October 10, 2007

Mexican presidential candidate wins Berlin 17-mile marathon

I've long argued that the LA Times should carry more news from Mexico, since it's not just relevant, but likely to be more colorful than the "What Next for the Law of the Sea Treaty?" thumbsuckers the newspaper traditionally specialized in. Maybe they're taking me up on my suggestion:

Former Mexican presidential candidate Roberto Madrazo made headlines in Germany, eight days after winning the Berlin Marathon in his age group.

"The Fastest Man of Mexico," said Monday's Berliner Zeitung newspaper, referring to the 55-year-old Madrazo's race time of 2 hours, 40 minutes and 57 seconds.

Unfortunately for Madrazo, it was a sarcastic jab. He was disqualified Monday by race officials after an investigation showed that the computer chip he carried went undetected at checkpoints along about a third of the 26.2-mile course. Madrazo appeared near the end of the race and was declared the winner of the "men's 55-and-over" category.

"We're disqualifying him," said a race spokeswoman Tuesday.

Marathon officials said there was no record of Madrazo crossing race checkpoints between the 12.4-mile and 21.8-mile course markers. A race video showed him bundled up in a windbreaker, hat and sweatsuit as he crossed the finish line, arms outstretched in an apparent victory salute. His weary opponents, meanwhile, soldiered past in shorts and singlets. ...

The paper found he ran the first half of the race at his normal pace. But over the more than nine miles missing from the computer record, Madrazo would have had to run faster than the world record holder to finish in his winning time.

The cheating allegation drew many wry comparisons here to the modern world record of seven decades during which Madrazo's Institutional Revolutionary Party managed to dominate elections. ...

Madrazo would not comment on the disqualification or the race, spokeswoman Addy Garcia said Tuesday.

"At this moment he holds no public office, and he is just like any other Mexican who doesn't have to give an explanation to anyone," she said.

Madrazo finished third in the July 2006 presidential election after being dogged by allegations that he had profited from a lifetime of public service under the PRI, as the former ruling party is known.

The PRI candidate Carlos Salinas won the 1988 Presidential election over the leftist candidate when "the computer went down" in the middle of the vote count. When it came back up, whaddayaknow? Salinas had come from behind to take the lead! So, the computer must have gone down during the crucial midsection when Madrazo made like a 25-year-old Kenyan.

The idea of a hailing a taxi for the middle section of the race is not exactly a new strategy in marathoning. In the most hilarious footrace ever run, the 1904 St. Louis Olympics marathon, among many other bizarre incidents, Fred Lorz cramped up halfway through, so he got in a cab and rode to the stadium to see the runners enter. And, hey, why pay for a ticket when I could just jog right in? Oh, look, they're all cheering for me! Well, those nice folks in the stands would sure be disappointed if I told them I wasn't really in the race anymore, so I'll just play along for the moment ... . At least that's how Fred made it sound after he was revealed to be a fraud just before he received his gold medal. But Senor Madrazo's ploy doesn't even meet that smell test. It's not like there was a vast throng cheering as the first guy in the 55+ bracket straggled in with a bunch of younger runners a half hour after the winner.

A reader writes: "I guess he felt that, 'Going through the checkpoints legally takes too long! I just wanted to have a better life!!'"

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

12 comments:

CJ said...

Steve, a sport fanatic like you could not possibly have forgotten Rosie Ruiz. This calls for a special exposition on Latino cultural nuances and marathon race cheating that only you are qualified to do.

tvoh said...

Don't forget Rosie Ruiz and the Boston Marathon. She did what none of the guys could do. She screamed anti woman bias when she got caught.

Now, someone else might make something out of the Spanish sounding surname aspect of all this, but pas moi.

Anonymous said...

I thought all the Mexicans who could run really fast were already in the US.

StephenT said...

Frankly, this is classic Mexican behavior. But don't take my word for it. His own handler, Addy Garcia, says it all at the end of the article: " ... he is just like any other Mexican who doesn't have to give an explanation to anyone."

We already know, Ms Garcia. We already know.

John Prester said...

Perhaps Roberto Madrazo is a distant relative of Rosie Ruiz Vivas:

(born 1953, Havana, Cuba) is a Cuban American runner who on April 21, 1980 ostensibly came in as the first place female competitor in the 84th Boston Marathon with a record time of 2:31:56. However, race officials determined that she had not completed the entire 26.2-mile course, but had registered for the race and later jumped in from the crowd and sprinted to the finish.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you forgot to mention the most obvious running scandal in recent times, the 1980 Boston Marathon with Rosie Ruiz as the female winner. She started the race then jumped on the train and rode that to a couple miles from the finish line. From there, she jumped back into the race and "won". This brought about the introduction of video surveillance of the runners and the wearing of RFID chips to keep track of the runners in this and other races. Apparently, this sort of information is unknown to Mexican presidential candidates. Perhaps he could talk over his problems with the original Jorge Bush who didn't know that products in stores could be scanned much like runners in marathons.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of corrupt Mexican officials, why is the LAT's only follow up to the Fabian Nunez spending spree scoop a series of sarcastic Steve Lopez columns?

David

Anonymous said...

Oh man, this is too much. Classic. You'd think if this kinda this is your thing, then you'll find this kinda thing in The Onion -- America's finest news organ.

First sign of a dimwit is his tendency to think that he's smarter than the rest of us. Or, if you worry and feel insecure about your wits, you already are pretty smart. It takes smart to realize how many mistakes one makes -- and therefore lose the bliss of ignorance.

The thing is, I'm tempted to say something like Andy Warhol said about art back in the 60s. He said, "I watch Tv shows and movies all the time, and I find the stuff very boring. Yet, they get awards all the time. I make movies that are equally, perhaps even more boring but I can't get any awards. Why not?"

Let's all gather and raise our voices for this injustice: We all can be as pinheaded as this pinhead, and yet he's a top elite of Mexico -- and "doesn't have to give an explanation to anyone" to boot. What's it that we don't have? What do we do to enjoy riches as dimwittedly as this jackass?


JD

Anonymous said...

Cheeps, we don't got no cheeps, we don't need know steenking computer cheeps.

Or

Robeeerrrto, you got sum 'esplenin' to do.

Anonymous said...

From the NY Times


But a sports photographer, Victor Sailer, wondered why Mr. Madrazo was wearing a jacket, a cap and long tights on a day when most of the runners finished the race in sweat-soaked T-shirts and shorts. Mr. Sailer showed his photo to race officials and raised the possibility that Mr. Madrazo might have broken the rules.


It's the vast Sailer conspiracy against Mexicans.

rob said...

These marathons aren't culturally neutral. They're biased towards the boring middle-class Northern European ethic of fair play, etc. All Mexican contestants should be allowed to take taxis.

hey steve said...

Speaking of corrupt Mexican officials, why is the LAT's only follow up to the Fabian Nunez spending spree scoop a series of sarcastic Steve Lopez columns?

David

Nunez? Lopez? Sigh. This comment is a microcosmic example of what happens when Latinos take over.

David rightly wants to talk some inside baseball on the questionable editorial decisions being made at the LA Times. The problem is hardly anyone reads the LA Times anymore. This falls in line with...

Latino Demographic Shift Rule #1: Increasingly dysfunctional behavior results in less discussion, not more.

This rule applies to Latino neighborhoods, cities, nations and entire regions of the world. If there are to be Latino planets in the future, it will apply to them also.