Is it really classy if you diss the rules?

I was in Vancouver this weekend, so I missed the last leg of excitement with the Olympics.

And by that I mean the home-grown excitement and heartbreak that was the men’s 4x100m final.

Canada’s Jared Connaughton after finding out of his team’s disqualification in the 4×100 metre relay at the London Olympics Saturday night. (AL CHAREST/QMI AGENCY)

I went to high school with Jared Connaughton, at good ole Bluefield in Hampshire, PEI. From pretty early on he was a track star, no question. I did track and field in those days (well, mostly field) and his events were always a must-watch. He’s an incredible athlete and it’s amazing what he’s accomplished.

And I have no doubt stepping over the line and “costing” us the bronze was hugely demoralizing. I can’t imagine having that pressure on your shoulders, being the only returning member of the team from Bejing, making that kind of mistake.

And I give him credit for taking responsibility for the loss. That’s admirable.

But a lot has been made of Jared’s apology/speech. And I keep reading how he handled the loss with “grace.” And maybe that’s true. I didn’t see the reaction, the interviews, and the coverage as it happened live.

Here’s some quotes from The Guardian’s article on the race.

“You are a young man of world class. To accept full responsibility for this unfortunate turn of events in such a gracious way certainly speaks volumes about you as a person.”

“Jared Cannaughton showing the world what a true Island man is made of, pure class!”

Etc. Etc.

But then I read this:

Connaughton told Vancouver Sun columnist Cam Cole it is a “stupid rule.”

“It used to be three consecutive steps (on the line), now it’s one. Again, the one false start rule is stupid, the one step on the line is stupid. So many officials in this sport set the athletes up to fail. It’s a game of inches, and it’s so unforgiving,” he said.

I’m not sure how “classy” a defeat is, if you’re dissing the rules of your sport.

I may get flamed ad naseum for writing this. And don’t get me wrong, I’m proud to say that I went to school with Jared, that he’s an Islander, that he did humbly take responsibility for what happened. And that he’s a world-championship athlete.

But isn’t it interesting how the media latches on to one truth, and blissfully ignores another?


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