Thursday, Apr 19, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio


Time off for bad behavior

AND the gold medal for the most boorish behavior goes to? Let's all chant it together: "USA! USA!"

Despite winning 25 medals, second only to Germany and the second-highest medal haul in Winter Olympic Games history, the United States will take something else away from the two-week extravaganza in Torino, Italy - a reputation for immature and embarrassing behavior.

Let's acknowledge that the great majority of American athletes competing in Italy performed to the best of their abilities and remained sportsmen true to the Olympic ideals.

What could be more inspiring than the stunning act of generosity of gold-medal winning U.S. speed skater Joey Cheek? Cheek donated $40,000 in bonus money to Right to Play, a Canadian-based charity helping children in Chad and Zambia, a gesture which inspired some of his teammates and competitors as well as U.S. corporations to make contributions and pledges of their own that surpassed $500,000 by the close of the Olympics.

But there were several American athletes who were so consumed with self-gratification and petty arguments that they gave fresh meaning to an old cliche - "ugly Americans."

Snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis' decision to showboat just short of the finish line led to a fall and cost her the gold medal. Figure skater Johnny Weir blamed a tardy bus for his poor performance. Aerial freestyle skier Jeret Peterson was sent home early from the games after punching out a friend after a night of drinking.

But those folks are also-rans in this particular Olympic category. The medal winners trounced the field. Speed-skaters Chad Hedrick and Shani Davis take the silver and bronze - you decide the order - for their childish and very public bickering.

The gold? Finally, a prize for skiier Bode Miller. Miller had been expected to compete for medals in five events. He got none, and wasn't even able to complete three of the five. Still, he insisted he had an "awesome Olympics."

We assume he was explaining that the bars and nightlife of Torino, which he got to know quite well, were wonderful.

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