Wrestling: Touching retirement speech of Edge

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West Ham striker Cole gets charged by FA for “immigration” tweet

Twitter seems to be a new and spread hobby in the circle of high profile sportspeople. But it causes more and more problems. The latest case of  West Ham striker Carlton Cole, who has been charged with improper conduct by the FA for comments, made on his Twitter feed during England and Ghana’s friendly match in March, feed the debate if sportspeople should be allowed to use Twitter and social networks or if they should be restricted by rules.

See this article:  World Football – Cole charged for ‘immigration’ tweet

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Wales assistant boss Verheijen and his eruption on Twitter

Wales assistant boss Raymond Verheijen called journalists „incompetent amateurs“ in a tweet, because they reported of Gareth Bale’s injury in the build-up to Wales’ 2-0 defeat by England on Sunday, 27th April. In fact, there was no injury. Furthermore – he didn’t train at all.

His point of view is that the journalists who reported about the injury are “incompetent amateurs” and he does a good job in tweeting ‘honest’ things and speaks out his mind.           

Is it right to blame journalists for news coverage, which probably doesn’t meet the reality?

To approach an answer we have to be clear about our contemporary media system. From an outset it has two major functions, which stand often in a conflict to each other. The first is the serious notion of news gathering and processing as a watchdog over the powerful. Basically, the media is an estate for informing the public sphere. The second function came when media companies built up, which operated in accordance to the free market model. They construct the idea of the ‘public interest’. And this idea generates money, especially for the political, economical and social elite and the ownership. Because it serves their interests. To generate sales, reach audiences and stay ahead of the competing media companies, you need to be the first who brings the news and sensations. The sensationalism is a crucial part to approach topics and attract readers such as viewers. The effectiveness is measured in sales and viewing rates.

A well educated journalist usually has the ambition to write and generate quality content. But the media system mostly doesn’t require investigative journalism with a precise research and allocating sources. It is even too expensive. This job of research, if we leave out the word ‘precise’ is now done by news agencies, which supply the TV-stations, newspapers and media in general, with news. So, nowadays less journalists have seen or researched on their own what they report about. They depend on the correctness of others work. This is another reason why false news can appear.

Media creates news and pseudo-events to meet commercial interests of their advertisers and their shareholders. It is clear that quality suffers from it.

This system is questionable, of course. But Verheijen is a part of this system, also if he doesn’t seem to be aware of it. He enjoys privileges of the media coverage of soccer and its stories behind, as well. Such as a notable salary.

I don’t say that the system is good. But if he wants to change and improve something, he should enter the media business. As an assistant boss of a football club, he is not in charge to judge about the quality of media coverage. Hence, he isn’t qualified for that.

Moreover, with his statements he has shown that he is absolutely not aware of the media mechanism. He was tricked by the danger of Twitter and co – the simple usability repeatedly misled people to write spontaneously and emotional, which some regret later.

So, if someone wants to find a person or a lobby to blame in particular –  the owners, shareholders, politics and advertisers are in charge of that. In short: The social elite, but not the journalists, who are restricted by the system, as well.

Should clubs and sporting organisations control who uses Twitter and social networks for reporting or should high profile sports personalities even be prohibited to use Twitter?

 Twitter and social networks can be used by everyone, if it is a private or a public person. This system is based on the idea of freedom of expression and shouldn’t be undermined by a sporting organisation. So, a sporting organisation shouldn’t forbid anyone to tweet, write a blog or post things in social networks.

A sporting organisation or club should intervene in so far, that they build up rules about what can be said, what not and to which time. News which are traditionally covered by the media shouldn’t be first revealed on Twitter by a sports personality. A person which works for an organisation represents this. He might speak out his point of view. But he can damage the reputation of his organisation with it, as well. In addition, there should be a clause, that forbids insults of any kind and against anyone. Therefore it should be in the organisation’s own interest to control their image by rules for online content, created by sports personalities.

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The Olympic Rings

The Olympic rings were designed by Pierre De Coubertin, who also reintroduced the Games in 1896. He introduced his first draft of the rings and the flag in 1914.

 

He developed the logo further by giving the rings colours.

“The Olympic flag … has a white background, with five interlaced rings in the centre: blue, yellow, black, green and red … This design is symbolic ; it represents the five inhabited continents of the world, united by Olympism, while the six colours are those that appear on all the national flags of the world at the present time.”

 – Pierre De Coubertin (1931) –

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The reintroduction of the Olympic Games

The time between the Games is 4 years, which equates to the time measurement of one Olympia. So, the Olympic Games were named after the city Olympia. And the ancient Greeks named the time period of 4 years, in which the games took place, after the city.

Today this term is understood as the name for the modern Olympic Games. Their story began at the end of the 19th century. Since 394 AD no Olympic Games took place anymore, until the French baron Pierre de Coubertin suggested in 1896, that they should be carried out again.

Besides the sportive aspect, he had the idea of international understanding in mind. Since then, the Games were interrupted only by the war years – the two world wars of the 6th, 12th and 13th Olympic Games. 

They were further developed to an international sports event with almost any sport discipline. Participation is open to athletes of all countries.

They are carried out as Olympic Summer Games, every 4 years and in strict accordance to the rules of the classical ancient Games. From 1924 on Olympic Winter Games took place, as well.

picture: opening firework of the Olympic Games in Barcelona, 1992

 The Olympic Games after their reintroduction – sorted by date

1896 Athen 1952 Helsinki
1900 Paris 1956 Melbourne
1904 St. Louis 1960 Rom
1908 London 1964 Tokio
1912 Stockholm 1968 Mexico City
1916 Berlin cancelled due to war 1972 Munich
1920 Antwerpen 1976 Montreal
1924 Paris 1980 Moscow
1928 Amsterdam 1984 Los Angeles
1932 Los Angeles 1988 Seoul
1936 Berlin 1992 Barcelona
1940 Tokyo cancelled due to war 1996 Atlanta
1944 London cancelled due to war 2000 Sydney
1948 London 2004 Athen

                                                                                                 2008               Beijing

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Rethinking sport culture and its taboos

The current case of the English cricket player Steven Davies, who announced his homosexuality, raises diverse questions about how far our sport culture and tolerance is developed. Not that he would be the first sport personality, who announces, that he is gay. What is special in his case –  he is at the beginning of his career. Other sportsmen made this confession much later. The rugby player Gareth Thomas came out recently, but he is already established and an old-timer in his occupation. The ex-basketball player John Amaechi had his coming out after his career end.

Achievements in homosexuality

In the last decades, our modern society could achieve a great progress in different areas. The acceptance for homosexuality became bigger, as well. Let’s have a look at different pillars of our system and to which extent homosexuality is integrated in it?

Germanys foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, is gay. The major of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, is gay as well. He had his coming-out in a press-conference in 2001, when he was a candidate for the office of the major. There he said his legendary sentence, which became an icon for many gay people: “Ich bin schwul und das ist auch gut so.” (engl. “I’m gay and that’s a good thing.”) He won the election for major office.

There are artists, which are gay. Elton John is an example. He is married and he recently adopted a child with his husband. So, homosexuality is even accepted by the state, the highest institution in our system.

Why is homosexuality still such a sensitive and mostly concealed issue in the world of sport?

One approach could be, that sport is still a men’s domain. I had a look in the “Irish Independent” today, 1st of March 2011. It contains 15 pages sport coverage. The only article in it, about women’s sport, was 4-sentences “strong” and about women’s tennis.

The macho culture still exists in many sports. Many heterosexual men don’t consider gay men as “real men”, also if they don’t speak it out loud. I can only assume, what people could have for a problem with watching a gay player or even play with him in one team.

Another question, which appears is: What does it has for an impact on a human being when he/she cannot be the person he/she is and always has to hide his/her true self? We all know that this can lead to depression. 

Do the structures of the sport world lie far back behind in comparison to our achievements in society?

The answer is: Yes. Only the catholic church is worse in ignoring developments of modern society. But directly after this, the sport lobby appears. 

We can see a slow development. This is better than nothing. The world of sport needs more strong characters, like Davies, who don’t hide their homosexuality. The chance of more openness in sport with homosexuality is, that it helps to change this traditional macho environment into a more liberal.

The target should be that sport achieves an equivalent development to the modern society.

No one should have to hide himself/herself for his/her sexuality anymore and being restricted in his/her life or his/her occupation for it.

Furthermore, it shouldn’t be something to announce in an interview or even in a press conference. A heterosexual also doesn’t announce, that he/she likes the other gender. It is how it is. And so it should be, to be gay.

When homosexuality is considered as normal as heterosexuality, the world would be a better place for many people.

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The Olympic Games in the ancient world (Part 2)

In the 4th century BC, the first cases of corruption appeared, by trying to buy victory and casted a shadow over the games.

The Hellenistic period of the Olympic Games was dominated by professional athletes. So, the Greek public and the rulers were very interested in competitive sports, once again. The fame, that the professional athletes could gain in the competition was a worth of real money for them. 

In ancient times, the sports competitions were events of the higher-class-society, who were only allowed to watch them. And also the athletes, which participated in the Games came from well-heeled families. No slaves and women were allowed to be athletes. An athlete had to swear that he has trained for at least 10 months and that he acts in the name of the gods.

In 85 BC the Roman violent ruler Sulla robbed the shrine from Olympia and moved the Games to Rome. In the period of the late roman republic, the Game fell down to a regional event, again.

At the beginning of the Roman Empire, the Olympics attracted the attention of the imperial family. The horses quadriga of the future emperor Tiberius won at the Games of the 194th Olympics in 4 BC.

In 65 AD, the emperor Nero has changed the year of the Games to 67 AD to participate as an athlete himself. He won in 6 disciplines: wagon race with 4 horses, 4 fouls, contests of the heralds, the tragedian and the kitharodian. The competitions of the tragedian and the kitharodian had been brought to those Games, especially for Nero’s desire. He guided the wagon by himself. Although he  fell during the race, he was announced as the winner. No one else had a realistic chance, because it was clear before, that no one else can be accepted as a winner than the emperor himself.

Till mid of the 3rd century AD the Olympics progressed. But for the subsequent period, documents about the Olympics became less.

The destruction of the Olympic sanctuary began around 260 AD, when a battlement was built of bricks from demolished buildings in Olympia, to protect the Heruli from the attacks of the Germanic tribe. Games still took place, but probably on a smaller scale.

The last Olympics, the 293rd took place in 393 AD. In 394 emperor Theodosius banned the Games, which he considered as a pagan cult. With the Greek religion, the Olympic Games of the ancient world had come to an end, as well.

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