Sunday Aug 24, 2008

A Day of Taekwondo

Well, I finally made it to an Olympic event. I spent from 3 pm until 9 pm yesterday at the Beijing Science and Technology University Gymnasium watching the semi-finals and finals for the +80 kg men and +67 kg women weight classes in Taekwondo. I dabbled a bit in Taekwondo about a decade ago, had a basic understanding of the sport, and thought it'd be cool to watch as an Olympic competition... it was indeed.

Ole! Ole!

It seemed that Mexico's Maria del Rosario Espinoza, who eventually took the gold, brought her own cheering squad straight from a Mexican football match. They were at least 50 strong, and they were certainly a presence to be dealt with. Mexican flags, Sombreros, Red, Green and White wigs, cheering in unison, the works.

Here's a photo of some of them during an uncharacteristically relaxed moment:

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I kinda expected to hear a loud "Goooooooaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllllllll" when Ms. Espinoza scored a point.

And, here's a shot of Ms. Espinoza doing just that against Norway's Nina Solheim:

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Six Pictures

I want to add more commentary, but am watching the closing ceremonies right now. In the meantime, here are six shots which I hope you'll like:

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The rest of the photos from the day are here.

Ugliness

btw, I did see it when Angel Matos kicked the referee in the face following his disqualification:

Both stories are a bit off. For example, there was no "day of confusion on the mats"... there were two challenges which were dealt with what appeared to be a professional manner. And, it was both the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) which were set to institute bans on Mr. Matos... who was just plain out of control.

My immediate reaction was that he was going to lifetime bans, as well as possibly facing criminal charges. I read an account which said those are being investigated. In any event, I don't think he's on a "Friends of Raul" list at the moment.

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