August 10, 2004

Americans told how to fly the flag... : In an attempt to improve the image of the United States on the international stage, American Olympians arriving in Athens are being given briefings on how to behave. The briefings include very specific instructions as to how athletes should conduct themselves in public, how to handle victory or defeat on the sporting stage and how they are to use the Stars and Stripes flag in celebration. [from The Times - may require registration - I can't remember]

posted by JJ to other at 07:38 AM - 23 comments

My guess is that if you don't already know how to be gracious, a 75-minute briefing on sportsmanship isn't going to change that. Assholes will be assholes. As for handling and flying of the flag, doesn't everyone know how to do that? In gradeschool they had a laminated copy of the rules for the flag in every classroom.

posted by rocketman at 08:28 AM on August 10

flashback......."In an attempt to improve the image of the United States on the international stage, American soliders arriving in Baghdad are being given briefings on how to behave." sorry, the similarity was too close to resist. I'm not one for contrived behavior, but in this case with every action of the U.S. under the rest of the world's microscope, I think anything to remove the tarnish is a good thing.

posted by garfield at 09:26 AM on August 10

This story's a cheap shot. The U.S. is not the only country with misbehaving athletes and there's no doubt other countries prepare their teams for how to best represent their nation.

posted by rcade at 09:34 AM on August 10

As for handling and flying of the flag, doesn't everyone know how to do that? Given the number of "patriotic Americans" who decided to fly them from their car antennas after 9/11, not to mention the number who got a flag for their front yard and then left it out, night and day, rain and snow, I'd say the answer is clearly no.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:36 AM on August 10

rcade, can you name another country with a recent reputation for misbehavin'?

posted by garfield at 09:56 AM on August 10

oooo - a debate - which country is the worst loser? Which country is the worst winner? I reckon it's not got much to do with nationality myself - a jingoistic asshole is a jingoistic asshole no matter what country he comes from. As rocketman more succintly put it, assholes will be assholes. The article is more a sad reflection on the fact that Britain hasn't done anything worth getting all assholish about in years.

posted by JJ at 09:58 AM on August 10

garfield - when you ask a question like that all I can think of is Ryder Cup '99 and I'm overcome with an urge to punch Tom Lehman in the face ad infinitum.

posted by JJ at 10:05 AM on August 10

Personally I'd punch Lehman in the cock - MetaFilter style. Can't speak for the rest of the world but there does appear to be a general perception in the UK that US sportsmen are arrogant, ungracious and bad winners. There's also a perception that "our" sportsmen know how to behave "properly" in victory. How they ever learnt to do this, given their lack of experience, is beyond me, so presumably it's either through coaching or comes from something innate within the national character (if there is such a thing).

posted by squealy at 11:46 AM on August 10

Maurice Greene, Bernard Williams, Brian Lewis and Jon Drummond performed a lap of honour in which they stripped off their tops, arranged themselves in ludicrous flexed-muscle poses and adorned themselves in their national flag as if they were a team of male models. These guys aren't even Americans, they are African Americans.

posted by usfbull at 12:15 PM on August 10

oooo - a debate - which country is the worst loser? Which country is the worst winner? Well, I think a definite finalist would be that South Korean chappie who beat Apolo Anton Ohno in some race in the 2002 Olympics, but then was disqualified for interference. The call was very quick, but the guy had already started on his victory lap, waving the South Korean flag. He went into a major snit, threw his own flag down on the ice, and carried on like a five-year-old. Y'ever feel so embarrassed for someone that you just wanna sink through the floor? That was the feeling this guy provoked. What an embarrassment he was.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:31 PM on August 10

These guys aren't even Americans, they are African Americans. Uuuuuhhh....I don't get it.

posted by NoMich at 02:44 PM on August 10

I was trying to (sarcastically) divide America down into a lot of separate groups so they can't hate us all. It seemed funnier right after I finished my 24oz Dunkin Donuts coffee.

posted by usfbull at 04:01 PM on August 10

garfield: Australian athletes are plenty capable of being graceless twats. squealy: I don't know about winning, but we've certainly learned what a graceless lose Dallalgio is.

posted by rodgerd at 04:12 PM on August 10

There were a few spitting incidents (Frei & Totti) during Euro 2004. Isn't that a serious offense towards unsportsmanlike conduct? Personally, I still don't respect Roberto Alomar after he spit in home plate umpire John Hirshbeck's face. Whether that's deserved or not is up for debate, but I can't stand the guy.

posted by usfbull at 04:18 PM on August 10

Come on. The modern games have never been anything but jingoistic nonsense coupled with egotistical grandstanding.

posted by molafson at 12:01 AM on August 11

Yeah, but there's no rule that says it has to be that way. I think we could really use an'all that is good about people' Olympics now in the worst way. Everyone just play nice.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:31 AM on August 11

"play" is the operative word. Not many people left playing anymore - everyone's too busy "working hard at their game."

posted by JJ at 07:36 AM on August 11

Yeah, from a UK perspective, USian and Australian athletes do come across badly. I don't think that's necessarily anything to do with bad sportsmanship or cockyness though. In those countries, the national psyche is about winning, and the country applauds winners and ignores everyone else. I sometimes feel that the British prefer plucky losers to ice-cold winners. (Witness the difference between Steve Davis and Jimmy White for example.) That's not to say there aren't bad American winners. The '99(?) Ryder Cup was the nadir, and thankfully both sides have toned it down somewhat since. There was also a female American golfer (Dot somebody) who was a particularly graceless winner. What really annoys the rest of the world about Americans though, is the perception that some of them truly believe they live in the best country in the world, and America is better than any other country. That can get annoying quickly.

posted by salmacis at 04:10 PM on August 11

What really annoys the rest of the world about Americans though, is the perception that some of them truly believe they live in the best country in the world, and America is better than any other country. That can get annoying quickly. It's not a perception: there are quite a few Americans that believe that. Invariably they are the ones that have never travelled anywhere. But to be fair, insular patriots in any country will declare theirs "the best" - it's not a uniquely American thing.

posted by dusted at 04:34 PM on August 11

It's just harder to take if you're patriots from the world's biggest economy, freest democracy and bestest coolest place to live in the world. USA! USA! USA! **Drives away in giant bus-size RV, towing supersize Hummer (flying big SSB from antenna, and old "USA: Open for Business" sticker on rear window), while scarfing double cheese Mac, waving big foam hand with index finger sticking out.** Yeeeeeeeeehaw!

posted by worldcup2002 at 05:08 PM on August 11

Erm, I was just kidding, Mr Ridge (or any DHS analysts in charge of scanning the sports blogs). If you don't hear from me in a week, pls promise to visit or write to: Worldcup2002 Detainee 092784832 Gitmo Bay CUBA

posted by worldcup2002 at 05:10 PM on August 11

giant bus-size RV, towing supersize Hummer I was touring on my motorcycle this weekend, passing some long lines of cars that were actually only one vehicle! (40+ foot RV towing a minivan, both with piles of stuff strapped to the tops). One of them was so big it actually beached itself in a corner - it was too long for a tight downhill corner and the center of the RV got stuck on the road. I still don't know how they got out of there. I saw several setups similar to the one below, too. If you need all that stuff, just stay at home!

posted by dusted at 06:27 PM on August 11

I've actually seen an RV towing a Hummer. So it isn't really funny.

posted by worldcup2002 at 01:47 AM on August 12

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