Havana 2012 – London 2012 / Regina Coyula

Watching the very “English” opening ceremony of the Olympic Games the other day I remembered that this could have been the Havana Olympics if a collective act of insanity on the part of the IOC had awarded us the games.

Not to lose the right for failing to meet the deadline to complete the construction, because we could have had new sites for everything, the country would now be completely upside down, with everything having come to a halt for the “shock task.” But I won’t go down that fictional road in its infinite versions. I like almost all sports, and I really enjoy the swimming competitions which take place in these early days and I look forward to the track and field.

If I don’t enjoy it more it’s the fault of the sportscasters on Cuban television covering London. They drive me crazy. Particularly Reinier Gonzalez, whom I admired for his knowledge of sports that made him stand out among his colleagues, who outside of baseball, boxing or volleyball run out of ideas when it comes time report on them, except for the sober Sergio Ortega and the new Evian Guerra.

But Reinier, who stood out for a long time without knowing the sweetness of airplanes, now loses me by appealing to the worst chauvinism. Not only with the Cuban competitors, which would make sense. If they are Venezuelans and even Chinese the bias is present, especially to minimize another country which has representatives in almost all the sports.

Yesterday in swimming I barely turned off the TV, and was thrilled with the qualification of Hansel Garcia for the 200 meter final in the freestyle. The commentator Reinier, just short of hysterical, didn’t stop at praising the Cuban, undoubtedly commendable, but had to spend time talking about the American who won the best time in the semifinals. In swimming itself, in the tight final of the 200 meter butterfly, this gentleman could think of nothing better to say than that it’s the end of the Phelps era (!) when the king of Beijing was passed in the last meters by a South African.

If someone wasn’t aware of the image — poor eyesight or busy, let’s say — they’d have a distorted idea of what happened with the goalkeeper Juan Carlos Stevens or with Andy Pereira in table tennis. Our athletes, according to him, are not bettered: “he didn’t have a good day,” “he didn’t catch that,” “it was inaccurate,” “he was surprised.”

It irritates me to repeat that our athletes compete for the dignity of Cuba. Every athlete competes to win, in London they compete for Olympic glory. Another thing is when they put the microphone in front of the Cubans and ask them to whom they dedicate their victory. For many years these medals were dedicated single-handed, then the family appeared, the coaches, and the people, but in their hearts, every athlete knows that they owe it to themselves.

I will continue following the TV that relieves me from the infernal heat and the transport that is the same, and if the commentators gild the lily I will press mute. Although I suspect — without joy, I confess — that I will not miss the national anthem.

August 2 2012