FanDuel - WFBC

August 08, 2012

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 12 comments

I've been railing a little on regulation and officiating at the Olympics, but the Clayton-Evans boxing appeal and ruling really bug me. Here we have a rule that's pretty clearly defined as three of the same warnings and you get a penalty, but it's not levied during the match...for some reason.

After the fact, AIBA rules that while the three warnings did happen, they deemed them not to be valid because Clayton was leading with his head. So they can adjust the calls made during the match to generate the initial outcome? That is fine I guess, and I understand how boxing and other sports may be different in terms of what you can do after the fact, it just seems really weird to have such vastly different regulatory bodies' philosophies on display at once. In fencing, even if there's a clear malfunction, a result is not overturned, but in boxing they can adjust the referee's calls as they see fit.

If you follow any of these sports regularly, I am sure all of this makes sense in isolation, but as a bystander for a number of the Olympics sports, it really is pretty weird to watch one sport's athletes afforded an appeal capability the others do not have.

posted by dfleming at 08:58 AM on August 08

After the fact, AIBA rules that while the three warnings did happen, they deemed them not to be valid because Clayton was leading with his head.

Let me run that through the truth translator for you:

"The British boxer won, so we aren't going to do shit to change that."

posted by grum@work at 09:57 AM on August 08

Best. Celebration. Ever.

posted by goddam at 11:13 AM on August 08

"it just seems really weird to have such vastly different regulatory bodies' philosophies on display at once...in boxing they can adjust the referee's calls as they see fit. "

Well, that's basically how the WBC works, so at least it mirrors the real world to some extent.

Boxing is corrupt.

The IOC and the administration of the Olympics are corrupt.

Add the two together and you get Olympic boxing, which is the worst of both worlds. It's like destructive harmonics in work.

This website has been closely following the Olympic boxing so far, and overall, it doesn't seem like most of the refereeing is bad, but when it is, bad, it's been absolutely atrocious and utterly indefensible.

posted by Bonkers at 11:57 AM on August 08

Best. Celebration. Ever.

I can't watch the video (I'm not American), but the description sounds awesome.

posted by grum@work at 12:03 PM on August 08

Grum, here's the CTV version. Keep watching even after the first bit, because it gets pretty good again.

posted by dfleming at 12:09 PM on August 08

Spain/ France men's basketball ended ugly with a couple of hard fouls by France, including a wicked groin shot. Nicholas Batum isn't apologizing any time soon, apparently.

posted by yerfatma at 01:31 PM on August 08

Hurricanes Sign Jeff Skinner to Six-Year Extension

Except for not really doing anything with the defense, this has been the best offseason ever for the Hurricanes, personnel wise.

posted by NoMich at 02:35 PM on August 08

Agreed with Bonkers on the endemic problems of Olympic boxing: it's not going to change as long as it remains a major source of medals for a particular group of countries who in turn have sway with the AIBA.

a couple of hard fouls by France, including a wicked groin shot.

John Amaechi, who's doing the commentary for the BBC, called them flops by the Spanish and was decidedly unimpressed with the final few minutes. His co-commentator, Mike Carlson, did point out, on replay, that the last one was "in the goolies".

posted by etagloh at 04:04 PM on August 08

/thinks better of it

posted by yerfatma at 04:40 PM on August 08

I've been out of town and unable to contribute, so while I recognize that this is late, I wanted to explain, as a serious gymnastics fan, why we were so ready to crown McKayla Maroney before she actually competed in vault finals.

I had never seen Maroney fall while vaulting in competition. I fully expected her to do what she always did: land her two vaults and win. It never occurred to any of my gymnastics friends that she might fall, because they'd never seen it either. Neither had the dopes at NBC, who had also seen her land safely in meet after meet. I think the last time she fell was as a junior.

Someone estimated that her fall broke a streak of 33 vaults landed safely (in other words, 33 "hit" vaults in a row in competition). Broken down per meet, she generally does two vaults in team preliminaries (to qualify for vault finals), one in team finals, and two in vault finals, for a total of five vaults per competition if the meet includes a team event (not all meets do). That's a very long run of successful vaults over multiple meets.

Maroney has cleaner form and better execution than any other current vaulters. I've never seen anyone argue about this; it's treated as fact. You can hear the difference when her hands hit the vaulting table; her "block" (propulsion off the table) is louder and results in more height, which gives her more time to complete the twists and flips. She gets more height from her block than the men's all-around winner, Kohei Uchimura. Her legs stay straight and together and don't cross as she twists; she doesn't bend her knees or her hips in the air; her toes are pointed (crossed legs, bent knees/hips, unpointed toes: all form errors = deductions). She's the best current vaulter in the world. For what it's worth, I would say the same if she weren't an American; gym fans have much more affection for foreign gymnasts than the media seems to think.

Let's go to the video: Maroney's slow-motion Amanar (2.5 twist) vault from team finals (YouTube). The only deductions I could find, and only in slow motion, were a slight leg separation during the back handspring onto the vault table and, near the apex of the vault, a slight knee and hip bend in her right leg.

Comparison: bronze medalist Maria Paseka's (RUS) first vault is the Amanar (NBC Olympics video). Paseka's form is not terrible, but she has significant leg separation in her back handspring and up into the air, then loose legs, knees, and hips, slight leg cross, and not enough air time to complete her twists before landing. (I couldn't find a YouTube of her Amanar with slow motion.)

Obviously I'm not arguing with the results. It may have been unthinkable, but Maroney fell. I'm fond of Sandra Izbasa and I'm happy for her. But I wanted to explain why we expected Maroney to win. It wasn't just because she's good or because we like her. It's because she always has before, over and over, and none of us could have imagined what actually happened.

posted by swerve at 05:08 PM on August 08

And that's why I come to SportsFilter again and again. Thanks, swerve. Excellent knowledge, excellently shared.

posted by JJ at 05:30 AM on August 09

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