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Winning a gold without losing it

Besides India, there are 20 other nations with a single gold in the Olympics. A look at how their press didn’t go all gaga over them like we did over Abhinav Bindra. Paramita Ghosh elaborates.

india Updated: Aug 24, 2008 01:38 IST
Paramita Ghosh

Since August 11, we got to know Abhinav Bindra really well. From his sister’s Rakhee day wishes, untaxable cash rewards to his father’s doggy-food processing companies, the Indian media is peeling the Olympic gold medallist like an onion. The shooter himself is feeling mighty precious; he had to reach home with Z-plus security. There is a threat to his life. Why would anyone be interested, says his blogspot entry, in killing a shooter who has spent the last 12 years of his life shooting and successfully hitting a 0.5mm bulls eye from 10m away?

Besides India, there are 20 other countries with a single gold medal. They have won it without losing it. A look at how other countries covered their ‘Golden Age’:

When Mongolian Judoka N. Tuvshinbayar won his country’s first Olympic gold, The UB Post, its English-language weekly, reported that Mongolia People’s Revolutionary Party and its rival, Democratic Party’s leaders momentarily put aside differences, shaking hands, cheering and singing the National Anthem together before a rejoicing crowd. In the streets, horns blared and strangers embraced. After winning the match, he thanked his parents and coach. But the paper hasn’t dug out their names. Or his childhood stories. Or his love life. Shame.

Satu-Makela Nummela of Finland won a gold medal in the Women’s trap shooting category. The Helsinki Times noted that it was only the third medal for Finnish women in the summer Olympics.

Saladino Jahir made the front-page of El Siglo with his gold win in Men’s Long Jump. Only a few days ago, The Panama News, the country’s English-language newspaper, was hoping that if ‘Kangaroo’ came home with a win it could push the subject of sports reform that the Olympic Committee of Panama thwarted them from doing.

Primus Kozmuz of Slovenia won the men’s hammer throw. A Slovenia Times report had said the sportsman was a favourite to win a bronze. The paper doesn’t seem to have got over the shock. Articles on his win aren’t — surprisingly — up on its website. Yet.

Coventry Kirsty’s 200-m backstroke win provoked angry letters in The Zimbabwe Standard. The born-in-Harare and US resident was slammed by a reader who wrote about her “waving off her diplomatic passport (issued on the instructions of Zimbabwe’s cruel and callous dictator Mugabe) to get in and out of my impoverished country”, while the majority is suffering murder, mayhem, deprivation and torture. And didn’t she remember that prior to her Olympic successes in Athens, the ruling party denigrated aquatic sports as white and elitist?

Whew. Thank God, we are into cute.