San Marino and Botswana and Ivory Coast Cleaned Up This Year!
I am probably not going to see another new nation win a medal for the first time in this Olympics. I am excited for the three we have: Turkmenistan, Burkina Faso and San Marino. If I were a sports minister in one of the nations that has no medals or has chronically underperformed at the Olympics over the last few cycles of Games, I might not want my president or prime minister to read about San Marino…
For San Marino won THREE medals: A silver and two bronze. The first bronze, you already read here at this blog. But the Tiny Country That Could or in a nod to the great writer Leonard Wibberley (He wrote The Mouse That Roared – fabulous book – Wibberley dedicated it to all the little nations of the world like the one he came from – Ireland; the movie was a disaster because it was essential to the plot that Gloriana XII be an attractive young woman so she could possibly marry the hero of the war – Tully Bascomb – and they cast her as an older woman so Peter Sellers could play several roles.) lets say The Mouse That Saved the Olympics. (Wibberley wrote three sequels about Grand Fenwick: The Mouse on the Moon, The Mouse on Wall Street and The Mouse That Saved the West [energy/oil]).
But the San Marino team of Perilli and Gian Marco Berti came within one point of a Second Sanders Tout in the same Olympics when they lost to Spain 41-40 in the gold medal match of mixed trap shooting. The San Marino team actually knocked out the US team to eventually get to gold contention. Here is a fabulous article in Italian on the big win and the greeting they received when they returned to to their homeland.
Then something very interesting happened that might save the job of that sports minister or might give an ambitious MP, who might be gunning for the Sports Minister’s job, an idea. The third bronze medal for the Mouse That Saved the Olympics was not for a native of San Marino but an American wrestler from Michigan. Here is the account from the Detroit Free Press about Myles Amine.
Amine repped San Marino, a tiny landlocked European country of about 34,000 because of the family’s Sammarinese citizenship. His mother’s grandfather came to the U.S. from San Marino in the early 1900s.
By applying for, and receiving, the right to represent San Marino, Amine and his older brother, Malik, can not formally represent the U.S in international wrestling competitions. Amine said the decision to switch was tough.
“My brother and I, we both pledge allegiance to the United States before anything else,” Amine told the Livingston Daily in 2019. “It’s the country we live in. I would have been able to compete for a spot, and very well had a chance to make the team.
No, Amine did not have to renounce his US citizenship to be on the San Marino Olympic team. It is not uncommon for nations to allow non-citizens or even non-residents to be on an Olympic team. And it’s got to be a tough choice for say a USA basketball player who is not an NBA all star and can be in the Olympics under another nation’s flag. But Sports Imperialism forces their hands.
Now we turn to an amazing medal won by Botswana, again not the first overall medal (see here) but a nice addition: The 4 x 400 men’s relay team where the USA won gold and Netherlands won silver (a rah for them, too) and a surprising Botswana team came in third for the bronze. Here is a Twitter coverage from Super Sport:
BRILLIANT. BOTSWANA. BRONZE
The team of Isaac Makwala, Zibane Ngozi, Bayapo Ndori and Baboloki Thebe run a sensational 4×400 men’s relay to secure the bronze for their country
I did not realize all those memes would be so large! But it is how I feel about Botswana. Great nation with rule of law, multi-party democracy and a fair amount of liberty. Here is a Youtube video to watch to learn more.
Finally, we have Cote d’Ivorie, who also won first gold medal and received an Official Sanders Tout (here it is) in 2016. One of those 2016 winners won again, Ruth Gbagbi, in the 67kg Taekwondo. One more bronze medal! Here is an African report on that.
Taekwondo Ivory Coast’s Ruth Gbagbi, 27, matched her bronze from from Rio as she beat Brazil’s Milena Titoneli 12-8 in the -67kg category. She had lost to Great Britain’s Lauren Williams in the semi-finals 24-18
Speaking of Cote d’Ivorie, if you are anywhere near Silver Springs Maryland (If they let me in Maryland!) should try out this Ivory Coast cultural festival. It is Sunday, August 8 from 10 to 10 and here is the website of the non-profit that is doing it: La Main Tendue (The Outreached Hand). (Independence Day for the Ivory Coast is today, August 7.)
Finally, here is the blog post with the Sanders Olympic Policy stated. We might have one more Tout!