Playing in white 2022: The Year of the Asterisk (unnecessary for Pelé) (2023)

The star-shaped symbol should come in handy at the end of the year as the international sports community bids farewell to 2022, and world championship winners may wonder if they really are the best swimmers or gymnasts in the absence of their Russian counterparts. from, say, Budapest or Birmingham. phase in which they participated.

Not to mention London for Wimbledon or Bogota for weightlifting and other cities and countries for other events that really mattered to those who couldn't settle for second place.

Some world records were set at the FINA Swimming World Championships held in the Hungarian capital, but where were the highly skilled Russian tankers?

They weren't there because their president, Vladinir Putin, had ordered the invasion of Ukraine and presumably assumed that any freestyle or backstroke players sent to Budapest risked being booed in the pool or worse threatened with physical harm for the supposedly unprovoked aggression. from Moscow, which was also allegedly instigated by Belarus.

Furthermore, all Russian athletes long before the FINA and FIG events and even before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (actually postponed to 2021 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic) were under suspicion of allegedly massive use of state-sponsored performance . Potentiating Drugs (PEDs).

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Since then, everyone has been banned from strutting, including but not limited to in the Diamond League, a track and field series in Europe.

who beats the likes of our world No. 3 pole vaulter, E.J. Obiena; and the Volleyball League of Nations, which also takes place mostly on the continent.

It is no coincidence that Russian players were not prevented from dressing up for the National Hockey League (NHL), where they number about 50 and are many and are good at what they do.

It is true that they are big names and to exclude them from the NHL would be a betrayal of ice hockey fans and would leave the league with only Americans and a sprinkling of Finns and Slovenians.

Bear in mind that Russia, whether as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or the USSR, the Unified Team, the Russian Federation or the Russian Olympians, was the gold standard in athletics, volleyball and ice hockey.

PEDs have supposedly been the only reason behind the podiums of country representatives in various international competitions, a rather broad indictment that one country's competitors are top contenders in any global or continental tournament.

The allegations have not been conclusively proven, but Russia's Sergeis and Svetlanas are still unwanted outcasts, especially in the West, who insist their athletes are as clean as a whistle, until, of course, someone blows it.

Well, who knows, but it's possible that Vlad actually asked for this as if it were a death wish not for himself, but for his country's top athletes.

It is, in my opinion, the loss of the sporting world when the relevant authorities did not allow the Russians to compete at the World Gymnastics Championships in Birmingham, where Filipino Carlos "Caloy" Edriel Yulo won the silver and bronze medals.

I don't want to take anything away from Caloy's great performance there, but I would like to think that even the gold medalists in the events she did well in were not happy with the power of gymnastics, Russia being kicked out of vault and parallel bars. .

Previously, self-proclaimed British pacifists banned Russian tennis players, men and women, as well as Belarusians, from participating in this year's Wimbledon Grand Slam tournament, also known as the English Lawn Tennis Championships, due to the invasion of Ukraine.

Her arbitrary decision backfired by the will of fate or karma, with the women's singles title won by Elena Rybakina from Kazakhstan, as she had said, when in fact she is a Russian representing the Central Asian country and currently living in Moscow, Where was she born

The arbiters of political correctness couldn't have been more disappointed with the decisions they made.

However, they do not practice what they preach, requiring from time immemorial, for example, that all Wimbledon players wear white on court.

When was it right to rub it in when white connotes rights and privileges and disdains inclusion and diversity, the buzzwords in color-blind representation these days?

The same judges finally relented later this year when they decided to lift this dress code that the legendary Billie Jean King described as "awful".

But the Wimbledon powerhouses have yet to decide whether to reopen the gate to Russians and Belarusians in 2023.

They probably foolishly think that with Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Karen Kachanov out of the way, their own players could be competitive and without offending Britain's Cameron Norrie, Dan Evans and rising star Jack Draper, as well as the out of shape. Emma Raducanu and Katie Boulter and Heather Watson in the women's draw.

Serbian Novak Djokovic defeated Australian Nick Kyrgios for the 2022 England men's crown.

Politics caused all the problems for Medvedev and company and Putin, also in my opinion, was not the only evil in the drama that turned into a tragedy that cost Russia and Belarus future Olympic and world champions their dreams.

US President Joe Biden has eschewed his peacemaker role by opting for a proxy war against Moscow, towing its NATO allies in tow and prolonging the conflict by continuing to supply arms and other materiel to the Ukrainian front.

Well, I personally did not find any information that Biden was interested in any sport and therefore he was expected to support the ambition of American athletes to win without having to live with an asterisk on their medals. whatever sporting pedigree or reputation he may have.

Putin is known as a judoka, but he chose to fight Ukraine's Zelenskyy and his Western allies rather than root for his fellow athletes, making him as obnoxious as Biden for making war over peace.

In Bogota, Colombia, our own Hidylin Díaz-Naranjo won three World Weightlifting Championship gold medals, and later gained even more respect and recognition when she was named to the Players Council, which gives a voice to all weightlifters , men or women.

Once again though, and this is not to dismiss Ms. Diaz-Naranjo by no means, but Russia's best weightlifters weren't there in Colombia.

As Kyrgios recently said, you can't claim to be the winner of a tennis tournament unless you get past Djokovic.

The Serbian, by the way, was prevented by the organizers of the Australian 2022

Open, another Grand Slam stop, in January, ostensibly over visa issues but actually his refusal to be vaccinated with the anti-Covid vaccine.

However, the 21-time Grand Slam champion is due to return to Australia next month to try to capture his 22nd Grand Slam title and anyone who can upset him and finally be crowned the victor can only begin to call himself the real deal.

Which is what football fans around the world consider Pelé, a league of his own.

The Brazilian legend, or Edson Arantes do Nascimento, passed away in his hometown of São Paulo on Thursday, December 29, aged 82.

He lost his battle with cancer but The Indian Express, paying tribute to the three-time world champion, said that the world of football, if not the entire planet, had lost "one of the greatest football games of all time".

President Biden paid tribute to Pele, saying, "For a sport that brings people together like no other, Pele's rise from humble beginnings to football legend is a story of what's possible. Jill's thoughts and mine are with his family and all those they loved." to him."

Among others around the world who also mourned his death was former US President Barack Obama.

Obama also tweeted on Thursday: "Pelé was one of the best to play this beautiful game. And as one of the world's most renowned athletes, he understood the power of sport to bring people together. Our thoughts are with his family and everyone else." ". who loved and admired him."

He and Pelé met in Brazil in 2019 and Obama boasts a photo with the eternal face of football, until, of course, a presumptive heir to the consecrated King of Sport appears, we hope.

For the time being, the asterisk will have no place for El Rey's footnote.


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