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Sunday, November 23, 2014

US volleyball players irked by Brazil’s gold medal celebration

Celebrations and proper sportsmanship have been an issue throughout the London Olympics.

The US women’s soccer team was called out by New Zealand for its celebratory methods, and the squad drew criticism after its win over Japan. Now it’s the US complaining about the celebration methods of another country.

The US women’s volleyball team blew a lead and lost the gold medal game to Brazil on Saturday. The favored Americans thumped Brazil 25-11 in the first set, but lost the next three sets 25-17, 25-20, and 25-17.

The Brazilian players were overcome with joy and some fell to the ground after winning. They jumped around in circles, cried, and exchanged the customary handshakes and kisses with the US players. But it didn’t take long for things to get out of hand.

After the team held hands in a circle of prayer, the players lined up and did several somersaults (pictured above), even rolling into the US players who were walking off Earl’s Court.

Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports reports that the celebratory songs and clapping continued in the waiting area. The Brazilian players then danced their way back onto the court to receive their medals, though to be fair, they were playing to their legions of fans in attendance. But once they, the US, and Japanese players were all lined up for their medals, the Brazilians continued to dance.

In the image below, you can see the US and Japanese players standing straight while the Brazilian players (in yellow) gyrated in the middle:

Some of the American players were irked by the Brazilians’ excessive celebration.

“A lot of them are my friends,” four-time Olympian Logan Tom said, according to FOX Sports’ Reid Forgrave. “They celebrate a little differently than Americans do. I let it slide. I did tell them, ‘Get your asses down from the podium (when the silver and bronze medals were being awarded).’ It’s just a little respect sort of thing. But like I said, it’s their culture. They celebrate how they want to celebrate. I’m all for that.”

“If we had won, maybe we wouldn’t have jumped around as much, but we would have celebrated,” Danielle Scott-Aruda told Yahoo! Sports. “But you know, it’s culture. So congratulations to them.”

Coach Hugh McCutcheon said he had no issue with the Brazilians’ celebration, saying, “If that’s the way they choose to [celebrate], I’ve got no issue with that.”

Maybe the truth is many people don’t think about whose feelings they’re hurting if they’re the ones celebrating such a tremendous accomplishment. Perhaps it’s not such a bad thing to be on the losing end. One, it teaches athletes the importance of sportsmanship. Two, it creates bitter feelings that frequently serve as future motivation.

As far as the Brazilian volleyball team’s behavior goes, there’s only one thing I know: McKayla Maroney definitely would not have been impressed. Derrick Rose wouldn’t have been, either.

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports



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