FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from







The Fall: Olympics (Opiate)/People Power
by Richard Oxman
August 29, 2004

Send this page to a friend! (click here)


A few nights ago while watching the Olympics I saw what People Power could do.

A “release move” on the high bar is a majestically impressive/extremely dangerous thing to behold in a sport that is as risky and awesome as any. Russia's four-time Gold Medalist Alexei Nemov pulled off half a dozen*, in a magisterial performance that provoked a deafening roar of approval at its finish.

*Eddie Pells of the Associated Press said, “Flying like a circus acrobat, ‘Sexy Alexei'’ put together the most daring performance of the 10 men on the high bar. He did six -- count 'em, six -- release moves, four in a row and two more with somersaults as he flew backward over the bar.” It was one of the most impressive performances within memory...of several observers, including that of gymnasts, coaches and other sportswriters.

He did take a big step forward when he landed -- a “no-no” in Olympic scoring (1) -- but the rating he received, placing him last among all the gymnasts at that juncture, was too much for the crowd to take. Fueled by last Thursday's (other) “disappointment” with the judges...who edged out Svetlana Khorkina, the infuriated Russians and disgruntled others in the audience burst out in enraged protest.

This protest, however, was not put to bed as easily as the authorities dealt with the Vlasios Maras controversy, wherein the Greeks formal challenge/appeal was simply denied.  Or as easily as they have been able to handle other troubled aspects of these protest-filled games.

The frustration of the audience culminated in a crescendo-cry for blood!

John Roesthlisberger, someone who's been a member of the American Olympic team forever said, “It was totally unbelievable. I've never seen a crowd actually call for a judges’ meeting and get one.”

Are Activist Bells ringing yet, Bulbs going on?

It only took a mere five minutes of very intense booing for the judges to change Nemov's score. And although the meager 9.762 awarded him in retrospect (without sufficient respect) kept him – ultimately -- out of the running for a medal, the positive message was clear.

One could move The Powers with Protest. They DID move The Powers with Protest.

The newly woken-up public -- disgusted with the token gesture -- booed uncontrollably until Nemov finally managed to quiet them down, indicating that he appreciated their support, but that the games should go on. The public-address announcer and all other authority figures (paid to keep order) -- it was clear -- could have done zero to quell the crowd if Alexei hadn't allowed them to put American Paul Hamm onstage to continue the olympic-sized charade.

One finger to the lips by the Russian did what none of the security forces could have accomplished.  And American Iceman Paul Hamm went on to perform a pedestrian piece (2), the Vibrations of Hate still very much in the air.

Mainstream media ambulance chasers today -- like Michelle Kaufman of Knight Ridder and AP's Eddie Pells -- are all extolling the class act displayed by (exploited) Nemov, “in the true Olympic spirit.”

But underscoring the “class act” by such establishment acts can't hide the (activist) facts; the class act that's needed in our quarters is the one that'll force the elites to cease and desist with their routine unsportsmanlike behavior.

And I'm not referring to the Highway Scoring Robbery. I'm addressing how the vast majority of the world's underclasses can demand and see significant change.

The Olympic parallel/lesson for the political world would have been having the outraged outburst of the audience, last night, obliterate business as usual in the so-called birthplace of Democracy. (3)

We have to welcome the embarrassment, the disruption of tradition, and all of the ugly consequences the come from taking a stance that has thorny edges. We must wear that Crown! Claim what's ours. We CANNOT permit ourselves to suffer the fate of Yang tae-Young**, victim of an altered standard...under the umbrella of "a scoring error."

** In fact, ALL of South Korea -- in the real world -- is the victim of a “technical error.”

“Sometimes there's a difference between what the people think they saw and what the judges think they saw,” USA Gymnastics president Bob Colarossi said.

Oh yeah?  It's time to call a spade a spade as per Arundhati Roy's words of a week ago. (4)

You see, The End is near. Paul Hamm managed to snare a Silver amidst all the shenanigans, but he was confronted -- following his perfect landing -- with what everyone is describing as “raucous boos.” I've talked to almost a hundred Olympics fans across the country since that night and not a single person thought Hamm had a right to that medal. And over 80% of them were White Middle Class Americans.

We can pull something off, officially be in this or that situation, but it doesn't mean the spoils of our warlike actions/our cruel policies will protect us.

No. I titled this article “The Fall,” not just to have fun with the words that follow it above.

Last night, Yang Tae-young banged his foot on the bar, and almost hit his knees on landing, but while the American Media extols the fact that no one can protest the fact that the South Korean finished last (5), America fails to prepare for its own fall.

“Winner” Paul Hamm, the perfect Iceman (coming through in the clutch!), reminiscent of Top Gun's Iceman, may lead America deeper into delusions about what's actually coming down, as citizens permit themselves to stay firmly ensconced in Entertainment.

But we've, unquestionably, passed the Autumn of the American Age, regardless of what happens in November.

O'Xman (Richard Oxman) is a Sports Critic/Underground Activist on the run in Los Gatos, California; he can be reached at:


(1) The technical shenanigans surrounding the scoring of landings reminds me of the sleight of hand double-standards so prominent in World Bank policies, etc.  No one has been able to explain to me why that aspect of a performance is given so much weight at times.  Consequently, I cannot view Olympic gymnastic evaluations without suspicion.

(2) Pedestrian compared to Nemov's time in the air, ambitious aims, etc.

(3) In fact, one must look toward Africa for the genesis of Democracy.

(4) See my recent review of her speech before the American Sociological Association in San Francisco.

(5) Seeming to take childlike joy in relating everything back to the earlier "controversial" flap between Hamm and another event.

Other Articles by Richard Oxman

* What a Scream!
* On Kwame Ture's Birthday: No More "Waiting for Griot"
* Organics or . . .
* The Pitts: A 9/11 Burrow of the American Family
* Sons of Malkoviches: Who Begat H.R. 3077?
* A Cell's Job: Noam Made 'Em Do It
* Nader and His Two Black Marks Amidst America's Acne
* Steel Yourself To Steal Away
* The Coming Uncivil War: The Fire This Time
* Ah!: Arsonists for Haiti?
* Oscar's Obituary
* Mandatory Same-Sex Marriage
* What To Do? Violence Reconsidered
The Clint Stones: Oscar Honors Violence Part I with Sylvie Oxman
* God's Grandeur
* The Party’s Over Party
* Leavitt and The Utahnization of America

* Michael Moore Apologists Are Not What We Need