For South Koreans, the name Apolo Anton Ohno doesn’t ring the most pleasant memories. And Ohno made a comment that made South Koreans bristle.You have to wait awhile for that piece of information, though. Which strikes me as odd, considering Ohno won silver, a medal - along with bronze - which when won by a Korean is usually followed by an apology to the nation for not winning the gold and being the best. But then, if we remember what happened in 2002, we shouldn't be surprised, considering
Ohno won a silver medal at the men's 1,500-meter short-track final at the Winter Olympics on Saturday in local time in Vancouver as two South Korean gold favorites -- Sung Si-bak and Lee Ho-suk -- crashed into each other in their final stretch toward the finish.
The incident made Ohno, who was trailing behind them, grab the silver medal.
Ohno’s rough manner of playing the match, pointed out by South Korean short track skater Lee Jung-soo, who won the gold in the same event, incensed Koreans.
Shocking that the US commentators above didn't engage in histrionics and compare Ahn to Osama Bin Laden or something like that. Or like this:
Another example is here. Intelligent, thought provoking stuff, to be sure. Another article mentions that, regarding the 2002 incident:
The incident so enraged Koreans that some say he contributed to instigating anti-American sentiment in South Korea.I'd like to say that it was more likely the Korean media's biased coverage that contributed to it, but then considering the reliance of the media on what netizens (who could all be the same person, for all we know - that's not really an exaggeration of how the internet panic that fanned the 2008 Mad Cow protests came to be) have to say, I guess it's a bit of a chicken-egg proposition (it did seem to influence this happy sunshine(policy) little tune). At any rate, such Olympic-related go back further than 2002. As Ian Baruma described the Seoul Olympics,
Korean chauvinism was often hysterical, particularly when it involved Americans or Japanese. During the games, many ordinary Koreans went out of their way to be polite and helpful to foreign visitors. But there was a mean-spirited edge to comments in the Korean press. When the Japanese brought over for the first time since the end of the war an entire Kabuki theater troupe, the Korea Herald ran a headline saying: "Coarse Kabuki Show Fails to Impress." The play, the story went on to say, "stirred up bitter memories of the Japanese samurai culture, or Japanese militarism…which clashes with Korea's time-nurtured consciousness of literati." I thought of the images I had seen in the papers of Korean athletes being drilled in boot camp, wearing full military gear, and screaming "Fight, fight, fight!"As I noted in more detail before, the New York Times also had an interesting article:
The uproar began after American television audiences watched a Korean crowd explode Thursday night after a referee's decision to penalize a Korean boxer. Enraged Korean boxing officials punched the referee, some threw chairs into the ring, and a disconsolate boxer staged an hourlong sit-in to protest the decision.As Baruma put it:
Koreans' shame at the incident has turned to rage at NBC and other foreign news organizations' coverage both of the boxing imbroglio and of South Korea itself.
NBC was accused by, among others, members of the ruling Democratic Justice Party of being anti-Korean, even of insulting the "Korean identity." One wonders whether Bryant Gumbel even knows what the Korean identity is, let alone desires to insult it.According to a man running a law office interviewed by the NYT,
''I heard that NBC repeated the boxing scene for an hour,'' Mr. Chung said. ''It was news, but it was not something to be picked over like that.''I'm sure the same could be said regarding this latest Ohno episode.