The women’s 1500m was a tactical race. It saw heartbreak, as Morgan Uceny, who dominated the event last year before being tripped in the World Championships and finishing out of the medals, was again tripped, injured her back, and did not finish.
The race was won by a Turkish runner, Asli Cakir Alptekin. The BBC announcers were obviously unhappy with the outcome (video here on tab 12 for British readers). Not only were the tactics disappointing, but the winner was a former drug cheat. In 2004, Cakir Alptekin was caught cheating, failing a drug test at the World Junior Championships.
She was banned from competition for two years. She served her time, paid the penalty, and had a right to compete. No one suggested she cheated again, or had won unfairly. But she broke the rules in the past, gaining an unfair advantage, and people remember….
The men’s 100m was one of the most-anticipated events of the Olympics, with by far the fastest field ever assembled. The main news was a Jamaican 1-2 (video here on tab 25 for British readers), with Usain Bolt (the fastest man ever and defending champion) defeating Yohan Blake (the world champion last year at 21 years of age). Tyson Gay, the second fastest man of all time, didn’t even get a medal, despite running faster than any third place finisher in any race ever. The American, Justin Gatlin, the Olympic winner in 2004, took bronze.
Justin Gatlin had served two drug suspensions, the first due to a drug he had taken since childhood for attention deficit disorder. The second, he claimed, was sabotage, that someone somehow fed the drug into his system. Whatever the facts, he had those drugs. He’s served his suspension, done his time. He’s come back from it all, been thoroughly tested, appears to be competing legally — but people remember….
The cycling road race is almost six hours of brutal endurance work. (British readers can watch it all, or skip to the 5:45 mark for the key parts.) Two riders broke free with 7km to go. Alexander Vinokourov of Kazakhstan, who almost retired in 2011 but extended his career to complete in the Olympics, made his move with 500m to go, and won gold.
Vinokourov was banned for two years in 2007 for blood doping, but came out of retirement. In 2010, there were accusations that he bribed another rider to let him win the Liege-Bastogne-Liege race.
He served his ban, and worked hard to come back. But people remember….
King David stole his friend’s wife, committing adultery and then arranging for Uriah’s murder so that he could marry his wife and hide his sin. God sent Nathan the prophet:
II Samuel 12:9-14
9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.
10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.
11 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.
12 For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.
13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.
14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.
When we sin, even when the price has been paid, even when the Lord has forgiven our sin, there are consequences, often tragic ones — and people remember….
And we remember.
Moral wounds have this peculiarity,—they may be hidden, but they never close; always painful, always ready to bleed when touched, they remain fresh and open in the heart.
– Alexandre Dumas
People remember, and so do we. There would be no end to the miserable consequences and remembrance of our sin, but for our Lord’s grace and mercy, shining brightly as ever, with this glorious promise:
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
Thoughts on the Olympics — Faith, Focus, Finish
Thoughts on the Olympics — He Wanted to Get Caught
Thoughts on the Olympics — “Not Something We’ve been too Concerned About”
Thoughts on the Olympics — The Secret of “Marginal Gains”
Thoughts on the Olympics — The Race Set Before Them
Thoughts on the Olympics — Honour to Whom Honour