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Alltime chokes in sports bureaucracy history

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  • Alltime chokes in sports bureaucracy history

    OK, we have a "chokes in track history" thread. The Landis case suggested this one to me. What are some of the greatest "chokes" in sports history made by officials/drug testers/management/coaches/politicos?

    If Landis didn't do it, what a tragedy. Of course, we'll never really know.

    I'll throw out the 1980 Olympic boycott as another nomination to get things going. BTW, who actually made the decision not to go to Moscow? Was Carter the "decider," the only one who could say yay or nay? Did Congress have to take some action to make the boycott happen?

  • #2
    Here's another. In 1990, Colorado's football team was losing to Missouri late in the game and had the ball inside the ten. They failed to put it across the goal line in four plays but some bonehead official missed one of the plays and did not advance the official "down counter", wherever that is, so the Buffs got a fifth down. They managed to score, win the game, and went on to win the Orange Bowl (over Notre Dame) and the AP poll title. Georgia Tech was second in the poll.

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    • #3
      The mysterious 0.0 mps wind reading for Flo Jo's 10. 49 needs to be near the top.

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      • #4
        And of course the foul call at the end of the 1972 Olympic Basketball final !

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        • #5
          The Carl Lewis 30 foot jump???

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          • #6
            Re: Alltime chokes in sports bureaucracy history

            Originally posted by DrJay
            I'll throw out the 1980 Olympic boycott as another nomination to get things going. BTW, who actually made the decision not to go to Moscow? Was Carter the "decider," the only one who could say yay or nay? Did Congress have to take some action to make the boycott happen?
            Congress had nothing to do with it. In fact, if you're talking about making the decision, that wasn't Carter's responsibility either. It was actually the decision of the US Olympic Committee. Their leadership initially opposed the boycott, but in the end supported it, undoubtedly after enormous pressure was applied by the Carter administration.

            Interestingly, the British Olympic Association was in a similar position. Their government supported Carter's boycott idea. The BOA defied their government and sent their team.

            Could the USOC have voted to say no to Carter? Yes they could have, and IMHO, they should have. But there might have been some ugly consequences. We'll never know how it would have played out.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by bad hammy
              The Carl Lewis 30 foot jump???
              That was a legitimate foul. I don't know that that has ever been questioned.
              There are no strings on me

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              • #8
                Re: Alltime chokes in sports bureaucracy history

                Originally posted by tandfman
                But there might have been some ugly consequences.

                For how long? 6 months? I'm sure any "ugly consequences" would have disappeared with Reagan's inauguration.

                Balls were in short supply at the USOC in 1980, that is a fact.
                There are no strings on me

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by guru
                  Originally posted by bad hammy
                  The Carl Lewis 30 foot jump???
                  That was a legitimate foul. I don't know that that has ever been questioned.
                  That doesn't chime with my understanding. I thought the official had made a mistake by calling a foul because Lewis broke the plane of the line even though he did not touch the ground past the board (ie made no mark in the plasticine), the latter being what the rules specify as a foul.

                  Am I wrong?

                  Justin

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                  • #10
                    I stand corrected on Lewis. From his Wiki entry(and T&FN):

                    The August 1982 of Track & Field News magazine, under the heading, "Lewis Wuz Robbed", asked, "Did Carl Lewis lose a sure World Record - and perhaps history's first 30-foot long jump - because of a foul called erroneously by an official? Did Mike Conley lose a 57-8 triple jump - an American Record and the second longest ever - for the same reason? T&FN believes they did." 28 foot long jumper Jason Grimes estimated Lewis's fourth jump at "definitely 30 feet". Lewis said, "I figured it at 30-2." Boston Globe reporter Joe Concannon wrote, "Had it been measured, it would have been history's first 30-foot jump." When Lewis went to look at the plasticine indicator board after his fourth long jump of the evening was called a foul by the official, there were no marks present (as there would have been with a foul). The officials told him - as they would tell Conley in the triple jump the next evening - that the toe of his shoe had been slightly over the end of the takeoff board. As T&FN reported, "The problem is that under the rules, neither Lewis' jump nor Conley's was a foul. The IAAF rule says, 'It shall be counted as a failure if any competitor touches the ground beyond the takeoff line with any part of the body...' And of course it would be impossible to touch the ground without leaving a mark on the plasticine. So, how could two jumps which left no mark in the plasticine be called 'fouls'? The answer is simply this; the officials did not know the rules. The officials firmly believe that the rules define a foul as one in which the jumper's shoe breaks the plane of the take-off line at the end of the take-off board. But in fact, there is nothing in the rules for the horizontal jumps which makes any mention of 'breaking the plane of the takeoff line.'" Officials erred further in not measuring Lewis's jump, even though it was declared a foul. Had they done so, Lewis could have later filed an appeal to have the mark instated. The Athlete's Congress (TAC) Rule 36 in effect at the time stated, "The Field Judges shall measure, judge and record each trial of each competitor in all field events." Thus not one but two official errors probably cost Lewis a world record in the long jump.
                    There are no strings on me

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                    • #11
                      Re: Alltime chokes in sports bureaucracy history

                      Originally posted by DrJay
                      ...I'll throw out the 1980 Olympic boycott as another nomination to get things going. BTW, who actually made the decision not to go to Moscow? Was Carter the "decider," the only one who could say yay or nay? Did Congress have to take some action to make the boycott happen?
                      I'm trying to remember who the truly evil guy was in the White House who purportedly met w/ USOC leaders and issued some strong threa... err, ultimatums.

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                      • #12
                        Zbig was a hawk?

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                        • #13
                          Re: Alltime chokes in sports bureaucracy history

                          Originally posted by gh
                          I'm trying to remember who the truly evil guy was in the White House who purportedly met w/ USOC leaders and issued some strong threa... err, ultimatums.
                          IIRC, the architect of the boycott, and the man who quarterbacked the domestic and international efforts to get governments and Olympic Committees to fall in line, was White House Counsel Lloyd Cutler.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Alltime chokes in sports bureaucracy history

                            Originally posted by gh
                            Originally posted by DrJay
                            ...I'll throw out the 1980 Olympic boycott as another nomination to get things going. BTW, who actually made the decision not to go to Moscow? Was Carter the "decider," the only one who could say yay or nay? Did Congress have to take some action to make the boycott happen?
                            I'm trying to remember who the truly evil guy was in the White House who purportedly met w/ USOC leaders and issued some strong threa... err, ultimatums.
                            Secretary of State Cyrus Vance was the main heavy. He spoke at the IOC Session in Lake Placid before the Winter Olympics, purportedly to open the Session on behalf of the US government, and went into a polemic supporting the boycott idea. The IOC was irate.

                            And though the USOC did not have the balls they should have, the government also threatened that they would pull the passports of all US athletes on the Olympic team, if the USOC defied the boycott proposal. Theoretically that makes it hard to travel to a foreign country. (I could argue that the Moscow COJO could have theoretically accepted the Olympic Identity Card, which per the Olympic Charter, is supposed to allow passage the country holding the Olympics during the period of the Olympic Games, but that was unlikely.)

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                            • #15
                              Re: Alltime chokes in sports bureaucracy history

                              Originally posted by bambam
                              (I could argue that the Moscow COJO could have theoretically accepted the Olympic Identity Card, which per the Olympic Charter, is supposed to allow passage the country holding the Olympics during the period of the Olympic Games, but that was unlikely.)
                              Did Aeroflot fly to the US in those days? If not, would they have been able to find a carrier that would let them on the plane without a passport. Presumably all the US carriers (then, as now, subject to Federal regulation) would have supported the Administration by not flying the athletes anywhere. They would have had to find a cooperative foreign carrier (also subject to US regulation if they were flying out of the US) who'd let them out of the US without a passport and then hold them in a transit status at a foreign airport.

                              But even if they could get out, what about getting back in? How would they return to the US? Suppose the US immigration folks made it clear that they would bar entry to anyone without a passport. I think there was enough going on that regardless of what the Soviets were willing to accept, this was not going to work for American athletes if the US government wanted to play hardball.

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