>>Danny in Yorktown, VA
>I saw the TV interview and thought that Janet was gracious as always.
>She was obviously disappointed but very firm on the issue that the
>ultimate problem was her failure to swim fast enough. She even
>acknowledged that Michelle Smith was one of the fastest swimmers and
>that the idea of the Olympics was to allow all the fastest swimmers to
>have a chance to compete. All these out-of-context quotes are pure
>media bullshit of the worst kind.
>IMHO, Janet is the best representative of US swimming in the history of
>the sport, and the torch-lighting was a much deserved honor for her
>that I'll always remember. Anybody can have a bad day in the pool - I
>wich everyone (the media) would move on from it....
Sounds like you heard only half of the TV interview I heard.
Along with Janet's gracious comments concerning her failure to
qualify, I also heard her make accusations of drug use and unfair play
by Michelle Smith. Although she didn't seem to have the courage to
say this directly. I recall her saying something like "The
accusations are out there.", when responding to a question about
Smith's alleged steroid use. I also recall hearing her utter the
word(s) 'cheating' or 'not playing by the rules' when referring to
Smith's last-minute entry into the 400m event, as if Smith herself was
responsible for the Olympic Committee's decision. Evan's seemed to
want it both ways; praising the fact that the fastest swimmers were
going to the finals and condemning Smith for 'alleged' drug use and
I'm no expert on competitive swimming, Janet Evans, and, least of all,
Michelle Smith. However, Evan's comments can only be characterized as
those of a 'crybaby' or 'sore loser.' Evan's attempt to smear and
cast suspicion on Smith after her own lack-luster performance are not
my definitions of graciousness. If the accusations against Smith
are true, I am sure she will get hers in the end. If Evans could
have confined her comments to her own performance (discounting Smith,
7 swimmers finished ahead of her), I would have to agree that she was
indeed gracious and was able to handle defeat with the same dignity as
her many victories.
I, too, had a high regard for Evans prior to the interview I saw. But
let's not pretend she didn't make these unflattering comments or
dismiss them as 'media bullshit.' Any context in which they occurred
were unbecoming of a gracious champion. Artificially preserving an
image of Evans makes it all that much more difficult to identify a
truly gracious competitor, a rare thing in competitive athletics.
Should Evans rethink her shoot-from-the-hip accusations, I would
certainly give her the benefit of the doubt. But until then, I (and
many others) will think of her as a bit of a whiner.