Rio Olympics 2016: Six Olympic oddities

Muhammad Ali of Great Britain reacts after losing in the Olympic boxing. Photo / Getty
Muhammad Ali of Great Britain reacts after losing in the Olympic boxing. Photo / Getty

1. Woman had more primetime exposure than men on major US network NBC during the first week of the Olympics - particularly in beach volleyball.

A study found women athletes were featured in 58.5 percent of the competitions shown on NBC during the evening, the highest percentage since three college professors began keeping track in 1994.

Much of the advantage was because of a disparity in beach volleyball coverage, where most women wear bikinis. On Saturday, NBC showed two hours, 45 minutes of women's beach volleyball, and 35 seconds of men.

There's been criticism of the media, including NBC, for commentary perceived as sexist during the Olympics. The most-cited case was NBC crediting the husband of a Hungarian gold medal swimmer for his wife's success.

2. Muhammad Ali has lost in the Rio boxing ring. The 20-year-old British flyweight carrying the enormous burden of his famous name lost every round on every card in his debut bout, dropping a decision to Venezuela's Yoel Finol.

Ali is a top amateur boxer but never got comfortable in Rio, despite a Brazilian crowd chanting his name.

A teary-eyed Ali said he "just tried too hard, and nothing was working. It's going to be heart-breaking to see them on the podium and not me."

3. There were no boos for Justin Gatlin on his return to the Olympic stadium today.

Gatlin received his 100 metre silver medal, alongside champion Usain Bolt. He smiled widely as his name was announced, then blew a kiss to polite applause.

There was no sign of the full-throated booing that accompanied his introduction before the race.

Gatlin has become a polarising figure in the sport after serving two doping bans.

4. Olympic officials say an Egyptian judo athlete has been sent home after refusing to shake his Israeli opponent's hand.

The International Olympic Committee said Islam El Shehaby received a "severe reprimand" for his behaviour after his first-round heavyweight bout loss to Or Sasson.

When Sasson extended his hand, El Shehaby backed away, shaking his head. The referee called 34-year-old El Shehaby back to the mat and ordered him to bow. He gave a quick nod and was loudly booed as he exited.

The IOC said the Egyptian's conduct "was contrary to the rules of fair play and against the spirit of friendship embodied in the Olympic values".

It said the Egyptian Olympic Committee also "strongly condemned" El Shehaby's actions and had sent him home.

5. Iranian sports fan and activist Darya Safai returned to the Olympic volleyball venue today repeating her message "Let Iranian Women Enter Their Stadiums". Women are generally banned from all-male sports events in Iran.

After discussions with venue officials before the Iranian men's match with Russia, Safai was allowed to stay and hold a sign, on which the message was written, in a front-row seat.

Over the weekend, Safai was in tears when security officials told her she would have to leave if she kept the sign.

Olympic officials do not allow political statements at the games, though 35-year-old Safai insists "it's a gender message".

"This sign to me, it means a lot," said Safai, who was born in Tehran but lives in Belgium.

6. A leading Russian independent newspaper has issued a passionate appeal to lift a ban on Russian athletes competing at the Rio Paralympics.

The Novaya Gazeta, known for its biting criticism of the Kremlin and exposure of official corruption, said the ban "will hit absolutely innocent athletes, their relatives and friends, and everyone who see hope in the Paralympic Movement".

Russia was banned from the games by the International Paralympic Committee last month. The Russian Paralympic Committee has filed a formal appeal and the Court of Arbitration for Sport is expected to issue its verdict early next week.

- NZ Herald

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