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US tennis player makes racket over the Olympic spirit
Aug 16, 2008

In today's Los Angeles Times Bill Dwyre recounts James Blake's' disappointment in Gonzalez's not calling a point on himself over what appeared to be a ball hitting his racket in a disputed call. Read Full Article 

Just yesterday I posted on an article about the concern by an Olympic committee searching for "gallant behavior" on the part of Olympic athletes. In a semi-finals tennis match, James Blake expressed concern about his opponent's acknowledging that a ball may have hit his racket, thus costing Blake a point at a critical point in the match.  The chair umpire claimed he did not see it.  Blake looked to Gonzalez to call a point on himself, which Gonzalez did not do. 

"I've spoken all week about how much I've enjoyed my Olympic experience, how much I love the other athletes," Blake said. "These guys go out and compete their hardest. Win fair and square. Lose fair and square."So this is a disappointing way to exit the tournament, when you not only lose the match, but lose a little faith in your fellow competitor."

Blake said that Gonzalez "clearly knew" the ball had ticked his racket and said that had been confirmed when he got off the court and received several e-mails from friends who had seen a replay. "I'll still have fond memories of the Olympic experience," Blake said. "But . . . it is a little disappointing. It disappoints me a little more in my competition, than the whole Olympic spirit, because I haven't seen anything like that in these Olympics. "We know when it [the ball] touches us. And he knew that. You call it yourself because it is the right thing to do."

"Should I expect him to do that? Maybe not. Maybe I shouldn't expect people to hold themselves to high standards of sportsmanship. But yes, I did expect a little more in the Olympics. We are competing under the banner of this event, to promote sportsmanship, to promote goodwill amongst countries."

Gonzalez, of course, was taken aback at what hit him in his news conference. "We are out on the court for two hours," he said, "and I didn't feel anything. It was just one point." He also said that, if he was "100% sure about it "hitting his racket, he would have called it on himself."There is an umpire," he said.

When winning at all costs supersedes the  importance of sportsmanship and doing what is right, it gives one reason to pause and reflect on the fact that how we do what we do determines how we will be remembered.  If in fact the Blake's ball hit the Gonzales' racket, how Gonzales dealt with that will be part of his Olympic experience and a memory not be forgotten. 


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