Reflections by comrade Fidel
A GOLD MEDAL FOR HONOUR
If one were to statistically
work out the number of facilities, sport fields and sophisticated pieces of
equipment we just saw in the recently concluded Olympic Games which are accessible
to every one million of the world's inhabitants, the number of swimming pools
for diving and polo, artificial underfoot for track and field competitions or
field hockey, basketball and volleyball courts, rapids for kayak races, cycle
tracks for speed-bike races, firing ranges, and so on and so forth, one could
conclude that they are beyond the reach of 80 percent of the countries that
were represented in Beijing, which is equivalent to billions of people around
If one calculates the total number of people living in India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam, the Philippines and other countries, not to mention the world's nearly 900 million Africans and more than 550 million Latin Americans, one will have an idea of the number of people around the world who have no access to these kinds of sport facilities.
It is in this light that we ought to analyze the news
that surrounded the Olympic Games in
The world enjoyed the Olympics because it was something it needed, because we wanted to see the smiles and emotions shown by the athletes who participated, particularly those who came in first place, whose perseverance and discipline were duly acknowledged.
Which one of them could be blamed for the colossal inequalities which exist in the world it was our lot to live in? How can one forget, on the other hand, the hunger, malnutrition, lack of schools, teachers, hospitals, doctors, medications and basic means of sustenance that the world endures?
We are aware of what those who pillage and exploit the world we live in evidently want. Why did they unleash violence and make the risk of war more imminent the same day in which the Olympic Games were inaugurated? That happened but 16 days ago.
Now, when the anesthesia has worn off, the world must again face its distressing and growing problems.
Some days ago, I wrote about Cuban sports. I had long been condemning the repulsive, mercenary-like maneuvers perpetrated against this revolutionary activity and writing in defense of the courage and honorable conduct of our athletes.
In the course of the competitions, I reflected on these
matters. Perhaps I would not have decided to write something on the issue so
soon had the incident involving the Cuban tae kwon do athlete, Angel Valodia Matos, who became an Olympic champion in
It was customary of the athlete to bravely endure the lesions that frequently arise in a tae kwon do match. The referee suspended him during the match when he was winning three to two. It wasn't the only incident. In these types of matches, the referee has all the power and the athlete has none. The two Cubans, the tae kwon do athlete and trainer, were barred from participating in international competitions ever again.
I saw when the referees shamelessly robbed two Cuban boxers of their victory during the semifinals. Our boxers put up a dignified and courageous fight, they were constantly on the offensive. They had their hopes set on winning, in spite of the referees. But to no avail: their fate had been sealed beforehand. I didn't see Correa's fight, where he was also robbed of his victory.
I feel no duty to remain silent about the deeds of this
mafia. The latter has managed to make a mockery of the Olympic Committee rules.
What they did to the young members of our boxing team, to complete the work of
those who make a living out of stealing
The Cuban athletes who competed in
What dignity they showed during the competitions!
Professional athletics were introduced into the Olympics because of commercial interests which turned sports and sportspeople, as we've said, into mere commodities.
The final match against
The adversary's professional baseball players were like
batting machines. They had a left-handed pitcher who threw varied speed balls
with surgical precision. An excellent team. Cubans do
not practice the sport for profit. They are trained, as all our athletes are,
to serve their country. Were this not the case, the country, small in size and
of limited resources, would lose them forever. It would be impossible to
calculate the value of the recreational and educational services they offer the
nation in the course of their lives, in all provinces and Isla
After a difficult match against a Russian rival, Mijaín proudly won
Dayron Robles won the gold by a wide margin. The rain soaked the bright track. Without the rain, he could have easily broken the Olympic record, let alone the world record he had set weeks earlier in the difficult 110-meter with hurdles race, which requires pinpoint accuracy. He is a disciplined and tenacious 21-year-old with nerves of steel.
There are many athletes of great merit, men and women I cannot mention here but who cannot be forgotten.
More than 150 athletes from our small island participated at the 2008 Olympics and put up a fight in 16 of 28 sport disciplines there.
Our country does not practice chauvinism or commercialize
sports, which are as sacred as the people’s education and health. What it
practices, rather, is solidarity. Years ago, it created a Physical Education
In addition to this, thousands of Cuban sport trainers
have worked in
These merits do not exempt us in the least from assuming present and future responsibilities. In world sporting competitions, for the reasons we pointed out, a qualitative leap has taken place. We no longer live in the time in which we managed to become the world's first in gold medals per inhabitant in relatively little time, and that isn’t going to happen again, of course.
We account for around 0.07 % of the world’s population.
We cannot be good in all sports like the
The fact that more nations are competing and competitions
are now tougher attests, in part, to
Let us prepare ourselves for important future battles.
Let us not be taken in by
Let no one even dream that
Let us not forget the decency, honesty and professional prestige enjoyed by our international referees and international sport workers.
All of our solidarity accompanies the tae kwon do athlete and his trainer. For those who return today, the ovation of all Cubans.
Let us give a warm welcome to our Olympic athletes in all parts of the country. Let us extol their dignity and their merits. Let us do for them everything in our power.
A gold medal for honour!
Fidel Castro Ruz
August 24, 2008