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Discussion: The other Thierry

in: Orienteering; Off-Course

Nov 19, 2009 3:49 PM # 
Yesterday France's other Legendary Thierry (Thierry Henri, the soccer player) was involved in a "major talking-point". Playing against Ireland in a game to determine which country will go to the 2010 World Cup tournament, and with the Irish oh so close to pulling off a great upset, Soccer Thierry blatantly cheated by pushing the ball with his hand. there is no dispute about this and he even admits (after the game) that he did it. But the officials did not see the violation and as a result the French scored a goal and will now be in the tournament while the Irish are eliminated. I am sure today is not a good day to be a fan of "The Beatiful Game" nor a proud day to be a French soccer fan.

The differences and similarities between Soccer Thierry's selfish behaviour and Orienteering Thierry's unselfishness at the World Champs Relay were striking. Although the two incidents are worlds apart (one watched by millions of people live, the other unseen - to mention just one difference), I did find many interesting parallels. Notably the (I assume hopeless) call this morning from the Irish coach to replay the game. Also the impact on the reputation of the players (very negative for Soccer Thierry, very positive for Orienteering Thierry et al). And the general disappointment of soccer fans, versus the rather uplifting feeling for orienteering fans last summer.

Soccer Thierry has claimed the fault lies with the officials for not noticing the cheating. Wow, what a load of crap. French politician Philippe De Villiers is closer to reality I'd think: "The moral of this match is that you can cheat as long as you don't get caught. The France team is going to be labelled for years as a team of cheats."

I am so happy to be in a sport where true sportsmanship has been displayed at the very highest of levels and in which the reputations not only of the individuals and teams involved, but also of the entire community has been elevated
Nov 19, 2009 3:55 PM # 
"The moral of this match is that you can cheat as long as you don't get caught. The France team is going to be labelled for years as a team of cheats."

It´s also quite sad that otherwise - at least technically - great players get labelled for (hopefully) one single bad incident. Does anyone remember the good-bye of Zinedine Zidane from the soccer World Cup a few years ago?
Nov 19, 2009 4:00 PM # 
The IRISH must be very HOT. In a match of that importance you want to get every edge you did look intentional but he sure hid it well.

but what could the french of done.....say "our guy did use his hand....we don't deserve the on". Although sportsmanship is an important ideal....WINNING at that level is slightly more important.
Nov 19, 2009 4:31 PM # 
What about the ruckus a few years back about the 'Head of Maradona vs the hand of God" ?
Nov 19, 2009 4:32 PM # 
Although sportsmanship is an important ideal....WINNING at that level is slightly more important.

Yeah, slightly more important to people who cheat.
Nov 19, 2009 4:37 PM # 
Every paper in Ireland ran the headline of Le Cheat or somthing to that effect. Tis all a bit mental.

Thierry Henri is worth more to the World Cup than the Irish team in terms of advertising etc.

Would an orienteer stop in the relay last leg if a couple of million euro was on the line??

Bottom line - MONEY!
Nov 19, 2009 4:43 PM # 
It's sad, as usual, to hear of blatant cheating being rewarded but it's only one more bit of evidence, following on many others, that a large number of people, if not a majority, view adherence to rules of play through a utilitarian rather than a moral lens.
Nov 19, 2009 5:33 PM # 
Nov 19, 2009 5:54 PM # 
Well, I don't think this comparison is fair. In the case of O-Thierry it was about a hurt competitor, where it could have been about life and death. This is not the case with soccer Thierry. In soccer you HAVE to stretch the rules as much as possible, otherwise there would not be so many yellow and red cards. Obviously it's accepted that this is part of the game... (maybe a reason that I don't play soccer...)

But look at us orienteers, don't we stretch the rules as well? Isn't it forbidden to follow and cooperate? Aren't there many obvious cases where this rule was stretched or broken? Even with medalists involved? Or on the less competitive side I know of many cases where forbidden areas weren't respected (clearly marked on the map, olive areas in urban races, "misterious" fast times where shortcuts were possible). Also here: You can cheat as long as you don't get caught... where is the difference?
Nov 19, 2009 6:05 PM # 
A Roma player (De Rossi I think) a few seasons back scored an important(ish) goal (i.e. they weren't already 4-0 up) with his hand and then told the Ref to disallow the goal.
Doubt it was as important as WC qualification though.
Nov 19, 2009 10:08 PM # 
Football players always stop play when someone is seriously injured...

Peter Losman followed Tore Sandvik all the way round last leg TioMila 2005, he then beat him on the sprint finish (or Sandvik got lost on the sprint finish...)

The fault is not with Henry, but with the ref.

The fault was not with Losman, but with whoever decided to make last leg non-gaffled.

SNO could have bee disqualified as following is against the rules. He wasn't.

UEFA could replay the match. They wont.
Nov 19, 2009 10:24 PM # 
Football players do not stop play if someone is seriously injured until their goal scoring opportunity has ceased.
Nov 19, 2009 11:04 PM # 
Professional Football is riddled with cheating and that cheating is condoned by the officials. The players cheat every time they claim a throw in that's not theirs, every time they pull shirts, every time they dive or feign injury to win a free kick. The World Cups have been disgraced by Gold Class cheating - Rivaldo in 2002 v. Turkey when he did the theatrical collapse in agony after not being touched by the player he got sent off, Grosso in 2006 when he literally dived over Australia's Lucas Neill for a penalty that won the game and now Henry for this one.

Orienteering is different. It's an individual sport; so if you cheat you are cheating yourself. It's not sport as entertainment - arguably the cheating in football is part of the show - and there isn't anything comparable at stake. Most orienteers don't cheat and in fact following in a relay isn't technically cheating, as it is not against the rules:

In an individual interval start race, competitors shall navigate and run through the terrain independently.

The difference (between football and O) is there and should be recognised and upheld.
Nov 20, 2009 12:43 AM # 
Soccer is for Sheep Stations Orienteering even at the highest level is not.

All top level professional sport has similar attitudes to World Cup soccer because there is so much money at stake. E.g. drugs in cycling and athletics is driven by the financial reward more than the personal gain. Cricketers whom claim catches that did not hit the bat or don't walk when they know they nicked the ball etc are all examples where the financial gain is the key.

In amateur sport the drivers for why people participate are very different and in general people look for the personal satisfaction of doing well and cheating does not give a personal sense of achievement for normally wired people.
Nov 20, 2009 3:04 AM # 
Wasn't it a soccer coach (Bill Shankly - Liverpool manager) who said "Some people think football is a matter of life and death. No, it's much more important than that."

I'm not convinced that at the actual instant of a cheating act, there are $ signs flashing before a footballer or cricketer's eyes. Possibly this happens with the more deliberate act of drug cheating, but I would say that the competitiveness gene has more to do with it.

I think that Henry has probably used his hand in such a way many times in training. In the match situation it was almost an automatic reaction, and immediately afterwards he probably assumed the goal would be disallowed. Though I'm not excusing him for not approaching the ref, owning up, and asking for the goal to be disallowed.

If you read Thierry's (the other one) report of the WOC Relay race, his first thought was to carry on, but then he saw the seriousness of Johanson's injury and realised he couldn't possibly.
Nov 20, 2009 8:57 AM # 
i used to respect that guy. He inspired me but now he is nothing

This discussion thread is closed.