How Technology Can Help the 2008 Olympics

Ed Andrews brought my attention to a travesty in the Olympics world. Over the weekend, 2004 Taekwondo Olympic silver medalist Nia Abdallah was robbed of her shot at the 2008 Olympics. If you watch the video on YouTube, you’ll notice the discrepancies in the judging.

I’m not writing about any of my own personal projects (you know, technology, software, travels, music), but about a ground-level email and media campaign (that started 2 minutes ago — you’re the second email after the US Olympic Committee) to help Nia Abdallah, the 2004 US Silver Medalist in taekwondo to correct a 2008 Olympic qualifying decision that occurred in Des Moines, Iowa last weekend. In addition to being talented, Nia was the first US woman EVER to medal in taekwondo in the Olympics by earning the Silver Medal in 2004.

The problem? At the risk of sounding cliche, Nia was absolutely ROBBED in her 2008 qualifying event last weekend. See the video below. I’ve started an email campaign to the US Olympic Commitee’s Ombudsman (john.ruger at usoc.org) — with the intent of overturning the decision and letting the true champion go to the Olympics. The video is just under 10 minutes, but since this is for who represents the US in the Olympics, it might be of some interest. Watch how Diane’s “tap” actually gets a point, while Nia knocking down Diane 3 times gets 0 points. (A few experts noted that Diane’s two low blows would have also cost Diane two points, too). Again, Nia, America’s best women taekwondo expert in her division was robbed of her earned victory. And, we need everyone’s support to right the wrong.

Is this how we want our “best” selected for the Olympics? Maybe the gnomies can help me bring this issue to forefront. I’m also taking donations for any legal challenges via PayPal (eddie at eddieandrews.com). I’m really WAY too busy to get involved, (I won’t even be able to put up a web site until tomorrow night) but sometimes you get moved to do things, and I just can’t let this go. I HAVE to help right this wrong that was done to this young lady. I’m moved to do it myself for now, but will likely need to hire a lawyer (100% will go towards legal expenses in case we need to hire a lawyer, and 100% will be returned if not needed).

Hmmm… At first, you might have to stretch to figure out how this has anything to do with technology. But wait! Think about it. In the old days, when there were allegations of fights or matches that were “fixed”, all you could do was mumble to your friends. Now with ubiquitous cameras and Youtube, every American can see the blatant judging for themselves.

I’m asking for your help. I hate to see someone like Nia Abdallah who worked hard all her life, actually earned the victory, and then had her opportunity to earn Gold Medal for her country taken away by some judges with an agenda (the alleged agenda was to allow her oppenent Diane Lopez to join her brothers as the first siblings to go to the Olympics. A fine story — if it was actually earned. But the video says otherwise. If a picture is worth 1000 words, the video is… priceless.

Please help if possible. If we can get the word out, the US Olympic Committee will have to take note, reverse the decision, and let the right person proudly represent us in Beijing. After all, that’s what America is all about. Thanks.