Latin America & Caribbean

Rio Olympics 2016: Athletes who have failed to accept their losses

The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio have provided some memorable moments with runners diving over finish lines, swimmers breaking taboos and pole vaulters falling out with the media over items of their anatomy. There have been stunning finishes, record-breaking results and moments of incredible sportsmanship.

However, there has also been an element of controversy and the occasional poor loser ‒ and these vary from the patriotic to the absurd.

A dressing down

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Image caption Caroline Garcia (L) with tennis partner Kristina Mladenovic (R) was forced to wear white during a doubles match in Rio

After suffering defeat in the first round of the women's doubles with her tennis partner Caroline Garcia, France's Kristina Mladenovic launched a scathing attack on the "incompetent" French Tennis Federation (FFT).

Mladenovic was furious after arriving on court for a doubles match only to be told that the pair were dressed in inappropriate uniforms.

Appearing in outfits provided by their sponsors ‒ Mladenovic in white and Garcia in blue ‒ the players were warned that they risked disqualification if they did not change in order to participate in identical kits.

The issue was fixed after Mladenovic provided a spare outfit for her partner, who had to wear it inside out due to sponsorship issues, and they returned to court dressed in white.

However, they were defeated after losing in the third set and Mladenovic took to Twitter to voice her disdain at the FFT. She accused the body of incompetence for failing to pass on the official rules, causing unnecessary stress that she claimed had resulted in the players walking away without a medal.

She later said she did not regret her comments and accused the FFT of "ruining this important sporting moment in our careers".

Corruption allegations

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Image caption Michael Conlan (R), Irish amateur boxer, said his opponent had won because of corruption in the sport

When Michael Conlan, the Irish amateur boxer, insisted he had been robbed of victory in a quarter-final bout against Russia's Vladimir Nikitin, most observers agreed with him.

Conlan was so furious that his expletive-laden tirade went viral. He said the title had in some way been fixed, and claimed that members of the International Boxing Association (Aiba), the governing body of amateur boxing, were "cheats".

He later posted a tweet directed at an account associated with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which he wrote: "Hey Vlad @PutinRF_Eng ... How much did they charge you bro?"

The Bantamweight boxer questioned the judging of the tournament after losing the quarter-final bout, as his Russian rival was awarded victory by a unanimous decision.

Conlan was later offered a medal by five-year-old Finn McManus from Dublin, who took pity on the Commonwealth, European and world amateur boxing champion.

Aiba responded to Conlan by commenting: "The organisation will not be deterred by subjective judgements made by discontented parties. We welcome all parties to come forward and provide evidence in order to take appropriate and immediate action."

Money makes the wheels go round?

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Image caption A former French cyclist has said the British team's success comes down to money

Britain's dominance in the velodrome came under scrutiny with outspoken former French cyclist and coach Antoine Vayer leading an attack on funding in the sport on social media.

Vayer posted provocative comments aimed at British cyclists, suggesting that the levels of money invested in the sport in the UK were responsible for the success of the British cycling team at this year's Games. One of his tweets read: "£ycling"

In response, Iain Dyer, British Cycling's head coach, said such comments were unfounded and put the team's dominance down to outperforming their rivals. "Some of the people here are not even performing at the level of the world championships," he said.

Britain's golden couple Laura Trott and Jason Kenny won historic cycling golds as Rio 2016 became the nation's most successful overseas Olympics.

Crowd participation

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Image caption French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie was booed after receiving his silver medal

After the shock of losing gold to Brazilian Thiago Braz da Silva, French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie pointed the finger of blame at the crowd for creating an "atmosphere of football" with their synchronised whistling.

The Frenchman, who won silver, criticised the crowd, comparing his treatment to the hostile reaction shown to black US athlete Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics in Nazi Germany. "When you've got 40,000 people whistling while you're trying to achieve your best performance... it is destabilising," he said.

After Lavillenie was booed in the wake of his defeat by Da Silva, Thomas Bach, the International Olympic Committee president, condemned the treatment of the Frenchman.

But he was then booed a second time the following day as he received his medal, and was visibly in tears. He later apologised and said he regretted his comments, adding that it was "probably because I was very angry".

It was our opponents

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Hope Solo, US football goalkeeper, accused Swedish rivals of being cowards

The USA has dominated the medals table in Brazil, but the women's football team's quarter-final penalty shootout defeat by Sweden did not go down well. In fact, the result led to calls for the boycott of Swedish goods.

Hope Solo, the USA goalkeeper, said her team had played a "courageous" game against a Swedish side she accused of being "a bunch of cowards".

"They didn't want to pass the ball," she said, adding that "the best team did not win today".

The loss appeared difficult to accept back home with USA soccer fans taking to social media to call for a boycott on Swedish retailers such as Ikea.

Solo later posted a comment on Twitter: "Losing sucks. I'm really bad at it."

No home support

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Azizulhasni Awang (R), the Malaysian cyclist, made history when he won the bronze medal in cycling

After losing out on gold and silver in the men's keirin cycling event, Azizulhasni Awang and fellow Malaysian Fatehah Mustapa criticised a prominent politician in their homeland for not helping them prepare for the Rio Games.

"To the Terengganu chief minister, we would still like to express our thanks even though you did not agree to help us, two Terengganu natives, to compete on the global stage at this Olympics," Awang wrote on Facebook.

Awang made history by clinching Malaysia's first Olympic Games cycling medal after he finished third, but said he believed he could have done better, had he had more support during training.

He said it was unfortunate that his home town was not big on cycling, adding: "We only have two velodromes and one is broken and the other one is going to be demolished."

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