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Not Gold, Silver or Bronze, just Lead


No amount of the hydrogen-PC isotope could keep the USOC's elcubo-skin balloon Humble Jingoist afloat, as evidenced by its post launch-attempt statement.

USOC Statement
Statement regarding U.S. athletes celebrating with the American flag in Athens

By Jim Scherr // USOC Chief Executive // May 18, 2004

May 18, 2004

Statement From United States Olympic Committee Chief Executive Jim Scherr Regarding U.S. Athletes Celebrating with the American Flag at the Athens Olympic And Paralympic Games

"The United States Olympic Committee wants to make it absolutely clear that we have not -- and will not -- instruct our athletes to refrain from waving the United States flag during the upcoming Athens Olympic and Paralympic Games. Any suggestions or statements to the contrary do not reflect the official position of our organization.

Athletes will be free, as always, to celebrate their performances in an exuberant, respectful way during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We will remind our athletes that they are guests of the Olympic movement, Greece, and the city of Athens and to be good ambassadors of our country, their communities, families and sports. We want our athletes to be champions who conduct themselves with class and, if it is the case, to lose with grace and dignity. Additionally, we are reminding them to treat the United States flag with the respect it deserves.

One of the proudest moments of my life was to put on my USA warm-up and represent my country at the 1988 Olympic Games. I know our athletes feel the same way today and we will not in any way infringe upon that honor.

Accomplishments of athletes and teams such as the 1980 United States Olympic Hockey Team, the great Billy Mills, swimming legend Janet Evans and countless others have inspired our nation. We are certain that the athletes who represent the United States at the 2004 Olympic and Paralympic Games will do the same."

Contrast that with lead balloon no. 1—Mike Moran, former spokesman and current athlete-behavior consultant for the United States Olympic Committee:

What I am trying to do with the athletes and coaches is to suggest to them that they consider how the normal things they do at an event, including the Olympics, might be viewed as confrontational or insulting or cause embarrassment....

Unfortunately, using the flag as a prop or a piece of apparel or indulging in boasting behavior is becoming part of our society in sport because every night on TV we see our athletes—professional, college or otherwise—taunting their opponents and going face-to-face with each other.

We are trying for 17 days to break that culture. What I am telling the athletes is, 'Don't run over and grab a flag and take it round the track with you.' It's not business as usual for American athletes. If a Kenyan or a Russian grabs their national flag and runs round the track or holds it high over their heads, it might not be viewed as confrontational. Where we are in the world right now, an American athlete doing that might be viewed in another manner.

(via Charles Johnson, "US Athletes Told to Cool it at Olympics," Little Green Footballs, May 16, 2004); and with lead balloon no. 2—Bill Martin, acting president of the United States Olympic Committee:

We are not the favourite kid in the room as a country. We are sensitive to the issue of flaunting and jingoism in its raw sense. This is going to be a tough Games for us as a country.

(via DeoDuce, "More Ridiculous and Other Matter," The Daily Spork, May 29, 2004).
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