Sunday, August 17, 2008

What makes wrestlers angry?

Ok, I realize the irony on writing a post about the Olympics right after I wrote a post about how I don't like watching them, but I'm going to do it anyway.

You probably heard about the angry Swedish wrestler that through down his bronze metal after the ceremony in protest because he felt cheated by a call in the semi-final match.

One of my friends pointed out that you would expect that kind of behaviour from a country that is known for having a temper. Not a polite northern country like Sweden.

Later today I stumbled upon a quote from Nassim Taleb's excellent book The Black Swan (read it!)

People tend to fool themselves with their self-narrative of "national identity" which, in a breakthrough paper in Science by sixty-five authors, was shown to be a total fiction. Empirically, sex, social class and profession seem to be better predictors of someones behaviour than nationality. (A male from Sweden resembles a male from Togo more than a female from Sweden; a philosopher from Peru resembles a philosopher from Scotland more than a janitor from Peru; and so on).

The point is people often judge based on nationality when there is no reason to. Ara Abrahamian is Swedish, but he is also a wrestler and a man. At the Olympic level none the less. I'm sure he has a pretty competitive personality. This makes his behaviour seem a bit less surprising.

On a personal note, being a former wrestler myself, I can tell you that the only time I ever got in an argument with an official was over the exact same penalty that Mr. Abrahamian fell victim too (intentionally going out of bounds). It was extremely frustrating, even in a match of very little consequence. I feel for the guy. Newspaper editorial boards shouldn't be so quick to judge people in situations that haven't experienced themselves.


Anonymous said...

China cheating on Gymnastic ages is ok… but apparently complaining about and protesting judges decisions is wrong at the Olympics…

Adam said...

I agree with you here. However it is never respectful to your team and your country to represent it in that way.

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