Chinese Rower Forgets to Show Up for Race

Among the excuses for failing to bring home a medal in your particular Olympic sport, Chinese rower Zhang Liang has the most embarrassing. Juliet Macur of the New York Times reports Zhang thought he was in a different heat, and no one from the Chinese team made a point to correct him.
Wei Di, the director of China's water sports programs, said that Zhang had thought he was in the third heat of the single, but was actually entered in the second.

"This shows we still have some problems in team organization," Wei told Xinhua, the state-run news agency.

Ya think? Even worse, Zhang's mistake cost him two medal chances -- he didn't show up for the singles race, which means he didn't qualify for the doubles race, which screwed his partner.

This would be a lot more funny if you didn't feel so bad for Zhang, who might fear more than teammate taunting from this episode. I'm not saying the Chinese Olympic federation is made up of frightening thugs or anything, but someone should probably keep a GPS tracker on Zhang. Just in case.

I'm trying to think of a worse cause for losing a potential medal. The chicken pox seems far from noble. But actively cheating by way of steroids, by virtue of its dishonor, probably wins. We'll give Zhang a bronze here, so he doesn't return home empty-handed.

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[via fanhouse]

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