By Robert H. Kelly
In a recent article by Tom Reed of the Akron Beacon Journal, he stated that Olympic spirit is lacking by some members of the USA Olympic Team competing in Turin, Italy.
Much has been written about the Davis-Hedrick feud, Bode Miller’s attitude and failure to perform, Lindsay Jacobellis’ hot-dogging that cost her the gold medal and Mike Modano ranting and raving about USA Hockey.
I would like to take his article in a slightly different direction. When did it become acceptable not to show the proper respect when your country’s flag is raised and national anthem is played?
For many years, it has become accepted by people in the United States that proper respect (standing, removing one’s hat, placing your hand over your heart, and singing the National Anthem) is not necessary and is simply a matter of choice.
As I write, I know some will read this and think it is none of my business. One may chose to show respect in any way they desire.
I viewed two separate incidents dealing with this exact topic in the past week. Two very different incidents and neither involved the USA.
At the Olympic Games, when Italy’s men’s speed skating pursuit team received their gold medal and their national anthem was played, all four men placed their hand over their hearts and sang the Italian national anthem. All the Italians witnessing the ceremony sang with them.
It was a truly moving event. They were proud to win. They were proud for themselves, their country and all fellow Italians. They were proud to show how much they loved their country.
The second incident occurred at a soccer match between Jamaica’s Portmore United and Mexico’s Club America. The match was held in Houston at Minute Maid Park this past Wednesday, February 22.
While the national anthems of both countries were played prior to the start of the game, I rose from my seat in the press box to show proper respect. I am not a citizen or either country, but I rose to show proper for their country, as I have done my entire life. I was taught at an early age if you don’t have respect for others and their beliefs, they will not have respect for yours.
As the Mexican anthem was played, the entire Mexican team, along with their coaches and support staff stood and preformed a salute with their hand and forearm over their chest to show respect for their flag. They all sang the Mexican national anthem, along with their supporters in the stands.
I have been watching nonstop coverage of the Olympics, not only on NBC but also on the internet.
The United States has won nine gold medals in these Games. Of the nine gold medalists, I wonder how many of them showed the proper respect for our country and flag, when receiving their gold medal.
I know many out there with think what does it matter? But it does matter. It matters to me, the proud son of a veteran of World War 2, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
Has patriotism died in this country? Do we all think it is fine not to show proper respect for one’s country? I certainly hope not.
I looked for three things when USA Olympians receive their gold medals. Mind you, I was unable to see all the medal ceremonies. I have listed only the ones I personally witnessed.
So I asked of you, the knowledgeable reader, to give me your input. If you personally witnessed the medal ceremonies, let me know if you saw the following three signs of respect or not:
A. The athlete removed his/her hat when the national anthem was played.
B. The athlete placed their hand over their heart when the national anthem was
C. The athlete sang the national anthem when it was played.
The USA gold medalists are listed below, along with my personal observations.
Please post your observations and comments and I will compile the results.
Chad Hedrick: Men’s 5000 meter Speed Skating
Shaun White: Men’s Snowboard Half Pipe
Joey Cheek: Men’s 500 meter Speed Skating
Hannah Teter: Ladies’ Snowboard Half Pike
Ted Ligety: Men’s Combined Alpine Skiing
Seth Wescott: Men’s Snowboard Cross
Shani Davis: Men’s 1000 meter Speed Skating
Julia Mancuso: Ladies’ Giant Slalom
B. I could not tell. She was holding her flowers in front of her chest, but that is
Apolo Anton Ohno: Men's 500 meter Short Track Speed Skating
A. Yes (his headband was on, however, I don't consider that a hat).
As in any survey or poll, this is unscientific and is strictly for informational purposes. I know some will think that I want to find out this information so I can attack those, who did not do these things, as unpatriotic. That is not my intention at all. I just would like to see which one did them.
After all, if athletes from Italy and Mexico can show a certain measure of respect for their country, we all should find it our duty as American to do the same.