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Babylon & Beyond

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EGYPT: One Olympic medal, an angry president

Mubarak_image You will not hear the chimes of Olympic medals in Egypt’s trophy cases.

The country won only one in the Beijing Games. That embarrassment has riled President Hosni Mubarak, who has ordered an investigation into why his athletes fared so poorly.

The state press agency has reported that Mubarak has ordered a fact-finding committee to find out “who is responsible for the Egyptian mission’s bad performance and calling them into account.”

Yikes. Someone’s in trouble. But it most likely won't be Mounir Thabet, the head of the country's Olympic Committee and the president's brother-in-law. It also won't be Hesham Mesbah, the only one of Egypt’s 177 Olympic athletes to win a medal –- a bronze in judo.

Jeffrey Fleishman in Cairo

Photo: President Hosni Mubarak Credit: AFP

P.S. The Los Angeles Times issues a free daily newsletter with the latest headlines from all over the Middle East, as well as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. You can subscribe by logging in at the website here, clicking on the box for "LA Times updates," and then clicking on the "World: Mideast" box.

Comments () | Archives (1)

Someone should save Mubarak the trouble and fill him in on the recipe for Olympic success: Money and organization. If the Egyptian bureaucracy under Mubarak is any indication, I imagine their Olympic program is defined more by cronyism and corruption than athletic excellence.


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