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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 18, 2008 / 17 Menachem-Av 5768

O say can you see ... what nation I am?

By Mitch Albom


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | BEIJING — If it isn't about representing your country, why do they play the national anthem when you win? It is time, once and for all, to end the hypocrisy over who competes for whom in the Olympics. Athletes switching countries as if ripping off one sweaty T-shirt and pulling on another has made a sham of the whole process.


There have been many examples of this in Beijing, from basketball players to female sailors, but none worse than the other day at the women's beach volleyball competition. Russia was pitted against Georgia, which, of course, also is happening on a far more serious stage, one of war.


Reporters, sensing a "see the world through the prism of sport" angle, raced to an event they usually would ignore to chronicle the battle.


And in dramatic fashion, the Georgian pair rallied to defeat the Russians, making the media salivate with metaphors. But in the post-match news conference, when asked about the issue, the Russian team smirked.


"We were not actually playing against the Georgian team," Natalia Uryadova told the press. "We were playing against our Brazilian friends here."


And she was right. For all their sudden declarations of patriotism, the "Georgian" team consisted of two Brazilians who were offered citizenship only because of their talent. The two women, according to reports, have visited Georgia only twice in their lives.

GOING FOR INTERNATIONAL HOOPS
Basketball fans are familiar with the stories of Chris Kaman and Becky Hammon, two middle Americans who are competing, respectively, for Germany, a country we battled in World War II, and Russia, a sworn enemy for much of the 20th century. Neither was born there. Neither can sing the national anthem. Both were offered quick citizenship because their talent could help those countries' chances.


And both jumped at it.


"Some people," Hammon said in an interview, "get caught up with the patriotism aspect of it."


Yeah. Some people. Like the ones who invented the Games. But today, apparently, the Olympics exist to provide nations for athletes to compete for, not the other way around. Use a grandfather's lineage. Use a pro contract to leverage a passport. Whatever gets you in. Last week, Togo won its first Olympic medal, thanks to a French kayaker who had been to Togo once — as a child.


And how about 18-year-old Haley Nemra, who recently worked at a pizza parlor in Washington, but is competing for the Marshall Islands in the 800-meter run. The Marshall Islands?


"I'm so excited they even wanted me," she told the AP, "especially since I've never lived there."


Athletes like Nemra use loopholes — in her case, a father who was born in the Marshall Islands — to get into the Games. All you need are the proper papers. And nations, especially small ones, are often quick to provide them for a chance at seeing their colors displayed on the international stage.


Especially if it's on the medal stand.

EVERYBODY SEEMS TO DO IT
But that's exactly where this hypocrisy becomes so ... hypocritical. I asked Bernard Legat, a gold-medal hopeful for the United States in the 1,500 meters, how people in Kenya would feel if he stood on the victory stand this week. After all, he had won medals for that nation, his homeland, in the two previous Olympics before taking American citizenship.


"They might have lot of mixed feelings back in my country seeing the American flag being raised instead of the Kenyan flag," he said. "....For me personally, I don't feel any shame. ...


"My loyalty is for my country that I'm representing right now."


Which pretty much says it all. Look. Either the Olympics are a unique event in which you have to have been born and raised in a country to compete, or they should just let anyone compete for anyone, like a pro sports league. Right now the lines are so blurred it's as if a painter's palette got soaked and all the colors bled each other.


There was a photo last week of Hammon, born in South Dakota, holding her hand over her heart amidst her new Russian basketball teammates. She was wearing the red Russian uniform, but they were playing "The Star-Spangled Banner."

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