To wave or waive the Flag

By Kevin Krolicki
CARSON, California, May 22 Reuters - Several USOlympic athletes say they can see no harm in flag-wavingat the Athens Games in August, despite being told totone down victory celebrations in order to avoid ananti-American backlash.
Maurice Greene, who in California on Saturday ran thefastest 100 metres of the year (9.86 seconds) at the first stopon the U.S. Track and Field Golden Spike Tour, saidthere was no reason why American athletes should facedifferent standards to everyone else.
I love my country. I would basically do anything formy country. And we're there representing our country,''Olympic champion Greene told reporters when asked aboutthe U.S. flag-waving guidelines. I believe other countries are going to have a flagand will be carrying it and showing their love for theircountry, so why can’t we?’’
With U.S. popularity dropping around the world,American Olympic officials said earlier this month thattheir Athens team would be told to exercise restraint intheir conduct on and off the track.
Greene was at the centre of controversy in the 2000Sydney Olympics when he anchored the winning 4x100metres relay team and joined a long victory celebrationthat was criticised after the quartet took their vestsoff and wrapped themselves in the U.S. flag.
Gail Devers, the greatest ever femalesprinter-hurdler, said it would make no differencewhether a U.S. athlete held up a flag or not.
‘’…I don’t worry about that,’’ said Devers, whoremains uncertain of her plans for Athens.
What's the difference if you hold a flag up? You'vegot red, white and blue on your uniform.'' Shot putter John Godina said it might be hard to getthe entire U.S. team to fall in line behind a singlestandard. Part of American culture is that we let people dowhat they want to. There will be people who want tocelebrate with flags and people who want to go quietlyhome,’’ he said.

It’s a pity that some american officials seem to be giving in to the hate and petty criticism of an impotent Europe…