Money changes hands at Olympics? Shocking.

Sporting delegations must pay for judging appeals.

Well here we are in the midst of another Olympics. Do you have Olympic fever? I don’t, though I’ll freely admit I am more a Winter Games person. I was glued to the television during the Vancouver Games in 2010. But the Summer Games are bigger and most of the world follows them avidly.

I have watched enough to pick up some interesting facts and factoids.

First of all, we are being told constantly that these are the Twitter Games, the Games where social media is hugely important. Fine. We’ve already had two athletes ejected for Tweeting racial slurs (a Swiss soccer player and a Greek track athlete) and that’s definitely news.

However, I do not need these constant social media updates that Brian Williams and crew at CTV seemed so determined to force upon me. I do no need to be breathlessly updated every time someone Tweets.

And here is a really interesting thing that I wish CTV would tell me more about. Apparently, when a sporting delegation files an appeal on an event’s judging, such as with the hullabaloo over whether Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura came to a full handstand or not, which would affect his teams overall placement, cash changes hand. They have to pay for an official appeal.

Now I know you’re shocked that cold hard cash is sullying the pure spirit of the Olympics where the athletes are all in it for the love of sport and would never wear diamond grills in their teeth for medal ceremonies (I’m looking at you, US swimmer Ryan Lochte)… yeah, that ship sailed a long time ago.

However, paying for a review? I was first twigged onto this when watching said Men’s Team Gymnastics final and the CTV commentator, Canadian gold medalist from 2004, Kyle Shewfelt, briefly said, “appeals are expensive”. Expensive? I waited for more. Nothing was said. Even when the Brian himself had Shewfelt into the studio for more discussion on the controversy, I waited to hear the word expensive again. I did not. Not one word about having to pay for a review.

Then there were a couple of other appeals, in fencing and judo, and it came up again in a few reports. Intrigued, I consulted my good buddy Google and was surprised to find that no matter how I worded the search, very little came up.

This, from Yahoo sports was about the best confirmation. “At long last, after more than 30 minutes of a delay that included the Korean federation having to expedite a payment for the use in the official appeal.”

I also found “Unbelievably, payment is required for a formal inquiry. If the inquiry is accepted you get your money back, if not, they keep it.” That was a reader comment.

Not much to go on, but my vision of an Olympics unsullied by crass things such as cash has suffered a crushing blow.

Seeing as there seems to be general agreement that things like paying for appeals need to be kept under wraps, this may be an opportunity to bring another medal sport into the Olympics. Appealing Payment, perhaps. Cash Cow? Quite simply, a search for perfection in the art of the bribe.

In any event, it could be scored much like Olympic diving, points being given for both style and execution.

“I say, that was a masterful piece of payola there. One would never know cash even changed hands. That was a gold medal pay off. I must Tweet about it immediately.”

“No, I distinctly saw him reach for his pocket. This will require a review. Where’s my wallet?”

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