Putin’s Russia fails, and then it Fails Again!
At the world basketball championships in Istanbul, Turkey, last week, Vladimir Putin‘s Russia reached the quarterfinals. All it had to do to reach the semis, two games from a gold medal, was beat the United States. It didn’t, but instead received a humiliating spanking that left world media talking about “sweet revenge” for the USA. Then, in a pathetic “consolation” game, Russia had the chance to play for fifth place, against Argentina. Again, it failed. This left Russia with the opportunity to win its final game and take seventh place in the world championships, and it finally managed to accomplish its task by barely beating tiny Slovenia. Not only did Russia fail to medal, it never came remotely close to having a chance to compete for a medal.
Then it got oh, so much painfully worse.
At the U.S. Open tennis championships in New York City last week, Putin’s Russia did slightly better than the disaster in Istanbul, but it may have wished it hadn’t; it reached the semi-finals on both the men’s and women’s sides of the draw (with Mikhail Youzhny and Vera Zvonareva both facing amazingly easy draws to limp their way into contention) and advanced to the finals on the women’s side. Youzhny’s match was non-competitive, as he was swept aside by world #1 Raphael Nadal in easy straight sets, exposing him for the pretender he was. But Zvonareva’s match made Youzhny look like Pete Sampras. It was an appalling spectacle that TV commentator John McEnroe called “painful to watch.” It lasted just 60 minutes and Zvonareva managed to win only three of fifteen games played. She struck four times as many unforced errors as winners and managed to ruin the second consecutive grand slam final of the year, falling apart just as pathetically as she had at Wimbledon just a few weeks before.
So once again, Russia was exposed on the athletic fields as a fraud, a giant nation incapable of even being seriously competitive when the rubber meets the road.
Nice job, Mr. Putin!