by JESSE MUHAMMAD
Contributing Writer for African-American News & Issues
June 11, 2008
HOUSTON- ”When I won the silver medal in 2004 I was depressed because I felt I had failed my country
when I didn’t win the gold. Afterwards, I totally dedicated myself to winning the gold in 2008. Now
this”, said Nia Abdallah.
She was making her first public statement since being robbed of her Olympic dream. A press conference
and rally was held on May 18 at Solomon’s Temple of Martial Arts Fitness Center located in Houston,
Texas. “When I was 4 years old I told my grandfather, who was a fan of, that one day I was
going to win the Olympics. Since a little girl I have been headed in this direction. I’m still in shock. I am my
own worst critic, but I honestly do not see what I could have done better,” said Ms. Abdallah, who is the
first US woman to medal in the sport and first Black woman to do so.
“This is not sour grapes with me. I wish her the best. I just don’t want the next kid to go through what I’m
going through. This is supposed to be a country where you are free to fulfill your dreams.”
“The more I view the fight in its entirety the more nauseated I become”, said Deric Muhammad of the MMM Ministry of Justice. “The way Nia was treated was a slap in the face to Jesse Owens,, and to all who opened the way for the elimination of discrimination in the Olympic Games.”
There is now a movement afoot to get justice for Ms. Abdallah, whom many believed was robbed by the 2008 United States Olympic Committee (USOC) in her April 5 Des Moines Olympic trial match against Diana Lopez of the newly famed Lopez family who is now appearing in many corporate sponsored commercials (AT&T, etc.) and recently appeared on the Jay Leno Show. Videos of the taped battle have been circulating aggressively over the internet where 99% of the viewers vote Ms. Abdallah the winner. Countless blogs have been on fire with controversy over the injustice and letters are flying off to the USOC committee demanding
Nia trounced Diana so convincingly that the crowd erupted into boos when Ms. Lopez was declared the winner. The video has since been pulled done from YouTube several times by the USOC to avoid continued
viewing. While the Lopez family is highly respected in the world of Tae Kwon Do, experts declare that
they are going to Beijing dishonorably and fear that the bureaucracy associated with last month’s unbelievable outcome will represent a black eye for the future of the discipline which officially became an
Olympic sport in the year 2000.
Much has been made of the Lopez family being the first American trio of siblings to compete in the
Olympics since 1904. But all one has to do is view the Nia vs. Diana video and it is clear that their presence
there will be more “marketing” than martial arts. Joined by several dozen at the press conference, Ms. Abdallah’s parents, Thomas and Rhonda Duhart were outraged as well.
“It is extremely painful to watch her go through this. She worked so hard to prepare herself to represent this country and she was robbed of her opportunity. Something must be done”, said Mrs. Duhart.
Mr. Duhart added that, “have always reviewed her fights and taught her to be the best. I can honestly say
that she was at her best, but I believe that she was in their way.” Attorney Warren Muhammad is representing
the family and he commented that “While this case is about Nia Abdallah, it is about more than Nia. It is about every child, teenager and young adult who dedicates themselves to sport and aspires to Olympic competition. It is about insuring fairness, a level playing field, where truly the best man or woman may win. A Congressional Inquiry is needed to determine the merits of what has taken place in the debacle of the Nia Abdallah v. Dianna Lopez match and the rules and regulations that govern the competition.”
“I thought it was an outrage. I have heard from Taekwondo stylists all over the country who are outraged by the poor judging”, said Floyd Burke of in a released statement. “I have watched and watched the video and Nia could have scored as many as four points in sudden death alone. Nia won hands down”, said Alan Schein, co-author of the book “Tae Kwon Do Basics” and international press correspondent for Masters Magazine.
William Muhammad, a 2nd degree Black Belt and owner of Solomon’s Temple said, “This was going
to be a set up regardless if it was Nia or any other fighter because they want to make history by using
the Lopez family. Nia was the better fighter and should be in the Olympics. The Taekwondo Federation
needs to bring back integrity to the sport which has been overshadowed now by politics.”
Protestors are also challenging allTae Kwon Do athletes and enthusiasts in attendance in Beijing to stand
and turn their backs moments before Diana Lopez competes in remembranceof the Taekwondo principle of honor that was violated to advance her to the Olympics.
(For more information on the case
of Nia Abdallah visit http://www.myspace.
Issue June 11-17, 2008