During my childhood, the Soviet Union was the evil empire, the bastion of communism, and our hated opponent during the 35 plus year cold war that saw bomb shelters being built in peoples back yards, ballistic missiles being deployed in Cuba, and unknown near misses that could have resulted in all out nuclear war. The late 80’s saw the downfall of communism in most of Eastern Europe and now the new century is seeing US citizens representing the former Soviet Union in the Olympic Games.
Rapid City’s own Becky Hammon becomes the latest athlete to represent a country that they are not a citizen of when she suits up for the Russian women’s basketball team for the Beijing Olympics this summer. I know this is nothing new and in fact I remember several instances of this happening in past competitions including the World Baseball Classic a few years ago but Ms Hammon is taking quite a beating in the comments section of the RCJ story documenting her decision.
Hammon doesn’t see a problem
“It will be special, and it will be different, but I have never let myself be defined by the name on the front of my jersey,” she said. “I think people’s reaction is ironic because I look at our country as the best and most giving. I bleed red, white and blue.”
But others do.
Regret wrote on Apr 10, 2008 11:30 AM:
” The only thing she’ll be remembered for, is that she couldn’t cut the mustard and couldn’t accept the fact she wasn’t good enough to play for team USA so she settled for second class. All the so called great things she did before will be overshadowed by this…just lide Barry Bonds, Lyle Alzado, Clemens. They won’t be known for breaking records, but for the one stupid thing they did in their life.
BTW, how will she explain to her children or grandchildren why she played for a different country during the Olympics? Hard to explain why you supported another country instead of your own.
But then again, she always was for herself. “
Is the fact that she is representing the Russians an issue for anyone and if so would you feel differently if it was say Jamaica? (had to add a “Cool Runnings” reference) Or is this much ado about nothing?