion that I am suddenly not allowed to have one. One of those attitudes where I can say whatever I want as long as you agree with what I have to say. A lovely attitude really and one that fosters absolutely no growth or room for debate.

    And I intend to keep writing about this. When the ruling comes down and Ara Abrahamian is stripped of his Olympic bronze medal in wrestling I will probably write a little post about that. I hope you come back to read it. Maybe even throw in a comment.

    I also love how everytime someone doesn't agree with what I have to say the fact that I was raised in the US and consider myself American is brought up. Or people just tell me I don't know what I'm talking about.

    @smek - also good advice. about how much do those cost do you know?

    and I think youre right about Abrahamian. And right now it looks like he is going to be stirpped of his medal and maybe suspended from wrestling for life.

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  30. In Finland they cost around 10-20 euros. I think you're close after multiplied that by 10 (to kronor).

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  31. "but I don't really understand what you are trying to say"

    Didn´t reckon you would either.

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  32. Aras uppträdande var lika osportligt som FILAs bedömningar brukar vara. Det gick jämnt ut. Vet du inget om brottning så vet du heller inget om de bakomliggande orsakerna till Aras beteende. Lyssna på Pelle Svensson om du vill lära dig ett jävla skit om sporten. Att påstå att man har lärt sig en del genom sporten sedan man läste om Aras protest är ren och skär idioti, och bevisar bara att allt man skriver bör tolkas som en puckad persons amatöråsikter. Läs fakta istället för skvallertidningar i framtiden, det vore en stor tjänst till alla de som råkar läsa den här bloggen.

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  33. Nicklas (and some others here) needs to learn that everyone is allowed to have an opinion and if you don't agree with it doesn't mean that person is stupid. that is how the world goes round!

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  34. ""stand quietly and accept it""

    The world would not be the place it is today with this attitude!

    Enough said.

    MW

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  35. Wow. Reading all these comments and the Swedish press of this story just makes me really sad. I wonder how many Swedes are reading what the rest of the world is saying about this story. If Sweden thinks they are making a point, they are really isolated in this view and I don't think they are accomplishing what they want to.

    The rest of the world sees this outburst as childish and disgraceful. I have actually talked with people from outside Sweden that are feeling sorry for Sweden becuase they think everyone in this country must be so embarrased of what their athelete did. There aren't very many people that even understand this was a "protest." For the rest of the world it is just ugly.

    Once again I see that Sweden is living in a small bubble and just can't seem to have a very broad world view. All they think about is themselves. It has become a very egotisitcal country.

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  36. Wow this is good stuff.
    I usually find myself defending the Swedes, but in the situation of Abrahamian's reaction and the swedes defending him on this blog I cant.
    There is a wrong way and a right way to protest an olympic decision.
    For the right way please review the Roy Jones Jr. boxing final from Seoul, 1988.
    Also you can review the 2002 winter olympic figure skating scandal.
    Heck if you really dont want the medal do what the 1972 u.s. mens basketball team did, dont show up for the medal.
    Throwing medals is for babies.
    Maybe the American women gymnasts should throw their silver medals because the Chinese gymnasts are under the age of 16!!!!!!!

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  37. @smek – awesome. Thanks. Id say that’s worth it.

    @nicklas – no really, your English was so bad I just didn’t understand what you were trying to say. I reckon you should try again pardner. Either write it in Swedish or pick a language you can actually communicate in because your sentence structure was so poor that it just became a jumbled mass of words.

    @moe – oh moe. You sound like a nice person. Full of joy really.

    The thing is, when I say I don’t know much about the sport Im trying not to sound like an ass. I have a pretty good understanding of what goes on in international sports. It’s the benefit of having studied sports, and worked in sports for a number of years, plus all the sports I took part in when I was younger. And luckily, I do my research. But the beautiful thing is, his actions, the stuff I actually have an opinion about, can be separated completely from whatever goes on in wrestling. So don’t try to play that game. I know exactly what Im talking about. And his actions were a complete disgrace. By the way, Im not sure if Svenska Dagbladet, Dagens Nyheter, and even ESPN count as tabloids. But if you could point me to some reading that is “fact” then I would appreciate it.

    Get off your high horse. I can form an opinion without being a wrestling expert because his actions, when separated from the actual wrestling, were disgusting.

    @anonymous – agreed. Friendly people really.

    @anonymous – you’re right. But people know when to pick their battles. And some corruption in a sport that people only care about once every four years isn’t exactly going to change the world.

    @anonymous – it is sad isn’t it. they don’t realize that no one outside of Sweden is all that interested in it. Sweden has this self important world view of itself. Its unfortunate really.

    Their idea of jantelagen has become bastardized. What was once thought to be an ideal that didn’t allow people to rise above and allowed for equality by not bringing attention to oneself and bragging has instead become an ideal in which they don’t want to brag out loud about how good they are because they think they know they are the best. Unfortunate really. And tiring.

    @travis – agreed. I can’t even imagine the reaction had here in Sweden had an American pulled a stunt like this.

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  38. It's quite obvious that when the international media publish the story with hardly any information explanining the story behind the protest, people around the world will see Abrahamian's protest as nothing but a childish outburst. But why care about that kind of uninformed opinions? The silver and bronze medallists resisted having pictures taken with Minguzzi and refused to shake his hand at the ceremony. To me, this very special moment of their lives seemed to have been ruined long before Ara walked out, and the athletes clearly showed whose side they were on. I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of the wrestling community agrees with them.

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  39. by the way...next time Sweden loses a soccer game on a controversial call maybe the entire team should throw their jerseys at the referee.
    For all of the Ara apologists, how would you react if that happened?

    Ara is not the first person to lose on a terrible call and he wont be the last. He will however be remembered for a boneheaded protest.

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  40. @nisse - so only the Swedish media has access to this story? only they know the truth? thats ridiculous. the international media is onhand in Beijing. they know what happened. and they still chose to report it as a childish tantrum by a spoiled athlete who didn't get what he wanted.

    @travis - a good point. when it comes to sport with judgment calls there will always be people who lose on a bad call. that's just the way it is.

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  41. So, if I understand a lot of the writers here correctly, Ara's act of protest is to be considered as worse than the vey strong possibility that a referee and high FILA officials have cheated ? Get real, and stop being so immoral and unfair that you do not see the main problem here, which is the reason behind his protest, regardless of how the protest was carried out.

    /KG

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  42. I wonder if Ara were a Finn, how many Swede would have stood up and fight for him, in the name of non-corrupt referees?

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  43. As I see it the big question is wheter his protest was directed at the other contestants or at the wrestling association and its judges.

    The former is in my opinion an example of very unsportsmanshiply behaviour. The latter I would consider justified, perhaps even honorable.

    Not surprisingly swedish media has chosen the second angle, this is also most swedes interpretation.

    "Wow. Reading all these comments and the Swedish press of this story just makes me really sad. I wonder how many Swedes are reading what the rest of the world is saying about this story. If Sweden thinks they are making a point, they are really isolated in this view and I don't think they are accomplishing what they want to.

    The rest of the world sees this outburst as childish and disgraceful. I have actually talked with people from outside Sweden that are feeling sorry for Sweden becuase they think everyone in this country must be so embarrased of what their athelete did. There aren't very many people that even understand this was a "protest." For the rest of the world it is just ugly."

    Yes, after this incident I became interested in how the international community reported on it. Almost all seemed to have chosen the first angle.

    "There aren't very many people that even understand this was a "protest." For the rest of the world it is just ugly."

    Which is understandable, since most of the sources neglected to even mention what happened in the semi-final leading up to this.

    Even if many still would consider his action unjustifiable, it is much easier understanding it if you know the events leading up to it.

    Regardless of what you think about what he did at the medal ceremony the incident in the semi-finals deserved press on it's own merits. Hopefully this will put pressure on FILA which certainly doesn't look like the most sportsmanshiply and olympic organization.

    Ara's behaviour was controversial and I obviously would like to give everyone the right to critize him. However it is unfortunate that almost all of the attention was directed at him as a person and what he did at the medal ceremonies.

    Swedish media has certainly been reporting in an unobjective way. I wouldn't say they are the only ones at fault though, international media has been just as one-sided.

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  44. I have reread the initial text and found the following sentences: I don’t care what happened. I don’t care if he was robbed. I don’t care. Man up and accept it.

    This is stupiduty and insensitivity taken to new levels, and combined with holier-than-thou as well.

    Why don't you make us here a favour and get your ass out of Sweden again.

    /KG

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  45. If anything, why dont u make us a favour and call your internet provider and cancel your subscription KG.

    At least i keep getting suprised how hostile some people are on the internet. Maybe you dont dare to in the real world, or u just stays inside all the time. But regardless you if anyone are an idiot if u keep voicing your disagreement like that.


    Anyway, i for one think Ara did the right thing. OS is in my opinion like VM, its a competition beetween the best athlets in the world. If you dont have judges who is fair, u might aswell skip it. I'm not an anarcist, but still i dont think there is anything wrong voicing your opinion like Ara did. OR well, i dont know wrestling, but i'll say it like this:

    IF the judges decision then(maybe even in athen) was easy to misjudge. Well then, then it was just unlucky and Ara did something unecessary.

    IF the judges decision was right. Then Ara did something unecessary.

    IF the judges decision was easy enough to make, and was WRONG, and maybe even if it would had been very easy to control it and check it up on video. Then Ara did right.

    It all comes down to that, the reason why Ara did it.

    Coming back to me not knowing anything about wrestling.
    Well i've heard alot of experts on tv saying it was wrong, and i'm yet to see anyone who says the judges did a rigtheous decision.

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  46. Fine then. If the international media is so well informed, they should clearly be able to motivate why a full report of the events leading up to the protest is irrelevant to the public. That includes explaining how it was not the case that the wrestler was robbed by corrupt officials. If they fail to do that, their coverage of the story can't be taken seriously.

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  47. @kurtgreger – you obviously don’t understand most of the writers here then. Because aside from me and only a handful of other comments, everyone seems to be very much in favor of what Ara Abrahamian did.

    I must say, all this talk of cheating on the part of the referees has really made me anxious to hear some actual proof. Instead of just conjecture by a nation that is bummed out that it didn’t get a chance at a gold medal.

    @smek – I would guess that no one would have cared outside of Finland. Just like just about no one cares about this outside of Sweden.

    @anonymous – this is probably one of the best comments so far. Well thought out and well written. You bring up some excellent points about who the protest was directed at. My take is actually that it was directed at both the other contestants and wrestling association and its judges. I say this because of the simple fact that Abrahamian refused to congratulate the gold medal winner. It seems then that he is lumping the man he lost to in with his idea of corruption.

    And you’re very right. From everything I have read in the international media (which admittedly then is limited to English speaking countries like the US, England, and Australia) most, if not all, have taken the stance that this was a disgraceful act. Which it would follow then that they saw the act as if it were an affront to his fellow competitors.

    You also bring up a good point about the background to his actions. They tend to only be mentioned in passing in all the articles I have read outside of Sweden. It does lend some explanation to his actions if the whole story is told. Although I still don’t agree with the way he handled it.

    @kurtgreger –you’re back. I missed you so. When quoting me you failed to finish off that quote “Take your bronze. Stand quietly during the ceremony. Do not be an ass. Be an ass after the ceremony, bitch, moan, and complain all you want. After the ceremony.” I must say though, I fail to make the connection between what I wrote and a holier-than-thou attitude. But maybe that’s just my holier-than-thou attitude talking.

    I have no problem with him protesting. I do have a problem with him protesting during the medal ceremony. As I have stated time and time again in this discussion.

    Lucky for you, not only do I live in Sweden, work in Sweden, have Swedish citizenship, speak the language, have family here…but I also vote. I am leaving my mark on this lovely country.

    Although I must say, this would probably be the first time that a wrestling discussion ever led to someone being asked to leave the country.

    @anonymous – it is amazing how fired up some people can be. But so it goes.

    But I appreciate your opinion. You bring up some good points about how the judges decision plays into this. It will be interesting to see what comes of this. Because as of yet, while most people agree that it was an egregious error on the part of the judge, there has been no evidence of corruption in this particular case.

    We’ll see how it ends up.

    @braus – see above.

    @nisse – we’re all still waiting for that evidence of corruption in this case that you are clinging to. And most of the world just doesn’t care to be honest. Which is why so little coverage is being given to it. the actions of a Swedish wrestler who is obscure in the rest of the world just don’t resonate all that loudly throughout the international community.

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  48. So, if the world doesn't care about the frequent accusations of corruption within the sport, and just wants a story about an immature medallist who throws a tantrum, why should Ara and the people who support him care about their opinions? And if such an obscure athlete hadn't protested at the ceremony, how would he have made any impact at all? You're answering your own questions.

    My take is actually that it was directed at both the other contestants and wrestling association and its judges. I say this because of the simple fact that Abrahamian refused to congratulate the gold medal winner. It seems then that he is lumping the man he lost to in with his idea of corruption.

    Then your case should be lost, because Abrahamian states that he did congratulate the other medallists before the ceremony. And as I mentioned, neither did the silver and bronze medallists congratulate the gold medal winner at the podium.

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  49. let it rest everyone, move on, some are so hateful here it is crazy.
    opinions, everyone can have thier own opinions! right? even in sweden?

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  50. @nisse - I never said Ara Abrahamian should care at all about what the rest of the world thinks. He can do what he wants. And he did. But is important to note what the rest of the world thinks, especially considering what he was trying to accomplish. When trying to prove a point it always helps to have a little support. And outside of Sweden he doesn’t have much support. But whether he cares or not really isn’t that important. I just don’t agree with it and think that his actions were a disgrace. And I believe the punishment that followed was fitting.

    In response to him being obscure and this being necessary to make a point, well I just don’t really agree. Because in the wrestling world he isn’t obscure. In the wrestling world he’s the one that bitched and moaned in Athens after losing the gold. In the wrestling world he has had four years to make a stand and to fight to end any sort of corruption he believes to be rampant. But instead he quit for 18 months. Him making such a spectacular display of childish doesn’t help his cause.

    Had he gone about this differently maybe people would be focusing more on the actual protest part instead of the childish actions of him not accepting the medal.

    And I do believe that he was targeting both parties. Minguzzi himself said his actions tainted the medal ceremony for him. Which shows a lack of respect for his fellow wrestlers and the opponent who beat him to reach the finals. Even if he did congratulate the winner before the ceremony it doesn’t take away from what he did during the ceremony. Plus I would like to see where you get that. Because everything I’ve read, in both Swedish and English, has said that he refused to congratulate him or vägrade han att gratulera.

    So my case isn’t lost. And there is no case to be lost. There are differing opinions. And its obvious that you agree with Abrahamian’s actions. You’re not alone. Especially in Sweden. I just don’t like what he did.

    @anonymous – yeah this has been quite the display. Interesting to see the attitude that has emerged from those who don't agree.

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  51. "yeah this has been quite the display. Interesting to see the attitude that has emerged from those who don't agree."

    This is the internet after all

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  52. Btw seems kallur is back in action:p 2nd best time in the test heats

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  53. vilken jävla tönt du är! Du har rätt du vet inte ett skit om brottning och inte nånting om den här skandalen heller. Det är en jävla domarskandal. Läs Svd så får du se. DOmaren som dömde ut Ara har kommit med tre officiella anledningar. Vad är det för jävla skit? HHan har ändrat sig TRE ggr. Han är en italienare från Schweiz och Minguzzi är en italienare.

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  54. Och förresten slängde han itne ner den. Han la den ner på mattan som en markering eller protest mot Filas nya konstiga regler, detta felaktiga domslut som domaren ahr ändrat TRE ggr och mot den påstådda korruptionen inom brottarvärlden. Han har inte sagt att hela brottningsvärlden är ute efter honom men den är jävligt korrupt. Och nånting borde göras. Dessutom är han jävligt förbannad eftersom att han har tränat i fyra jävla år för att föröska vinna guld och få revanshc efter ett felaktigt domslut. Sluta komma med en jävla massa illa genomtänkta kommentarer och förhastade slutsatser innan du vet vad som verkligen hände och vad som verkligen sagts. /Pelle

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  55. @anonymous – that’s what makes it fun right?

    @anonymous – yeah I’m pumped. I’m a fan.

    @anoynmous – I have read so damn much about this scandal that I could probably recite some of the articles. I get so tired of these sorts of comments. The comment directs me towards svenska dagbladet, which I actually link to. In fact it was in Svenska Dagbladet that one of the journalists disagreed with Abrahamian did. One of the few in Sweden. But that’s probably not the article you want me to read is it? You probably want me to read the ones that agree with what you say.

    I’ll say it again. I’m not debating the judgement. I just believe that his actions were a disgrace.

    I love that just the fact that he is a Swiss Italian makes him guilty of corruption because the winner was Italian. Obviously. How could I have missed that?

    @anonymous (Pelle) – you’re right. That was a misuse of words on my part. He didn’t throw it down. He laid it down. Ever so gently. So thoughtful of him.

    And if we are going to play this game where we pick at words, he didn’t actually train for four years. After he bitched and moane in Athens he quit for about 18 months. Come on now. Lets get our facts straight here Pelle.

    It seems to be a common theme that if someone doesn’t agree with me its because I don’t know what was said or what happened. But Im reading the exact same articles as they are, watching the same replays, watching the same news. But clearly I don’t know whats going on.

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  56. Denise, ex-auto mechanicAugust 21, 2008 at 11:22 PM

    Regarding your car battery troubles: For future reference, there are gadgets that will start a car with a dead battery without another car. The gadget contains a small battery of a new kind that doesn't have acid that can leak. These occasionally need to be recharged from an outlet or your car once it's running again. I have one of these in each car because it's not always a good idea to be a woman asking strangers for help.

    Or if there's an outlet within reach of your car, you can charge it with a battery charger. And if worse comes to worse, you can take the battery out of the car and take it to a parts store to be charged, if they do that in Sweden.

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  57. some good advice. I actually went down there the other day and was going to write a note to my neighbor car to see if I could get a jump, luckily there were some guys down there working so I got a jump from them.

    and I checked around for an outlet and there actualy isn't one anywhere that I could find which seemed very strange.

    but again, some very good advice! thanks.

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  58. You really think he could make a difference showing himself greatful for bronze when he where cheated ?

    He went to court and he won. It is decided that FILA have to change their rules if they want to be in the olympics next time.

    He did the only right thing, if he had done things different people all over the world would not notized what happend and there would happend nothing.

    I am feeling a bit confused because this is a american reaction. A american do not keep his mouth shuted, instead a swede would since that is our normal behavior.

    Now a immigrant who became swedish stand up for his rights, he told this where wrong in the most untypical way it could be done here and you have the guts to complain.

    From what I understand you would take the bronze and say nothing and let the people in power fuck your ass ...

    How can that ever be alright ... I do not understand that.

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  59. oh wow we are still on this. and yes I am aware that fila will have to be taking a look at things. but there has yet to be any evidence that this was some huge conspiracy against abrahamavich.

    had you read carefully what I wrote I said that I have no problem with him protesting. I have a problem with him protesting the way he did.

    and it has nothing to do with him being an immigrant. I could care less. as far as Im concerned hes living in swedish, speaks swedish, works in sweden, and wrestles for sweden. hes swedish. so lets not play that game.

    had he not gone to the medal ceremony that would have been fine. and that would have brought all kinds of press. its not too often that someone doesnt show up to the medal ceremony in the olypmics. but once he did go I believe he should have shown respect to his fellow competitors.

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  60. Yes I didn't see this and since you been so ignorant that you didn't even bother to write about CAS decision it should be at least written in the "guestbook" ...


    Second you can't spell his name ... Ara Abrahamian, nothing else.

    Third you want him to show respect when he been cheated.

    And then we can talk about your respect who cut and past in all those bloggs that been writing about Ara ...

    You didn't even care to write one letter different ...

    I like most immigrants who come to sweden but I rather have people who comes from war or starvation then a american like you.

    You do not have a job here so why not go home instead and clean up your own country instead ...

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  61. I might add that I know you are not american from the start but you certainly behave like one of them ...

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  62. Yeah, well seeing as how these posts we’re written before that decision I didn’t really feel like going back and editing it. although it was already mentioned in some comments after the decision came down. I even acknowledged it. but good try. I am clearly just ignorant.

    you're right. I spelled his name wrong. after having written it over and over in three or four different posts and hundreds of comments a mistake slipped through. clearly I can't spell his name. you caught me.

    And yeah I expect him to show respect, and yeah I basically wrote the exact same thing. You didn’t write anything interesting enough to warrant a different response. Your second comment was only a copy and paste of the decision that you had already referenced. You said the same thing using someone else‘s words. And when I comment on others blogs about this decision I said basically the same thing. Nothing wrong with that. I said what I believed as it fit the conversation.

    Thanks for the well wishes. I can vote in this country too you know. I love that you obviously dislike me, but have spent quite a bit of time reading what I have to say.

    It’s people like you that make the world go ‘round.

    And explain to me how I behave like an American? Because I have an opinion and voice it? And stand by that opinion? Yeah I’m a real ass hole. The funny thing here is that I have acknowledged his right to protest, the fact that FILA is being looked into, and all sorts of things. I just didn’t like the way he protested. But by saying that, you believe I need to leave the country. That’s the most ridiculous, petty, sad thing I have ever heard.

    But you hide behind your little computer and tell me to leave the country. If that’s what it takes to make you feel like a big important person than by all means. I’m just here to please.

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  63. Hi,
    ok so I started reading this blog rather intrigued, I´m still intrigued but not in a positive way. I think it´s a shame that you don´t keep an open mind and try harder to understand your heritage. I know you THINK you do, by doing all the proper, polite things like learning the language etc. You obviously did your homework, you studied the Swedish culture but clearly you are not open to understanding it. It feels like you have your very strong opinions and you just study to find the errors in Sweden. It is more than ok to critisize Sweden, all countries have flaws, but when when u agree with people that are writing things about our country that are totally false that is when I understand that you are not adjusting.

    Anonymous wrote:
    "Once again I see that Sweden is living in a small bubble and just can't seem to have a very broad world view. All they think about is themselves. It has become a very egotisitcal country."

    Please..I have grown up in a very mixed environment in Sweden and since I graduated from high school I´m living abroad. If we are going to generalize-Swedes have a broader world view than most. This is in fact one of the things that I´m most proud of as a Swede.

    About Ara, you talk as if it´s a typical swedish thing for the people to defend him, that´s just pure nonsense. To give an example: Look at what Zidane did in the worldcup final. It lead to a defeat for the whole team- and a whole country. BUT he is still considered a hero by most people. You said "om man ger sig in i leken får man leken tåla" Yep, Zidane couldn´t take it. However what Ara did is not about the game itself....it was out of his hands. Zidane had a choice to restraine himself, no matter what that on earth that other bastard was saying. Did Ara have a choice? Is Zidane´s behaviour more acceptable because it was pure alfa-male...in contraste to Ara´s "swedish" non physical- rätt ska vara rätt? If you do it that way you are a cry baby?
    I don´t want you to leave the country, au contraire I think you should stay for a long time. Because getting to know a country is like making a new friend, it takes a very very long time. And if you start of thinking you know things about the person(aka judging) you will never be friends. You seem to think you know Sweden already, you don´t.
    Another thing, you wonder why people call you American. It is not about being American or Swedish, it´s about being international. I´m in a class with very smart students from all over the world. We are never going to have any annoying political discussions, we all get along perfectly- we are international. In sweden people tend to be more international than in the states- this is coming back to the world view.
    Let´s face it you are in deep water starting a blog like this having to have been here for only a short time. I´m currently living in Italy and trust me there are quite a few things to discuss, but if I would start a blog for the Italians as critical as yours haha what a joke it would be. You can´t even say a bad word about their food without getting conter arguments for the following 2 h. The difference is, I´m still getting to know my new friend Italy...maybe in 20 years I´ll start a blog.

    Just a point of view from a swedish girl who has seen her country from all perspectives.

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  64. Sorry to disappoint. That’s the beauty of writing a blog though. You can have an opinion. And I do. Plenty of them. Some of which Swedes don’t agree with. But you’ll also find that if you read trough my blog, there are plenty of things I like about Sweden. It just so happens that the posts that get the most comments are the ones that have a bit more negative point of view. Take that for what it is worth.

    I would like to hear how you propose I understand my heritage. You know, aside from moving here. Speaking the language. Reading the newspapers. Watching the news. Reading Swedish books. Learning Swedish history. Speaking with Swedish people. Eating Swedish food. Working in Sweden. Aside from that, you’re right, I’m not at all open to understanding Sweden.

    I find it interesting though that having an open mind in your opinion seems to mean agreeing with people. Having an open mind means being willing to listen. To understand. Not necessarily to agree. To do so is ridiculous.

    In response to the bubble comment. My reading was that Swedes find themselves thinking their country is more important to the rest of the world than it is. Sweden does have a very broad world view. They have plenty of knowledge of what is happening outside of their borders. However, they also seem to think that they are very important outside of their own borders. Which I don’t necessarily agree with. And a quick scanning of most world newspapers would back that up.

    From the response I saw, it was very Swedish to defend Abrahamian. The entire country got behind him. And what Zidane id was also a disgrace. And I don’t defend that. But good work on trying to bring up something that has absolutely nothing to do with what Abrahamian did.

    I also like how you lecture me on judging countries, then go on to judge me by saying I don’t know this country. I might be American, but add up all the time I’ve been in Sweden and I’m pushing ten years. And I’m 24.

    I don’t wonder at all why people call me American. I claim to be American. And do so throughout the blog really. I did find it interesting though that when I disagreed with Swedes, my Americanism comes into play. And whether you like it or not, being international sounds so very nice and friendly, but most people will always see you as an American, or a Swede, or whatever country it is you come from. You can be as international as you want, but to disregard the county you are from in hopes of being “international” is ridiculous.

    I’m not too worried about the deep water I’m in because of my blog. It allows me to form opinions. To discuss my opinions. To learn what others believe. To never form an opinion is kind of disappointing. And not a very good way to get to know a country.

    Just a view from an American who has traveled throughout Europe and Sweden in particular and had a chance to see plenty of different perspectives.

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  65. oh trust me- I have read your blog- very well, otherwise for me to form an opinion would be...judging. I have never in my life met anyone who has so many negative and so few positives things to say about Sweden- not even close.
    I admire you for moving here. I have a cousin who is half swedish living in the US. He will probably never do what you are doing, if he did I would be thrilled though. But I´ll repeat what I was saying, it doesn´t matter how much you try to get inside the culture if you do it with your mind already set. Of course you are should have an opinion,otherwise you would be a dumbass. If I wold have thought you were a dumbass I wouldn´t take the time to write this. You should know that I usually never respond to blogs, but you hit some nerves, in many of your topics.

    I never said being openminded means agreeing with everything.But there is always going to be someone who is more well informed than yourself, so you always have to be open to REALLY listen.

    "Swedes find themselves thinking their country is more important to the rest of the world than it is"
    Really? would you care to elaborate? Swedish people are very well aware of or position. We are a small nation. You have a post concerning us voting for the Euro.What I don´t think you understand is that the voting was more about taking part in the emu, not actually about the money. I understand that you where being sarcastic but you haven´t understod the main reason as to people voted no- they where aware of our lack of power, or importance as the small nation we are.

    How is what Zidane did not relavant? to me-personally- what Zidane did was much worse, but the point is that they both did something that is not allowed in the sport- and they both got supported by their people. And why? because they are beloved athletes. It´s like if someone in your family member does something " not allowed", u will defend them. This is human behaviour- not Swedish behaviour.

    I claim that you don´t know Sweden enough because you say so many things that are wrong. NO this is not me saying that you are not entitled to an opinion- but the things are just wrong- fact wise. One is your post about immigration. I will comment on this after. I might not have more experience on any other issues than you do, but on this one I do.

    Being international is not about disreagarding your own country. It´s about keeping the nice parts from your own culture and realising the bad ones, and doing the same with others. You are right about most people viewing you as being American or Swedish- this is because most people aren´t international. And if you are the lucky one- the international one, you should be able to make people view u as a human being- not just an American.

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  66. And trust me. I have lived here for long enough to form my own opinions. But in regards to the negatives vs. positives. I actually quite like Sweden. There are plenty of things I don’t like. And plenty that I do. But the ones I don’t like usually end up making for good debate. Good conversation. And tend to be very different than what you would find in the US. That is to say, perfect subjects to write about. That being said, take a look at just about every post I write about the cultural activities Stockholm and Sweden has to offer, take a look at the history posts I write about, there are plenty of positives. It just happens that my political beliefs don’t always align with Sweden’s. And apparently, my sports believes also… But with complete sincerity. I write with a lot of sarcasm. Always remember that when reading this stuff.

    There you go again judging though, what with the not having an open mind. I’m not even really sure how to argue that point. I think the actions I have taken, and just the fact that I have moved here speaks to having an open mind. It tends to be the people that travel and put themselves into situations in which they are not always comfortable that have the most open mind. Like moving to Italy. Or Sweden. If I truly had made my mind up I would have stayed home. Why go anywhere if I know where I am is already the best?

    And I am glad I touched a nerve. I love getting reactions. But I will say this, because someone accused me in this post of writing this just to get a reaction. I love reactions, but I don’t really write stuff just to piss people off. I write my opinions, and, as I said above, hope that they do end up making for good debate.

    And you are exactly right about someone knowing more than me. I agree completely. And I always listen. And I always read the comments. And I always respond to each one. Sometimes people bring a lot of new insight to the discussion. Doesn’t mean I necessarily agree with them, but I always listen. Hell, otherwise I would have deleted a whole lot of the comments above. But REALLY listening, doesn’t always mean changing your mind. REALLY listening means taking it all in, and adjusting your views accordingly.

    I will clarify my position about Sweden. Most people whohave travelled outside of Sweden. And really traveled, not just a little trip to the Canary Islands, understand where Sweden stands in the world. And they are well informed about world issues. That being said, those who don’t travel much seem to believe that Sweden is a much more important country than it really is, granted Sweden is a leader in certain areas (the environment comes to mind). This can be said for just about any country really. Traveling adds to your world view. But what I saw in reading about the Abrahamian thing was that Swedes truly believed that the rest of the world saw this as some brave protest against corruption. And they didn’t. At least not from what I could see in various discussions and news reports.

    And my post on the Euro was completely in jest. Sarcasm all the way through. I was here during the vote. I am well aware about the various issues in that debate. I was even living in Uppsala which tends to have a bit of political activism due to the number of students there. I actually hint at the importance of Sweden being on the Euro though. And say it’s not a huge deal.

    What Zidane did is not at all relevant to this discussion. We were discussing a protest at the medal ceremonies of the Olympic Games. Zidane is an idiot who lost it in the middle of a game. If that was relevant we could talk about every single athlete who lost his temper and snapped. Hit someone, kicked someone, head-butted someone. They are two separate incidents with very different circumstances. Otherwise we can talk about any athlete who ever broke the law and still received support. And that list would be never ending. While it would most likely be a good discussion, it just doesn’t really fit here.

    I would like to hear more about what I say that is wrong about Sweden. Seeing as I am here and basically just write what I experience I have a hard time understanding how so many of my experiences can be wrong. And I look forward to your comment on immigration. Especially since, for the most part, what I wrote was only a commentary on an article from Dagens Nyheter. If facts were wrong there you can take it up with Tobias Billström. Any other facts that are wrong let me know. In all seriousness. Because they need to be right. Shoot me an email. aswedishamericaninsweden at gmail dot com

    Regardless of your internationality, your worldliness, your citizenship of the world, you will always come from somewhere. Personally, I love having an identity and claiming to be from somewhere. And I have traveled quite a bit, and have picked up little bits and pieces from everywhere I have been, but I will always consider myself an American. And hope that others consider me an American. I am not interested in turning myself into some sort of blob of internationalism. I like keeping my identity. That being said, I do believe it is important to incorporate the good from other cultures as you mention. To not do so would almost be an insult. But even that can be tricky. What is considered good? Because some people have different values. So while some people might love the secularism of Sweden and want to take that home with them, others might find that a disgrace and prefer the religious aspects of Italy. So which is good? And which should be adopted? The same can be said for numerous cultural aspects of different countries. But that’s the fun of traveling.

    Also, my first response to your comment came off as more aggressive than I intended. Sorry about that, sometimes one of the downsides of writing I suppose. Not my intention.

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  67. Ok I did not say that you were´t openminded. I don´t know you and I am the last person on planet earth to judge people.

    Once again: It´s great to know your culture, your roots. But like I see it, the world is f****d up because people love to call themselves Americain, Swedish christian, muslim, republican, communist or whatever. Are you going to say war and political conflicts aren´t created because of this. Come on now, with a bit more internationalism from all sides we could come a long way. A bit of self sacrifsing...too bad people are so selfish, so it will never happen..I know I´m not naive.

    And oh yeah Ara vs Zidane again. I wasn´t actually not comparing what these two did but how the PEOPLE reacted.

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  68. I’d like to quote from your first comment:

    “I think it´s a shame that you don´t keep an open mind and try harder to understand your heritage. I know you THINK you do, by doing all the proper, polite things like learning the language etc. You obviously did your homework, you studied the Swedish culture but clearly you are not open to understanding it.”

    And now I would like to quote from your second comment:
    “But I´ll repeat what I was saying, it doesn´t matter how much you try to get inside the culture if you do it with your mind already set.”

    Now let’s look at the first quote in depth. You say it’s a shame I don’t keep an open mind, which would suggest that I am no open minded. You follow that by saying I am not open to understanding the Swedish culture. Which would suggest I am not open minded.

    And the second quote in depth. You say I came into this culture with my mind already set. Suggesting that it was not open.

    But I suppose you are right, nowhere did you string together the words “you are not open minded.” Well played.

    And in terms of war being caused only because people identify themselves as a certain group. Sure it happens, but to think that is the only reason there is war I cant agree with. If you took a Christian and a Muslim from around the Crusades and they both called themselves and recognized each other as “Humans” they would still be at each others throats. The problem was not that they called themselves Christian or Muslim, it was that they believed in very different things which the two groups felt were enough of an affront to their way of life and to their god that they should kill each other. But I can see how some people would make an argument that you are making.

    But I am all for a little internationalism. Because you’re right. That would always help. Knowing about different cultures and beliefs is a great start to understanding and tolerating them. Not agreeing with them, but understanding and tolerating them.

    And about Zidane and Ara. Fair enough. But it wouldn’t be hard to find a group of athletes who have made dumbass moves similar to that that weren’t defended. Some high profile American athletes have seen this happen, like those involved in the brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills a few years back. But anyway… I digress.

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  69. ok I´m not the one who can´t admit when I´m wrong. It does seem like I´m calling you close minded. I put my words wrong. What I meant to say was that I wish you would have had an even more open mind- in this particular situation.
    I never meant to judge you. Sorry for the missunderstanding.

    voilà, point final.

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  70. Damn. Intense comments section is intense.

    I believe he made his point. (ara)

    Really walking away with it would have been terrible in my eyes. I could never accept a second place in anything when the judge is corrupt. If you know a little bit about wrestling you could clearly see that the judges were not making the right calls.

    Actually I don't care if he loses his medal or not. That's not the main thing, that's just proof.

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  71. Yeah, this was a very intense discussion for a while there.

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