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Ripples #79
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Ripples #79

Compiled and written by Lenny Giteck

Israel and Its Athletes Discriminated
Against at Swimming World Cup

Although international sports competitions are supposed to be above politics, the message apparently did not reach organizers of the recent Swimming World Cup events held in Qatar and Dubai. At the important international competition, both the nation of Israel and its athletes were subject to blatant discrimination.

The Web site reports that the Israeli flag was removed from the display of participating countries’ emblems in Doha, Qatar, after Qataris protested its presence via social media. In addition the article relates, “Qatari organizers and broadcasters apparently used a graphic of a plain white rectangle instead of the Israeli flag during races, according to The Times of Israel. The meet…reportedly did not air some of the events involving Israelis.”

After Israeli swimmer Amit Ivri garnered a silver medal in the women’s 100-meter individual medley, a blank flag appeared with her on the YouTube video (although according to the article, the real Israeli flag did appear briefly). Paradoxically, the Israeli flag was raised during the actual awards ceremony, although it is unclear if the ceremony was broadcast on TV.

Similar treatment was experienced by Israelis at the World Cup events held a few days earlier in Dubai. Based on a report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, The Huffington Post notes, “Broadcast and written accounts showed no [Israeli] flags, made no mention of Israel and even turned the camera away from Israeli contenders in certain races.”

The Huffington Post concludes: “Athletic boycotts of the Jewish state are nothing new, but when nations that either do not recognize Israel or are in conflict with it host international competitions, the pressure on them rises to be inclusive.”

Obviously, not enough. The Israelis reportedly plan to complain to the International Olympic Committee and the International Swimming Federation.

Video: To watch a video report about the controversy, click here.

Ripples Classic: April 27, 2011

Varicose Veins Lead to
Swimming Pool Brouhaha

With much of the world focused on the imminent royal wedding of William and Kate, it’s a good bet this story from the U.K. won’t be getting top billing in the international press — but for one British woman, it may be of equal or greater importance.

Fifty-seven-year-old Julia Babbage was greatly upset after she was told by a staff member at the Banstead Leisure Centre swimming pool to remove a pair of support tights she was wearing — or else leave the facility. Banstead Leisure Center is located in the town of Tadworth, in southeastern England.

Babbage had donned the tights to hide her varicose veins, but apparently the attire did not conform the facility’s swimming dress code. The aggrieved woman was especially incensed by the manner in which the incident was handled.

“It was totally embarrassing,” she was quoted as saying on “Is it appropriate to discuss it in the middle of the swimming pool with onlookers? If they had called me out after my swim and said we need to discuss something with you, that would have been professional and reasonable.”

The U.K. Web site went on to report: “The leisure centre has since invited Mrs. Babbage to return and will allow her to wear tights when swimming, but she is no longer a member.”

And with that, Ripples once again says…
Until next time, happy watershaping to you!

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