South Korean Soccer Player Park Jong-woo Denied Bronze Medal
As if there hasn’t already been a South Korean Olympian jobbed at these Olympic Games, now another will not be receiving a medal they rightfully earned. This time, soccer player Park Jong-woo will be denied a bronze medal that his team rightfully won in the bronze medal match against Japan, for displaying a politically charged sign after the match.
Park’s sign read “Dokdo is our territory,” with Dokdo being a set of small islands that were once under Japanese rule that Korea claim under their rule, despite the fact that Japan do as well under the name Takeshima. Park did this just after President Lee Myung-bak traveled to the islands, drawing the ire of the Japanese government.
As a result of the IOC and FIFA’s rules against players making political statements and demonstrations, Park was told not to come to the ceremony, which he was not present for. FIFA is looking into further disciplining Park, while the IOC investigates his actions.
This is ridiculous. For any governing body to expect an event in which millions of fans do nothing but wave flags and chant their country’s name for two weeks to not have political undertones is pathetic and naive at best. Given that there is currently some tension between the two countries and they just played an important match, probably the most important of Park’s life, FIFA and the IOC should be smart enough to give him a break on this one.
Barring him from the medal ceremony was punishment enough. Now let Park Jong-woo have his bronze medal and leave it alone.