April 3, 2006

Raspberry awards for bad, bad, bad sports!

Sometimes winners are disqualified, in accordance with recorded rules, and they forfeit what could have been theirs, but can’t be and won’t be, lest the rules be waived, unfairly, just for them. It happens at every international sports event. It’s not an aberration. In such circumstances the disqualified individual or team has to cop it sweet; end of story.

Today, the English and Australian women’s 400 metre relay teams from the recent Commonwealth Games are running neck and neck for who deserves the most raspberries for being very, very bad sports.

The English team won the Commonwealth Games event by a country mile – well, by a good 10 metres – ahead of the Australian team. It was a decisive win. As soon as the race was over Australian runner, Tamsyn Lewis, went straight to the officials to lodge a complaint. After some waiting, the British team was disqualified.

We can confidently hypothesize that the race officials may have reviewed the race and made the same decision of their own volition; or, equally probable, one of the other teams – perhaps the team that came in fourth, for example – may have lodged a complaint. There are any number of paths via which the British team could have been, and likely would have been, stripped of their win. For anyone to believe that Tamsyn Lewis was the only conduit, without whose actions the Brits would have retained their win, is a nonsense. Lewis acted promptly at the end of the race, but there is nothing significant in that fact, other than that she would seem to be a runner who knows her rules & she was confident of the validity of her actions.

Jana Pittman, in all her glorious wisdom and superiority over her team mates, and over the Game officials, has written to the English team to offer them her gold medal. So, far, there is no mention of whether she wrote, at the same time, to the second and third placed teams to ask them to also pass their medals along to those whom Jana has determined, all on her own, are the rightful owners and deserving recipients of medals that have already been awarded.

Let’s be clear on this: if Jana disagreed with the official ruling and the disqualification of the race winners, she should have had a chat to the officials herself – hell, she could have lodged an appeal on behalf of the British team! Nothing stopped her from this action. Her time for speaking up was prior to the medal award ceremony. Would her appeal have succeeded? No, because the disqualification was valid. Period.

But looky here, the British team are still stewing, and they want *their* medals. They want acknowledgment for a win that will be forever recorded in the sports records as a disqualification. Their head coach has strongly implied that they WOULD take the gold medals, but ONLY if all four members of the Australian team are prepared to hand over their medals.

Why would the Brits even want to have a set of gold medals that were neither won nor awarded to them? “Here ya go, you can have mine”, is not equivalent to standing on the dais and having your name written into the books as the winner. Even contemplating acceptance of this gesture speaks to a British team’s bitterness and willingness to embrace the inglorious vacuity of Pittman’s offer. How this will salve their wounded pride is anyone’s guess.

To the Brits
: five raspberries, one for each of the runners, and one for the head coach, who seems ignobly supportive of the acceptance of, not only the freely offered-up Pittman medal, but all four of the gold medals that were awarded to the Aussie runners.

, the British runners and their head coach would never have been placed in a position of displaying their total lack of grace if not for that door having been opened by our own Jana Pittman.

Here we have Pittman, she of the “oh poor me, I am so misunderstood”; she of the “I am not a drama queen, no, no, no, not little me”. Benefit of the doubt has been freely given, right up until now, but the gig is up. The hand that wrote the letter is the provocateur of drama, the “look at me queen”, both on and off the track; the snarky miss who can’t let go of a bitch-fight with Lewis, yet squawks her innocence at every turn.

Pittman made her offer to the British team in full knowledge that giving her gold medal to them would be a vacuous gesture; in full knowledge that her team mates are not prepared to do the same, and nor should they; in full knowledge that the country, names and winning time of the Commonwealth Games records are already set in stone; in full knowledge that if all four Australian’s handed their medals to the Brits, there would be no flow-on, with the second placed team surrendering their silver medals to the Australian team; in full knowledge that her formal written offer would be made public; in full knowledge that the implication of her meaningless, smarmy gesture is that she, somehow, possesses a superior morality to that of her teammates; in full knowledge that the disqualification would likely have occurred without Lewis going to the officials.

Jana Pittman is the deserving winner of at least a dozen raspberries for this latest and worst of her misguided, misjudged, insolent, irrelevant, attention-grabbing, self-centered, and self-created dramas. No sport: your cover is well and truly blown to cinders this time.

UPDATE: The Lewis camp has now suggested that Lewis & Pittman jointly approached officials after the race, which changes nothing about the raspberry awards, but does put an even worse spin on this tawdry little matter, if true.

On a more amusing note, Lewis' manager has suggested that Pittman was motivated by the desire for some much needed upbeat PR. (Although why, having won two gold medals at the games, and been warmly cheered, and then getting married only a couple of days ago, Pittman is clawing for any PR is a mystery. This woman seems to have NO idea when the going is GOOD. I do hope her real motive was something other than pure spite in her on-going clash with Lewis.)

"I think Pittman's trying to get some PR brownie points - that's from my point of view. She's received so much poor publicity in recent times she's probably looking for something positive."


  1. Hi Cazzy! Just doing the rounds of my old haunts - thought I'd pop by and fare thee well. How are you doing? :D

    Since I've invaded this thread, I may as well toss my two cents in. Because I'm an objectifying arsehole, I think Tamsyn Lewis is right and Jana Pittman is wrong because Lewis is hot and Pittman is not.

    Ah, the wisdom of the 25 year old male.

  2. James my dear, so good to hear from you!

    Hope you are well & happy & successful & rich, since we last exchanged greetings.

    Lewis looks good from the neck down & she does have a bubbly light-hearted personality (she has some radio stints from time to time, and she can hold her own with the pro's quite well). I think your wisdom is as good as anyone's.

    Now don't be a stranger, ya hear!

  3. "from the neck down"? Heh. To be honest, I've seen one photo of each women. Lewis looked very pretty in hers and Pittman looked absolutely terrible in hers. Could just be unlucky. Also, the papers have a well known habit of printing the ugliest photos of subjects most people love to hate. So Pittman might be better than first thought, and Lewis worse.

    So complicated!

  4. More proof, as if any were needed, that international sporting events foster amity among nations.

  5. Anonymous4:11 PM

    Tamsyn Lewis is nothing but a media hungry tart. If she was serious about a Gold Medal in Beijing, she would not be popping up all over the place including Dancing with the Stars.