Where will it end is no doubt the argument that the IOC would throw up if they allowed athletes to fly flags other than their official national flag after they compete, or even before.
Last night Australian boxer Damien Hooper faced sanction for marching to the ring wearing a tee Shirt with the Aboriginal Flag on it. There were no political messages on the tee shirt, just the flag representing his people.
The Australian Olympic Council took action against their athlete and as a result the IOC are satisfied that the issue has been resolved.
Yet what is wrong with such a gesture? Seriously. If he had worn a shirt with a sponsors name on it the official sponsors would have been offended and extremely upset, understandably. If he had worn a tee shirt with pictures of his family what would have been the reaction? If he had worn one with the name of his boxing club in Queensland again it is likely there would have been very little said. Yet to show one reflecting his culture, he has offended.
Under IOC rules his actions would have been deemed a political action. Hooper was quoted as saying after his victory and all the dust had settled, “I’m Aboriginal, representing my culture, not only my country but all my people as well. I’m very proud and that’s what I wanted to do and I’m happy I did it.”
With the world fracturing into smaller nations, and other pockets seeking their independence, one can understand that such gestures are fraught with political implications, yet honestly what harm does proudly displaying your culture do in the real scheme of things?
Should he win Australia’s first boxing medal for 24 years, and should it end up being gold, why shouldn’t he promote his Aboriginality. By doing so he will actually being doing more good than harm, hopefully inspiring other Aboriginal children that through hard work and perseverance, and with the right support they too can conquer the World.