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Sportsmanship Case

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1. The actions of the US Golf team at the 1999 Ryder Cup, received a lot of media attention. The result of the Cup came down to the 17th hole, which was a play-off between the US player Justin Leonard, and the European player Jose Maria Olazabal. Both players found themselves with difficult birdie shots. Leonard made an amazing 45-foot putt to claim a birdie. The American team started dancing and cheering on the green. However Olazabal hadn’t shot yet. If Olazabal made his 22-foot putt for birdie, the match would be tied, and move on to another hole. Olazabal couldn’t take his shot until all of the players, wives and fans had been cleared from the green. With his focus completely destroyed, Olazabal missed the putt.

2. The actions of the Australian cricket team in 1981, when playing New Zealand, were condemned both in Australia and by the Cricket community internationally. Australia was bowling and there was only one ball left to be bowled in the match. New Zealand needed 6 runs to tie the match. The Australian Captain ordered the bowler, Trevor Chappell, to roll the ball down the wicket, ensuring that the New Zealand batsman could not possibly hit a 6. The batsman swatted away the ball and threw down his bat and walked off. The bowl was widely criticized as being against the spirit of the game.

3. One of the more famous bad sports in tennis, Lleyton Hewitt, was the victim of bad sportsmanship in a match at the 2005 Australian Open. The bad sportsmanship occurred in a match against Juan Ignacio Chela. Hewitt won a vital game in the match, and yelled his trademark “C”mon!’. This seemed to upset Chela, and as the two walked to their chairs after the game, Chela spat in Hewitt’s direction. Chela was fined $2000 US Dollars for the incident.

4. The world of snooker is not one that is generally associated with bad sportsmanship; however a famous incident did occur at the 1996 Snooker World Championship. Ronnie O’Sullivan, often described as the bad boy of world snooker, was scheduled to play a match against Alain Robidoux. O’Sullivan was a right-handed snooker player, but decided to play his match Robidoux with his left hand. O’Sullivan eventually won the match 10-3. Robidoux did not shake hands at the end of the match, and later called O’Sullivan’s actions disrespectful. O’Sullivan replied that he could play better with his non-favored hand, than Robidoux could with his favored hand.

5. Soccer has one of the worst reputations for bad sportsmanship out of all the different sports. Events like the ones that transpired in the 2002 FIFA World Cup, are no doubt part of the reason for the sport’s infamy. In a group match between Turkey and Brazil, Rivaldo (a Brazilian) had been awarded a free kick. Rivaldo was going about taking the kick very slowly, in order to waste time. Hakan Unsal, a Turkish player, became frustrated, and kicked the ball towards Rivaldo, to speed things up. The ball hit Rivaldo in the shins, at which point Rivaldo clutched his face, and collapsed to the ground. The referee, who had not seen the event, believed that Rivaldo had been hit in the face, and sent Unsal off, meaning Turkey played a man down for the rest of the match. Turkey subsequently lost the game.

6. Bad sportsmanship goes against everything the Olympics stands for, however even the Olympics are not free of unsporting behavior. At the 1972 Olympics, in the basketball Grand Final, the US basketball team lost their first game at the Olympics. The US team claimed they had been cheated, and made an official protest. When the protest was turned down, the US basketball team refused to accept their silver medals. As of April 2007, the medals remain unclaimed in a vault in Switzerland.

7. Michael Schumacher has long dominated the world of Formula One racing; however his career has always been clouded by accusations of bad sportsmanship. One incident in particular is remembered from the 1994 Season. In the last race of the season, Schumacher was leading the points table by 1 point from Damon Hill. This meant that Hill would win the World Championship if he finished anywhere in front of Schumacher in this last race. Toward the end of the race, Schumacher was in the lead, being closely followed by Hill. Schumacher made a mistake in one of his turns, leaving room for Hill to pass him on the inside. Hill went to pass Schumacher, and got about halfway past, when Schumacher slammed his car into Hill’s, totaling both cars, meaning that neither could complete the race. Since neither finished, Schumacher finished the season 1 point ahead of Hill, and therefore won the World Championship.

8. The Solheim Cup is a golfing tournament that is played between an American team and a European team. The 2000 Solheim Cup was marred by the conduct of the US team. Annika Sorenstam, playing for the European team, had a very difficult shot for birdie, both the US team and the Eurpoean team, watched as Sorenstam prepared herself for the shot. Finally she took the shot, and sunk the birdie. Once they had seen that Sorenstam had actually made the shot, the US team complained to the referee that it had been the Americans turn to shoot, and that Sorenstam’s birdie should not count. The referee agreed, and Sorenstam was forced to retake the shot. Visibly upset, she missed the shot, and the Europeans went on to lose the Solheim Cup by one shot.

9. The 1986 FIFA World Cup was home to one of the most famous acts of bad sportsmanship to ever take place in soccer. It has been named “the Hand of God” incident. This incident occurred in a match between England and Argentina. Diego Maradona, an Argentinian player, received a miscued clearance kick from one of the English players. Maradona knocked the ball into goal with his hand. The referee did not see this, and awarded the goal. Argentina went on to win the match 2-1, with both their goals having been scored by Maradona. After the match, when questioned about the goal, Maradona said “it was partly the head of Maradona, and partly the Hand of God”. Maradona later admitted to the handball.

10. Muhammad Ali is perhaps the most famous boxer of all time. He is renowned for his skill in the ring, and his mouth outside the ring. What is less known is the act of bad sportsmanship he took part in. Ali was fighting Henry Cooper, in a match he was expected to win easily. In the fourth round, Henry Cooper knocked Ali to the floor with an impressive left. The bell rang before Cooper could try for the knockout. Ali looked dazed from the shot, so his trainer ripped his glove in order to gain Ali more time to recover. Ali went on to win the match. .

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