Tragic truth in Olympic 'absurdity'

Don't even try pulling one over on the International Olympic Committee.

The ever-vigilant suits in charge of the Winter Games leapt into action when French skiers had the nerve to place tiny stickers on their helmets in honour of a fallen teammate.

Fortunately, the IOC brought the hammer down before the French could even take to the slopes for the men's downhill on Thursday, deeming the stickers to be a violation of rules that apparently forbid athletes from showing the least bit of empathy or coping with their grief.

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Whew, that was a close call!

If the overlords of the Olympic movement had relaxed their standards just a bit, we might've thought they actually have a heart. Instead, they left little doubt — again — that there's no real caring or understanding for the athletes who ensure the IOC coffers are stuffed with billions of dollars. The latest absurdity is rooted in tragedy.

David Poisson, a popular veteran of the ski circuit who was nicknamed "Caillou" ("small stone" in French) because of his short, stocky frame, died in November while training in Canada. Authorities said he caught an edge and crashed through the safety netting, striking a tree.

Poisson's death was a huge blow to the French team, which remembered him during the World Cup season by wearing tricolour hearts with "DP" in the centre. At the PyeongChang Games, the skiers wanted to wear a sticker with a drawing of a fish's head, a play on the meaning of his name in French.

Not so fast, said the IOC.

"The IOC told us to take them off, that we weren't allowed," French skier Brice Roger said. "So we took everything off because we could have been disqualified." Of course, this sort of foolishness is nothing new.

We have no idea why the IOC would object to a small token of respect and remembrance for a two-time Olympian who gave his life for the sport he loved.

"I'm really very disappointed that they didn't allow us to wear it, given that it's not commercial advertising for anything," French skier Adrien Theaux said after the downhill.

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"It was just to pay homage to a friend. We were doing it not to show off to people, but for us. It was a just a tiny drawing." Then he added: "It didn't stop us from thinking about him."

Hey, better keep that on the down-low.

There might be an IOC rule against that one, too.

Columnist shreds sexist Americans

American writer Christine Brennan has torn shreds off American athletes and media for "demeaning" women during the Winter Olympics.

Radio presenter Patrick Conner was sacked for calling gold medal-winning snowboarder Chloe Kim a "hot piece of ass", former US skiing star turned NBC analyst Bode Miller linked a slalom skier's declining performance to her marriage and snowboarder Shaun White dismissed allegations of sexual harassment that resurfaced after his gold medal win the halfpipe event as "gossip".

Chloe Kim, of the United States, reacts to her score during the women's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Photo / AP
Chloe Kim, of the United States, reacts to her score during the women's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Photo / AP

White later apologised for using the term "gossip" to describe serious accusations of misconduct towards a female member of his band, but Brennan said "the damage was done".

"If they gave out medals at these Winter Olympics for all the ridiculous and demeaning things men say about women, US athletes and members of the news media already might have clinched the gold," Brennan wrote for USA Today.

Although all the male offenders in question apologised for their remarks, Brennan said those words are hollow and questioned how someone like Conner could possibly think he would get away with his sexualisation of 17-year-old Kim.

"That's what these guys do. They demean a female athlete, then are told by someone in the truck that they demeaned a female athlete, then they apologise. It's clockwork," Brennan wrote.

"Sometimes an apology isn't enough.

"What possesses a sexist radio host to think he can get away with that? Could it possibly be decades of sexist radio hosts getting away with it?"

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