Does race matter in the Olympics?
by Don Wycliff
August 26, 2004
I was offended by the piece on the cover of today’s [Aug. 24] Athens 2004 wrap, “A white tornado.” Are you kidding me? Does that make Justin Gatlin “A black streak,” or how about, “An ebony streak.” To make Jeremy Wariner’s race the focal point of your coverage demeans him, the sport, the Olympics and your readers who are able to appreciate his performance for what it is–a great performance on the brightest stage by a talented athlete.
So wrote Mike Griffin of Oak Park in an e-mail Tuesday to the public editor’s office. His was one of a handful of such communications from readers and, in one case, from a Tribune staff member.
I must confess that I came to this issue already on the record, at least domestically, against Griffin’s colorblind position. On Sunday, while reading the Sports section, I remarked to my wife in exaggerated wonderment, “What’s going on here? The boys from Lithuania beat the brothers from the U.S. in basketball; a woman from Belarus just won the 100-meter dash–the world’s turned upside down.”