Robin watches Chris jump
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.
So we're just back from the athletics, which were fun but not particularly eventful (I quite like sports with a plot that unfolds over the course of a match - you don't really get that with a 400m sprint, somehow). Kelly Holmes had made the 1500m final and GB long jumper Chris Tomlinson had come a very respectful 5th overall (that's him in the picture). And then came the 200m.
As you probably know Kenteris - the Greek 200m winner in Sydney - is missing from these games after missing a drug test, having a curious motorbike accident and then pulling out of the games. As the runners lined-up for the 200m, the Greeks started chanting his name. Fair enough. But they kept chanting it. And booing the US runners (not quite sure why it's their fault Kenteris kept missing drug tests).
Because the runners need silence to hear the gun, the race was delayed for a good five minutes despite repeated requests for quiet. They just kept whistling, booing and chanting Kenteris's name.
Eventually a well-spoken English bloke near me stood up and started shouting at our section, who were well into the booing and chanting. 'You should be ashamed!' he hollered. 'This is not clever. This is a pity. You should be ashamed!'
Around this point they shut up enough for the race to be run - but many booed and whistled throughout the race and, particularly, at the end when the 3 US runners took all the medals.
'The Greeks love a fairytale,' said the Greek man next to me. 'They can't believe Kenteris took drugs, so they have to make up theories why he's not here and blame other people.' He looked quite embarassed at the booing (and didn't join in at all).
I've just checked the BBC site and the headline is 'Crowd mars sprint showdown'. After all the good work Greece has done for itself during these Games, it'd be a real shame if things like this managed to undo it all. Fair enough chant his name for a bit, but to disrupt the race like that was just rude and petulent. And, like the man said, not clever.