Friday, July 27, 2012

The Egyptian Olympic Blunder

While the eyes of the world are trained on London for the next two weeks, any mistakes are immediately noted and broadcast (*cough* Marhaba Bikum London backwards anyone? *cough*). Although it's unlikely for any Olympics to ever go off without a hitch, the least that can be expected is for the athletes to show up ready to compete and full of team spirit, right?

Image courtesy of AFP

Well, that is unless you're part of the Egyptian Olympic team. Unfortunately due to "dire economic circumstances," the Egyptian Olympic Committee (EOC) decided it would be best to outfit their athletes with counterfeit Nike gear.

Yes you heard me, counterfeit Nike gear.

The Egypt Independent featured quotes from Egyptian Olympiad Yomna Khallaf, competing in the women's synchronized swimming. During an interview with Cairo Stadium Radio, Khallaf explains:

 "We went to the Olympic Committee, and they gave us funny things. I wear X-small but they gave me Nike gear that was size double X-large ... They gave us a bag that has a Nike logo on the front, but the zipper has the logo of Asdidas [sic] ... we had to buy LE17,000 worth of real things from Nike for the team to look good.”
Of course this blunder didn't take long to leak into the media, and as the world was watching, the EOC scrambled to find excuses to justify their actions - or shall we just call it what it is: corruption?
News leaked that the head of the EOC had in fact been budgeted to buy genuine Nike gear by the Egyptian National Sports Council, but instead bought the counterfeit gear while the rest of the cash just 'disappeared.' Initially, the head of the EOC, General Mahmoud Ahmed Ali, claimed, "We signed with a Chinese distributor in light of Egypt's economic situation."
Seems however that this *shockingly* is not entirely true, as the Tourism Industry has had to fork over 200,000 LE to make up for his blunder. Now my question is: Did they do this because they genuinely care about the athletes all being in appropriate Nike gear, or was this more of a "we've been caught time to cover our asses" type situation.

Oh Egypt. Even in the Olympics, an event that is meant to boost national pride and patriotism, you have people in power who can't help but show the world just how corrupt to the core the system here remains.

And with that, my Olympic fever can begin! GO TEAM GB!!! And US!! And Ireland! WEEHOOO!

1 comment:

  1. LOL.. How classically Egyptian this is. You can go even a few seconds without seeing knockoffs. Shopping is like falling through the looking glass, especially here in Hurghada.