Monday, August 25, 2008
It was everything the event was not supposed to be. The Olympics should embody sportsmanship and fair play. Taekwondo is about discipline and civility in a fight.
Unfortunately Cuba’s Angel Vaoldia Matos forgot about both in the heat of his bronze medal bout.
Matos was leading 3-2 against Kazakhstan’s Arman Chilmanov when he slumped to the floor rubbing his leg. When he was disqualified for exceeding a minute’s injury time, his coach rushed on to the mat and Matos exploded in anger, reacting to the referee’s call by clocking him with a well-aimed kick to the head.
The discipline of the taekwondo mat descended into chaos as both Matos and coach stormed out, with the head of the World Taekwondo Federation in hot pursuit.
The sport’s governing body reacted swiftly and strongly. Both were banned for life from the sport for what the federation said was behaviour that strongly violated “the spirit of taekwondo and the Olympic Games.”
Matos’s bouts in Beijing were struck from the Olympic record. Order was restored.
Somewhere you just know a Democrat is going to blame this on the Cuban Embargo (and a Republican is going to blame it on Castro).