Boxing great Roy Jones Jr, who notoriously was cheated out of an Olympic gold medal in Seoul in 1988 and knows a thing or two about ruined hopes, spoke about Russia’s potential four-year ban from international sports competitions.
Prior to the start of his professional career, the 19-year-old Jones entered the 1988 Summer Olympics in South Korea as the youngest member of the US Olympic Boxing Team to reach the final without losing a single round on his way to it. However, his gold medal hopes were ruined by the judges, who scored the fight in favor of his opponent, South Korea native Park Si-Hun, despite the fact that Jones landed 86 punches against Park’s 32.
Two of the three judges voting for Park were eventually banned from the sport for life, while Jones was awarded the Val Barker Trophy, given to the best stylistic boxer of the games. It was the third time (and the last to this day) when the award did not go to the gold medal winner.
Recalling his broken dreams in a chat with RT’s Alexey Yaroshevsky, Jones didn’t hold back his emotions.
“The IOC, they robbed me of a gold medal in 1988, when I was 19 years old,” he said.
“Because they never went back and fixed it, and many people around the world saw it, the integrity of boxing and the Olympics has decreased. Because if you rob a guy and nobody cares, and you do nothing to fix it. You know it’s wrong and you do nothing to fix it.
“And that’s the finals, we aren’t talking about semi- or quarter-finals, what truly determines the gold or silver. We didn’t say ‘go take the medal back from the guy.’ But, you know, I deserved it, so why not not give me a gold medal too and say ‘ok we got two gold medals this year’. As for integrity, people would say ‘at least they’re fixing the problem’ But they didn’t,” Jones lamented.
Ahead of the World Anti-Doping Agency meeting in Lausanne, which should decide Russia’s fate in the world of sports, with a potential four-year Olympic and international ban hanging over the country, Jones described the situation around the country as catastrophic.
“It’s a catastrophe. You are taking away the dreams of the kids. And some of these kids had nothing to do with it.
“What happens is, if you ban everybody for one or two sports for doing wrong, that is not fair to other people, because for some of those sports drugs don’t matter, they aren’t affecting those sports. So why would you ban those sports, when they had nothing to do with it? You are going to slap them[as you also] slap the hand of the guilty, the direct sports that had something to do with it. Don’t ruin the kids’ lives. They have dreams. Like I did. To go to the Olympics or to go to the World Cups and compete for their country. Don’t punish them.
If you do that and punish everybody – you are killing a lot of dreams.
“And we are always talking about the youth or our mission, because that is tomorrow. Well, when you ban a whole country from participating – you are killing a whole lot of dreams of the youth. [Also], you are telling them that you really care about the youth? Now we have a contradiction, I can’t believe it. Because some of the sports don’t require steroids. It’s not even an issue in some of those sports. Figure skating? Steroids is not an issue. So why would you ban those sports too because of something one or two other sports did? That is just not fair.” he concluded.
This article is republished from RT.com under a Creative Commons license.