Gold - Weightlifling - Men’s +105kg
Iran’s Olympic Accomplishments
The 2004 Olympic Games officially came
to an end in Athens with a spectacular closing ceremony. Greek music and dance
kicked off an evening of celebration before the flame was extinguished and the
A firework display welcomed the athletes
into the Olympic Stadium. The torch has now been passed to China as Beijing
prepares to host the Games in 2008. Their athletes will be relishing the
prospect of performing on home soil after collecting a record medal haul in
Despite pre-Games fears over
construction and security, the Athens Olympics have generally been hailed as a
success. In his closing speech, International Olympic Committee President
Jacques Rogge told the city: “You have won … These were unforgettable, dream
Games.” And Athens Games Boss Gianna Angelopoulos added: “The Olympics came
home and we’ve shown the world the great things Greeks can do.”
Bonehkohal, Gold - TaekWondo - Men’s Under 68kg
Television ratings are 15% up from the
2000 Games in Sydney, while ticket sales have topped figures from the Seoul
and Barcelona Olympics. “The organization was outstanding and we had
competitions in state-of-the-art venues,” said Rogge.
“They really did a fantastic job. I am
very, very happy about the Games … We have discovered a new Greece. Greece was
great for the Games.”
“These Games were held in peace and
brotherhood. These were the Games where it became increasingly difficult to
cheat and where clean athletes were better protected.”
Rogge’s predecessor Juan Antonio
Samaranch had hailed the 2000 Games in Sydney as the greatest Olympics ever.
But Rogge gave a diplomatic response when asked whether the Athens Games were
better. He said: “You cannot compare Games that are held at different times
and in different countries.”
The combined performances of China,
Japan and South Korea also impressed Rogge, who described their efforts as the
“awakening of Asia” and an ominous sign for the rest of the world ahead of the
2008 Games in Beijing.
The opening of the Games was
overshadowed by the missed drugs tests of Greek stars Kostas Kenteris and
Katerina Thanou. And among a steady stream of failed drugs tests during the
two-week event, three Olympic champions were stripped of their titles. But
Rogge said the 2004 Games would be remembered for the improvement in drug
testing which allowed honest athletes to prevail.
Earlier in the Games, Rogge had
described security, which saw athletes outnumbered seven to one by security
personnel, as “flawless.” But on the final day of action, the men’s marathon
was marred by an intruder who dramatically pushed race leader Vanderlei de
Lima into the crowd. De Lima went on to take bronze which he was awarded
during the closing ceremony. The Brazilian was also honored with the Pierre de
Coubertin Medal, which recognizes acts of sportsmanship, and was given a huge
cheer by those in the stadium.
It was one of many highlights of the
two-week extravaganza, which also saw two notable athletics doubles. After
Holmes’ double over 800m and 1500m, Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj became the
first man since Paavo Nurmi in 1924 to win both the 1500m and 5,000m. And
earlier in the Games, U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps scooped six gold medals
among a total of eight.
Silver - Wrestling - Men’s Freestyle 120kg
Iran could be
number-crunching Iranian sports official claimed Iran did in fact beat the
United States at the Athens Olympics, even if the Americans won 103 medals
compared to Iran’s six.
“Iran won one medal for every 6.2
athletes sent to Athens, while the United States won one medal for every 13.8
athletes,” the Head of Iran’s Physical Education Organization Mohsen
Mehralizadeh told the press.
According to his calculations, Turkey
won one medal per 12.8 athletes, Britain got a medal for 11.8 athletes and
Japan got one for 12.2 athletes.
Masoud Jokar, Silver
- Wrestling - Men’s Freestyle 60kg
Bronze - Wrestling - Men’s Freestyle 96kg
“Therefore,” the official asserted, “of
the 202 countries present at Athens, Iran was in fourth position. This is a
His interpretation of scoring, however,
differs from the accepted standard medals table—which puts the United States
top with 103 medals, of which 35 were gold. The medals table puts Iran in 29th
Hossein Rezazadeh set a new world
record as he reclaimed his Olympic title in weightlifting’s +105kg class.
Rezazadeh set a new best of 263.5kg in the clean and jerk, beating his own
record of 263kg set last year. Nicknamed the “Iranian Hercules”, Rezazadeh
finished with an overall total of 473.5kg, which also tied his previous
overall world record.
“An Olympic gold medal is a precious
thing and it’s important for me and my country. I trained very hard for it and
Allah helped me,” said the deeply-religious Rezazadeh, who held a copy of the
Koran in one hand during the medal ceremony. “I dedicate this medal to the
people of Iran and everybody who has helped me. I can lift heavier weights—if
I am healthy I will go to 500kg.”
Bronze - TaekWondo - Men’s Under 80kg
Already one of Iran’s sporting stars,
Rezazadeh returned to another hero’s welcome after securing his country’s
first medal of the Games. After taking the gold in Sydney, he had a branch of
Iran state bank named in his honor and was awarded the “Badge of Courage” from
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami.
Censure: Iran has
escaped censure over the failure of its judo world champion to fight an
Israeli at the Olympics. The International Judo Federation accepted the
disqualification of Arash Miresmaeili because a medical condition left him too
heavy to fight.
The federation allowed Miresmaeili’s
defense that he had no pre-planned intention not to fight and noted he had not
said he was boycotting the bout. “The IJF has no rule for penalizing
overweight athletes,” the body said. The IJF statement quoted Miresmaeili as
saying he had “made no statement of any sort to any press.” The International
Olympic Committee takes a dim view of political gestures at the Games and is
liable to punish athletes or teams which make them.
The 23-year-old double world champion,
who carried his country’s flag at the Games’ opening ceremony, weighed more
than five kilograms over the 66 kg limit for the bout against Israeli Ehud
Vaks. After the draw, he was quoted by the Iranian news agency as saying that
he had refused to face his Israeli rival in sympathy with the “oppressed
A spokesman for the Iran National
Olympic Committee had said it was a “general policy” of the country to refrain
from competing against Israeli athletes and that Miresmaeili had simply
observed the protocol. However, the Iranian Olympic team had subsequently
explained to the IJF that the fighter had suffered from digestive problems on
arrival in Athens and had been unable to lose weight in time.
Iran have given judo world champion
Arash Miresmaeili a $125,000 reward, saying he sacrificed a gold medal at the
Athens Olympics by refusing to fight an Israeli. State television showed
Miresmaeili at an award ceremony receiving the same sum as Iranian Hossein
Rezazadeh, who took the super-heavyweight weightlifting gold at the second
Olympics in succession. “He would definitely have won a gold medal if he had
taken part,” said the sports official, who declined to be named.
The International Judo Federation had
considered a sanction against Miresmaeili during the Games but concluded that
he had been overweight for the fight and could not have taken part. The
International Olympic Committee also did not take any action.