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Sports | Zooming In

July 31, 2012

Zooming In: Olympics Day Five

Bringing you the top Olympic stories that aren't covered in the USA! USA! USA!

Justin Adler

Zooming In London Olympics 2012

If hyperlocal was the journalism trend of 2011, then hyperinternational is today's hotness. (It's also possible we just made it up.) That's why Gelf Magazine and Deadspin have decided to showcase the best—or at least the most interesting—foreign-produced journalism with our new feature—Zooming In: The Olympic Edition.

Throughout the Games, we’ll comb through hundreds of international news publications to bring you stories and local perspectives that can’t be found stateside. Each day, we'll give you our top five finds, giving you the chance to be as globally cultured as foreign-government-controlled papers permit.

Think of it as Doctors Without Borders, except that instead of saving people's lives overseas, we're giving you snippy recaps of their articles.

Today we're looking at Kiwi mums, Olympic fever, and bold German predictions.

Kiwi Kayaker Gets Dinged By His Mom | New Zealand

Imagine you've spent your whole life training, you’ve traveled halfway around the world to complete in your sports biggest event. And then your mom gives you a two-second penalty for touching a gate.

That’s what happened to Kiwi slalom kayaker Mike Dawson, whose mother is an event judge, according to an article in New Zealand’s Stuff (which seems to be unrelated to that other Stuff).

Yesterday, Dawson made it through to the semifinals of qualifying rounds despite hitting a gate during his run—a no-no for slalom kayakers. The official to mark Dawson down for that offense was none other than his mother, Kay Dawson, who is an experienced judge for the event both domestically and internationally. The elder Dawson told Stuff that there's no issue—she knows a lot of the competitors, and has practice putting her emotions on hold.

The IOC isn't concerned about a potential conflict of interest either (and frankly, they wouldn't have a leg to stand on if they were), saying, "If it were an issue, then the ICF technical committee would never have proposed Kay Dawson as a judge for the Olympic Games in the first place."

For his part, Dawson said of the infraction, "I hit it [gate 5] and she gave me my touch. I wasn't sure it was a touch, so we'll sort that one out later." Sounds like the family dinner will be a bit more animated than usual.

There’s Got To Be A Gold Medalist In Here Somewhere | India

The country of India is historically terrible at sports. Despite the second-largest pool of potential athletes in the world, they've won exactly one gold medal in the last 32 years. (Millionaire playboy Abhinav Bindra won the 10m Air Rifle event in Beijing.)

That dearth of hardware prompted a 2003 ESPN article, None in a Billion" about Indian athletic futility" and the Indian government-sponsored Olympic Gold Quest program, which works with various sports programs in the country to identify and nurture 21 athletes that have potential medal-winning talent.

That investment, it seems, is already paying off: Hyderabadi sharpshooter Gagan Narang claimed a bronze in London in the same event that Bindra won last Olympiad.

It's not quite gold, but India will take it. In fact, the whole country seems to be going a bit overboard: DNA India reports that famous cricketers and Bollywood stars have tripped over themselves to declare Gagan the Pride of India and the Deccan Chronicle notes that a leading electronics manufacturer is creating a special edition of its tablet PCs called the "Narang" in honor of the now-most-famous athlete in India.

Olympic Fever Actually Making Some Fans Sick | China

“Midnight soup” for the late-night Olympic viewer’s soul. That concoction of herbal ingredients is what some private hospitals in China are recommending for crazed fans that fight the six-to-seven-hour time difference to watch the games live. reports that many Chinese fans are using face masks at work to avoid looking like they have been up all night. Others simply roll into work bleary-eyed.

The article also reports that convenience stores and fast food restaurants in Australia are experiencing a spike in sales due to late night snacking, which has some worried about obesity. The president of the Australian Medical Association warned late night sports fans that eating too much junk food late at night is not good for their health. Dr. Obvious also cautioned fans that if they don't get enough sleep, they will be in serious danger of going "berserk."

"We don't want people to have car accidents because they're fatigued and fall asleep on the way home from work," he added.

Germany Could Use a Few Medals | Germany

There's perhaps a bit of embarrassment going around at the University of Leipzig, whose researchers issued a tightly-braided medal prediction of 15 golds,19 silvers and 20 bronzes, with zero margin for error, as reported in The Local. The national team isn't anywhere close to that pace.

So this week, Germany’s major news outlets are indulging in a bit of self-flagellation on its front pages, bemoaning its to-date flat medal count as a national failure. "Medals, where are you?" asks Spiegel Online, with more than a hint of childlike yearning. And both the Bild and Frankfurter Rundschau ran with "False Start" on its front page, chiding their Olympians for the paltry showing. "Man (and woman), are we bad,” rues Bild, via translation in The Local. “Even the Kazakhs are laughing at us,” the paper adds, a cold knock which any proud Teutonic citizen will recognize as a supreme marker of embarrassment.

Africans Boxers Disappointed By Shoddy Judging | Kenya

Two of Africa's top Olympic Boxers, Botswana’s Oteng Oteng and his main rival Benson Gicharu Njangiru of Kenya were supposed to be on a collision course at this year's Olympics. Yet both were eliminated yesterday, and Kenya’s Standard Digital claims nefarious judging played a role in the boxers’ losses.

Oteng Oteng was the first to lose in a shocking fashion, as the judges scored his match 14-12 in favor of his opponent, Puerto Rico's Javier Ocasio. Oteng was so confident that he had dominated the match, that he was celebrating in the ring before the decision was even announced. The crowd is said to have loudly voiced its disapproval of the judge's decision.

Njangiru lost to Egyptian Hesham Abdelaal by a score of 19-16. The crowd once again showered the arena with boos of disapproval, but Njangiru was gracious in defeat, refusing to allege any foul play. His coaches were a little less hesitant, though. One said, "We cannot understand this decision because Benson was clearly on the lead."

One anonymous official from Team Kenya went even further, telling Standard Media, "Both Botswana and Kenya have been robbed. This is serious and we must protest."

Oh Olympic boxing, will you ever change?

David Goldenberg, Kate Bennert, Isaac Rauch, Max Lakin, and Tom Ley contributed to this article.

Justin Adler

Justin Adler is a graduate of the University of Arizona. He blogs here.

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Article by Justin Adler

Justin Adler is a graduate of the University of Arizona. He blogs here.

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