The Beijing Olympics have come to a close and by all accounts have been a success. Kudos to you Beijing, although I still don’t have it in my top five vacation destinations.

The games will be remembered for Michael Phelps’ eight gold medals or Usain Bolt’s blazing speed in the 100 and 200, but for me the memory is Angel Matos kicking Chakir Chelbat.

image of Angel Matos kicking Chakir Chelbat, courtesy of nydailynews.com

 

Sounds innocent enough given the sport is Taekwondo but Chelbat was the referee and when a referee gets kicked intentionally by a competitor – that is funny.

I watched the video of the incident several times and each time it brought a smile to my face. It was a good kick, well executed. Clearly Matos has talent.

It got me thinking – is it justified/understandable? Here is an athlete that has trained in Cuba for four years leading up to the Olympics. He is in his final match and it isn’t the gold medal match – this was for the bronze. Win you get a medal, lose you finish in possibly the worst place you can at the Olympics. Fourth. He was winning by one point when he was hit by his opponent and fell to the mat. In taekwondo you get a full minute of injury time after which you are disqualified. Matos took the full minute and a few seconds later was awarded his fourth place… medal.

His argument was that the referee and judges were too strict with the ruling. Now there would be my first area of disagreement with Matos – as a spectator, I think I’d like the referees to be strict about rules in the Olympics. He made his point by kicking the referee in the face, pushing a judge and horking on the mat. That, my friends, is funny stuff.

image of Beijing Olympics 2008 I realize that taekwondo is just a subset of MMA but the coverage of TKD at these Olympics does not help anyone’s delusion about MMA becoming an Olympic sport. In addition to the Matos comedy, there was a match in women’s TKD that was overturned after the bout that impacted the medals awarded. A kick was initially not ruled “solid” enough for points but after a protest it was deemed to hurt the opponent just enough to score two points. Please don’t subject MMA to this type of scoring system for the sake of “mainstream”.

Taekwondo – the way of the foot and fist – was on display at the Olympics and it at least gave me a chuckle.

Run as fast as you can Usain Bolt, and congratulations to you Michael Phelps but a gold medal also goes to you Angel Matos – you made me laugh.