One of the best parts of any Olympics is seeing the athletes from the smaller countries, for whom the games represents much more than a shot at a sponsorship deal. We’re always hearing about so-and-so winning so-and-so’s first ever medal, and going home to a hero’s welcome in his new gold-plated hovermansion.
Then there’s Rasul Boqiev, Tajikistan’s first ever Olympic medalist. He had to leave the country to find work. And you thought our economy was in trouble.
Last month we introduced you to Fletcher Thornton, a member of USA Judo’s executive board. No we didn’t literally introduce you to this guy, that would be a little scary - especially if you were a teenage girl.
We introduced you to the allegations that Thornton drugged and sexually molested teenagers he had coached in the late 1970s. The allegations that came to light as a result of a blog post written by one of USA Judo’s top athletes, Ronda Rousey on her own Web site and message posted on JUDO FORUM. Along with these allegations, Rousey also mentioned that USA Judo had ignored the accusations against Thornton.
Today THE NEW YORK TIMES reports that Thornton has resigned, “A statement by USA Judo said that Thornton resigned Friday, effective at midnight. He was in Orlando, Fla., to referee Junior Olympic matches at Walt Disney World on Friday.”
World judo champion Yurisel Laborde disappeared in Miami after winning a gold in the Pan American Championships last week. The Cuban athlete left a note of explanation and took all her belongings with her. (We imagine that’s a short note: “Guess. Later!”)
(We suspect she can take care of herself)
She stood to be an Olympic favorite in Beijing this summer. It’s not clear how this will affect her ability to attend the Olympics for any country. While it is still possible Laborde could rejoin the team and head back to Cuba Monday, it seems terribly unlikely.
The ASSOCIATED PRESS reports that Russians who want to learn martial arts in the privacy of their own dank, cinder block Soviet-era apartments have had their prayers answered. Russian
murderer President Vladimir Putin has released an instructional video on Judo.
Putin recorded the video with Japanese Judo champion Yasuhiro Yamashita, which is intended as a supplement to a Judo manual written by Putin several years ago.
We wouldn’t be afraid to take on Putin in the squared circle, it’s the pre-match meal we’d be worried about.