From flawed flags and purple pee to allegations of underaged gymnasts, it seems that everyone is taking a piss at China’s Olympic team this year.
During Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) live coverage of the women’s 4×200 swimming relay event, color commentator Byron MacDonald made some off-hand remarks without realizing he was actually on air:
The little 14-year-old from China dropped the ball, baby. Too excited, went out like stink, died like a pig. Thanks for that.
It was widely believed that the coach was referring to Ai Yanhan, the only 14-year-old swimmer on the Chinese team. News.com.au reported that because of Ai’s poor performance, the Canadian team was able to catch up and secure third place in the race.
— Rob Barber (@barberrob) August 11, 2016
According to one Word Reference forum user, the phrase “went out like stink” is swimming lingo used to describe when a swimmer swims too quickly at the beginning of the race and runs out of energy by the end. Meanwhile, the words “died like a pig” might come from a famous movie scene in the classic American gangster film “The Untouchables” when FBI agent Elliot Ness confronts crime boss Frank Nitti. [Spoiler alert]:
Ness: I’m going to see you burn, you son of a bitch, because you killed my friend!
Frank Nitti: He died like a pig.
Ness: What did you say?
Frank Nitti: I said your friend died screaming like a stuck Irish pig. Now you think about that when I beat the rap. [He runs a comb through his hair and walks toward the door. Ness, enraged, grabs him from behind and pushes him past the door]
Frank Nitti: Hey… hey! [Ness propels him toward the ledge]
Frank Nitti: *Hey! [Ness pushes him off the roof. He falls, screaming]
Ness: Did he sound anything like *that*?
Following the fiasco, CBC quickly apologized on Twitter:
— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) August 11, 2016
According to SCMP, CBC spokesman Chuck Thompson also emailed a statement apologizing for the commentator’s word use:
“We sincerely regret that these statements were made, and that they were allowed to go to air,” the statement read. “To be clear, Byron’s comments were related to the swimmer’s performance, not to her as an individual. That said, they were inappropriate and an unfortunate choice of words and Byron is very sorry for what he said.”
The day after making the comments, MacDonald officially apologized on live TV:
“I would like to take a moment to apologies for a comment that I made last night after the women’s relay,” he said, “I was referring to a swimmer’s performance, and not to them as a person. Needless to say, there was no disrespect intended and I’m very sorry.”
Despite the apology, many Twitter users have continued to show no mercy for the hapless Canadian.
— Sarah Paradis (@sarah_paradis) August 11, 2016
— Xue gong (@KKXueGong) August 11, 2016
Byron MacDonald should apologize by himself,we don't accept apologies from the official account of CBC Olympics.
— Bradley Ou (@ou_bradley) August 11, 2016
— Dave Howlett RHB (@RHBDaveHowlett) August 11, 2016
On Weibo, netizens condemned the coach for his alleged racism:
“Actually there is no use in apologizing, they only say sorry from their lips and not from their hearts. The only way to shut them up is to allow our country to grow stronger and stronger.”
“The commentator must publicly apologize to our little Ai! Don’t you [Westerners] always talk about human rights? This time you have to stand out and respect our integrity. We Chinese will not return to an era of humiliation!”
“Not matter how they apologize, it feels fake. Hell, you insulted a child athlete, do you even have any character?”
“[Canada], a Western country that proudly promotes human rights, yet allows racism to be deeply entrenched in the hearts of its people.”
“This Canadian is a son of a bitch”
“They [Westerners] say these things simply because they look down on Chinese people. They use Human Rights and freedom to self-promote, not to treat everyone equally! The Olympics have really revealed the falsity of these hypocrites.”
“Not all sorrys can be replaced with okays.”
“[China’s continuing pace of development] in twenty years time will force everyone to kneel down and call us papa.”
“This is too wrong! Dormitory issues, Horton, and now an insult? When has Chines athletes caused you any trouble? Have they made any mistakes? How can you insult a 14-year-old athlete with such malice? If you’re so good yourself, why don’t you compete [in the races]? No matter what, we will always support our athletes!”
This is not how you attract more Chinese students and skilled workers to your country.
According to his official bio, MacDonald was a former Olympian and national team member in swimming. He has served as head coach of the University of Toronto Varsity Blues swimming program since 1978 and is considered to be one of the country’s most decorated university coaches. He has coached many swimmers into the Olympics. One of his swimmers, Kylie Masse, recently secured a bronze medal in the women’s 100 backstroke event a few days ago.
While MacDonald’s off-hand remarks may violate the CBC’s code of conduct policy, it remains unclear whether he will retain his position. People with names similar to Byron MacDonald are advised to stay off social media.
By Arnie Yung
[Images from Apple Daily, Chinaso]