Wrestler’s punishment: A rights violation


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And you thought the Chinese government was repressive.

The International Olympic Committee has decided it has the right to control the way medal winners treat their medals.

Remember Ara Abrahamian, the Swedish Greco-Roman wrestler who felt he should not have lost his semifinal match against Italy’s Andrea Minguzzi?


Remember that Abrahamian was so upset, he removed his bronze medal during the medal ceremony, walked off the podium and dropped it in the center of the mat before disappearing?

‘I didn’t deserve to lose; the system is corrupt,’ said Abrahamian afterward. ‘I don’t care about this medal.’

Well, the IOC didn’t like his attitude, and decided he should be stripped of that medal.

In a decision announced Saturday, the IOC’s executive board ruled that his treatment of the medal was a political demonstration and disrespectful to the other athletes.

The haughty board then threw him out of the Olympics and stripped him of his medal.

We knew the IOC had become chummy with the Chinese, but this is ridiculous.

In the sort of free societies that the IOC claims it supports, medal winners should be able to do whatever they want with their medal.

They should be able to sell it, frame it, play Frisbee with it. Who cares?

Heck, a young Cassius Clay once threw his medal into the Ohio River, and he didn’t turn out too badly.

The IOC has no right to strip Abrahamian of his medal. He could have eaten it on the stand and they still shouldn’t have stripped him of it.

This is the sort of thing that would happen only in China, where the IOC is currently making billions at the expense of human rights.... Oh, wait, now we understand.

-- Bill Plaschke

Photo (top): The bronze medal of Greco-Roman wrestler Ara Abrahamian lies on the competition mat in protest of the result. The Swede, who won the silver in the Athens Olympics, grudgingly climbed the podium but walked off in a huff after receiving his prize, which he then left behind. Credit: Peter Parks / AFP/Getty Images

Photo (inset): Ara Abrahamian immediately steps off the podium after receiving the bronze medal. Credit: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images