Friday, August 15, 2008

Swedish Olympic Wrestler Ara Abrahamian

*UPDATE* The video seems to have been taken down by YouTube. Check out some footage here instead:

Here is some video of the whole Ara Abrahamian Olympic wrestling scandal that I wrote about the other day. Basically, he lost in the semifinals on a questionable call. He didn’t agree with it. Got fired up. Yelled, screamed. Then finally decided to wrestle for the bronze. He won. Went to the medal ceremony. Accepted the medal then promptly walked off the medal stand, left the medal behind, and left.

I didn’t exactly agree with this action and said just that. And, honestly, thought there would be more people who were disgusted by his actions. I was mistaken. But so it goes. The post generated all kinds of lovely comments. It seems that most of Sweden is behind him and believes what he did was right.

Anyway, enjoy the video. I couldn’t seem to figure out how to get it from SVT Play into my blog (here it is). If anyone knows I would love to hear it. The SVT Play link is here. A bit better quality. Although it is lacking the glorious English translation (not done by me of course, I couldn’t even figure out how to get the video from SVT on to my blog let alone try to edit video to post on YouTube).

I hope it gives a little bit of an idea as to what transpired.

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  1. Well, it's not that he lost because a questionable call that makes him mad. It's that the judges didn't want to see the replay or give him a all!

  2. tried to view the video but its telling me no longer available....i thought his behaviour was both childish and a disgrace to his country....hmmmm perhaps i should reconsider my move to sweden :] don't think i would be very popular

  3. @jens - well hes definitely upset...

    @janj62 -it seems youtube has taken down the video. check it out here:

    and Sweden has been treating his actions as heroic and admirable. take that for what its worth...

  4. This is a shame. Part of what makes an olympian a champion is he/she can hold it together under times of stress. This unsportsmanship brings shame to this man, his country and all who seem to support his action.

    Judges make mistakes, judges can be downright unfair. But it still does not condone this kind of behavior.

    Shame Abrahamian. Shame Sweden.

  5. it is not appropriate to call it a questionable call. it was an out and out bad, wrong-headed, corrupt call. Allegedly by the cousin of the other wrestler. To call it a questionable call is unfari. Having dug up the video I think it is fair to say it was blatantly a call that was deliberately made to support the ref's friend or relative.

    Someone on another site wrote: I feel sorry for Minguzzi. There will always be a doubt that he deserved to win the gold medal.

    I won't feel sorry, because there was a doubt. There is not a doubt in my mind he did not deserve to win, I'll feel sorry because I know he knows he did not deserve to win.

    in a just world, this would be reversed, and we could get back to just bad officiating.

  6. @Samf - agreed.

    @anonymous - bad call, questionable call. that's not the point. the point is his actions after the call was made.

    it's important to note though that Minguzzi had won the first round and no one questioned the calls in that round. so it was by no means guarantee that Ara Abrahamian was going to win the match.

  7. Judges in any sport ought to review a replay, when the results are in question or in doubt. Anyone might question the reason that such a championship, who have earned the silver in the previous olympics in Athens, would react in such a manner. Apparently there is a definite reason. Therefore, why in the world no one after all this, why no one is asking to review the controversy about which Mr. Abrahamian is referring to?
    I ask all people in media:"Why are you crussifying a silver medal holder and a gold medal contender?"
    Show us that controversy , replay the video, and let US judge. Only then, we can decide whether he is right or wrong, and whether the Olympic committee is right or wrong, and last but not least, whether the reporters and commentators are right or dead wrong, and they must be crussified and trashed out.
    Show us a replay. Please. If no replay is shown to public, then every commentator, especially those who degraded him, must eat their words, apologize for us all, and learn to zipp it. To prove your point, to call any one names, then back it up by proving that the judgement made was true, right, and fair. The ball is in your court. Show up, or shut up!!!

    Mike the realtruth.

  8. again we are back to this argument. that his actions could be justified depending on the judging. I disagree. just about everyone already agrees that the judging was shoddy at best. that's not th epoint. the way he handled the aftermath is the point. and I still believe it to be a disgrace.

    the replay has been shown numerous times here in Sweden. in fact I have a link to the replay in the post above. feel free to check it out. all it will show is that the judgment was not very good. and that Abrahamian followed that with a temper tantrum.

    as I mentioned in another comment in a different post:

    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.

    that is why I don't believe it was right or necessary to take the actions that Abrahamian did at the Olympic wrestling podium.

  9. Dear Anonymous, yes you are right. Abrahamian won a silver medal in Athens. It was four years ago. A lot time ago. We must forget that silver. We are in the year 2008. If we consider his most recent competition before Beijing, we see a different wrestler. His most recent triumph was one year ago. In 2007 Abrahamian took one medal in the European Championships of Tampere, Finland. It was not gold. It was not silver. It was a bronze medal. During the same competition, his opponent Andrea Minguzzi took 3rd place. (Yes, like Abrahamian, the Italian took
    a bronze medal). There was no difference between him and the Italian. In addition I know that Minguzzi took another bronze during the European Championships of Sofia, Bulgaria (2007). In the Beijing Olympic Games Minguzzi defeated Aleksey Mishin of Russia, who took Athens gold in the 84kg class. Mishin, winner of the world championship of 2007 was by all means the most favored wrestler in this weight class (Abrahamian was
    beaten by Mishim in 2004). You can see the competition Mishin vs. Minguzzi and read Mishin's opinion about the defeat against that italian. In conclusion, if we speak about wrestling skills, if we are honest, we can say that Minguzzi is a true champ and deserved that medal. If you do not believe, try watching his matches. I am very sorry about our Abrahamian and the bronze, obviously. But his reaction was wrong, and I agree with many other sportmen.
    - Björn39 -

  10. @anonymous (björn39) – a good point. And something I haven’t brought up on a consistent basis. Abrahamian wasn’t guaranteed the gold. Minguzzi was no slouch. And it’s important to note that Minguzzi had already won the first round.

    Thanks for bringing up that point Björn.

  11. Those that are "disgusted" with the "poor behaviour" of the swedish wrestler obviously have no idea the extent of the spin control to make this guy look bad. I'm not Swedish and I can say with absolute certainty that all the talk about him is crap. He was clearly in the right. For the record.. the Swedes clearly complained of the selection of the referee a good 2 weeks before the match even occurred so it's not sour grapes because he lost -- they knew the fix would be in and that's what they were protesting. Why is the IOC trying to prevent any broadcast of the video evidence? Why only select portions (the one's showing his "bad" sportsmanship)? Excuses of copyright infringement are utter crap; when you prevent people from viewing newsworthy evidence (and even bully and threaten websites to do so) it's called censorship. It should be clear to anyone that hiding evidence is not likely to occur because the IOC is innocent.

  12. @blacksoth – there has been no spin to make him look bad her ein Sweden. Instead the spin has been going in the other direction. Spinning to make him look like some sort of hero. Trying to put him on par with the political protests of Mexico City during the civil rights movement. Of the major news medias, only one columnist came out against what Abrahamian did. That’s not a whole lot of “spin” to make him look bad.

    Again, we are back to the events leading up to his actions. I have already said that by all accounts the judgment was bad. That it was a bad call. But his actions following are what scream of poor sportsmanship. There are other ways of protesting. And to accept the medal and then walk out in the middle of the ceremony while leaving your fellow competitors on the podium is unacceptable in my opinion. It smacks of disrespect for those who stood on the podium with him.

    And if you want to watch more of it check out a clip here from the Swedish media:

  13. It's just ridiculous to talk about bad sportsmansship and whatever... If a match is fixed and if it leaves you out of the final you should protest so that it gets attention. Because believe me, this isn't the only wrestling match that has been fixed.

    In what way has it been a spin to make him look like a hero? Just because they don't say he's a disgrace for the Olympics and Sweden and that they're writing about the reasons of his protest and not only labeling his protest as a "tantrum" (unlike a lot of the American newspapers you have linked us too) doesn't mean they're saying he's a hero.

    I'm honestly dissapointed about your posts about Ara's protest. Instead of writing anything true about the reason for his protest you just ridicule his protest and the whole nation of Sweden and label him as "childish" and the Swedish people as glorifying supernationalistic idiots who can't realize that the only reason for Ara's prtest and the Swedish people's reaction of it is that we are angry because we just wanted a gold medal...

    enough said

  14. @robban - It’s not ridiculous at all to talk about sportsmanship. That’s one of the hallmarks of the Olympics. Nations coming together to compete against one another. Historically, nations would lay down their arms during the Olympics. Obviously that is not happening today, you need look no further than the US in Iraq and Afghanistan and Russia in Georgia, but the point is that the Olympics have stood for respect and sportsmanship for years. So it is most definitely not ridiculous to talk about a display of poor sportsmanship.

    And I agree, if the match is fixed you should protest. Which I’ve said all along since I started writing about this. I just don’t believe that he should have protested the way he did.

    The same way the “spin” is going on in the newspapers in other parts of the world. I only used that word in response to what was written. The spin is clearly just that in Sweden, people, and the newspapers especially, agree with his actions. In other parts of the world they do not.

    I’m sorry to disappoint. But everything I’ve written as been true. I have not lied about anything. I have presented the facts and given my opinion. Plenty of people do not agree. And that’s fine. In the first post I wrote about this I said that a call went against him. That is true. In that same post I also said that he could be an ass and protest after the ceremony. But I didn’t believe, nor do I now, that he should have protested during the ceremony. Not only that, but not once have I said that I believe Sweden is only behind him because they wanted a gold medal.

    Hell, I would have even been ok if he had decided not to show up to the ceremony. But he did. At which point he should have accepted the medal. My problem is not with him protesting. My issue is not with any sort of corruption or greater conspiracy inside wrestling. My problem is with how he handled his protest of what he perceived to be a conspiracy against him.

    Obviously, not everyone agrees.

  15. Hairy Swede, I agree with you.
    That behavior was wrong.

    A week ago Ara insulted the IOC and the FILA's members in front of the journalists, charging them with corruption and connections with the mafia, without having any proof and just because he thought that.
    The IOC says that Abrahamian expressed serious unsubstantiated allegations against FILA and its President. Also, we can read:
    'The Disciplinary Commission took into consideration the emotion and frustration felt by an athlete confronted with judging decisions that he considers as entirely wrong. Such a situation may occur more frequently in sports in which the results are based on judging. Such feelings can be aggravated when, as in this case, no protests can be lodged. However, such a situation cannot justify in any way the Athlete’s behaviour consisting of taking off his medal, placing it on the floor and leaving his fellow athletes and the awards ceremony before its conclusion. The awards ceremony is a highly symbolic ritual, acknowledged as such by all athletes and other participants. Any disruption by any athlete, in particular a medalist, is in itself an insult to the other athletes and to the Olympic Movement. It is also contrary to the spirit of fair play. The fact that, in this case, the Athlete’s gesture was carried out in a calm manner does not diminish in any way the severity of the offence. Such gesture was premeditated and took place well after the disputed match. It should be noted that, in front of the Disciplinary Commission, the Athlete never expressed any regret, nor did he offer any apology for his actions.'

    if it was a fixed match, we are obliged to believe that Cuba, Switzerland, Italy and Canada are involved. In addition we must consider cheater every athlete who took part in those Greco-Roman competitions up 84 kgs, for example Mishin of Russia, Fodor of Hungary, Noumonvi of France and so on. In that case, it is not a conspiracy. It is a Sci-Fi movie.

    About wrestling rules and lodging a protest: 'The Secretary General of FILA, Michel Dusson, reiterated and confirmed FILA's position as stated in its 14 August 2008 e-mail to the IOC and emphasized the fact that, in the sport of wrestling, protests after a match were not accepted. This was a decision taken by the FILA Congress in 2000.'

    It was decided 8 years ago.
    No conspiracy.

    - Björn39 -

  16. I agree with the ruling. I think it is important to separate the various actions. and that is why I had such a hard time with what he did.

  17. The Olympic Games are a joke and have been since the 1936 games.

  18. yeah that whole jesse owens thing in front of hitler really ruined the olympics. I hate seeing evil dictators get shown up. from then on it was just downhill.

  19. Ara Abrahamian did the right thing by placing his medal on the floor. he showed people what is happening in the olympics...and the unfair judging. it wasn't a disgrace to anyone because everyone knew that he deserved to win that semifinal match. i suggest that everyone see this from his point of view it is his last olympics and he is ready to get that gold but then the biased judging is in favor of the man from italy who later goes on to get gold. Ara was just standing up for what he believed, that the olympics have become a joke wen it comes to sports with judges. although he may have wanted the gold and deserved it, in the end he just felt that the sport that he was in for so long was basically biased BS! i think he handled the situation perfectly...he shook hands with the other medalists, accepted his medal and walked off the podium and placed, not threw, his medal on the mat and walked away... the was nothing anti olympian or disgraceful about it... if it was something that all olympians who were robbed of a gold medal, or any medal, should look up to. he did not show bad sportsmanship, he just wanted to make a statement... he didnt want the bronze medal because it represented all the political shit that is taking over the world of sports. he handled his problem with the corrupt judging the best way one can by confronting it head on and showing the world that sports isnt the same anymore...its all fixed. (btw Ara Abrahamian is 100% ARMENIAN hes just just wrestling for sweden)

  20. again we are back to people just assuming that he deserved to win. had he not had a bad call go against him they would have ben going to the third and final round. both wrestlers would have then been tied. there is nothing to say that he was guaranteed a win.

    and as far as Im concerned, if you speak Swedish, have a Swedish passport, live in Sweden, and wrestle in the olympics for sweden... he's swedish.

  21. "Again we are back to this argument. that his actions could be justified depending on the judging. I disagree. just about everyone already agrees that the judging was shoddy at best. that's not th epoint. the way he handled the aftermath is the point. and I still believe it to be a disgrace." - Hairy

    I don't know about you, but when you've already been robbed once and then it happens again after YEARS of training and preparation, i don't think i would've just been cool with it and then bitch afterwards. I think ara was extremely cool about it.. I would in the heat of the moment probably have gone berserk. Otherwise i might agree with you, but i also understand Ara. He definately does not deserve to be called a disgrace for sweden, that's for sure. He got robbed and got emotionall, why is everyone gunning for him and not the bad guys?

  22. he did go berserk in the heat of the moment. and then he had time between the medal ceremony to calm down. and he still managed to throw a hissy fit at that point. refusing to congratulate his opponents and refusing the medal. I was not impressed.

    as I have said, if he had just not shown up that would have been better than the actions he did take.