Olympian anti-heroes

Sports blotter: Olympic edition
By MATT TAIBBI  |  August 8, 2008


Greetings, Olympic sports fans! You are out there, aren’t you? NBC Universal sure hopes you are. Because if you aren’t, and you decide to spend the next three weeks watching anything except the hammer-throw quarterfinals, heat six of the women’s 4-x-400 relay, and profiles of the Hungarian dressage team, there are going to be some TV executives committing suicide. Well, assisted suicide, maybe. If you’re a Nielsen viewer, there might even be a camera in your house — and if it catches you switching to Greatest American Dog during the trampoline semifinal, an animatronic chain will yank a pin from a grenade crammed in the mouth of whichever NBC marketing executive promised a 17 share to the suits upstairs at 30 Rock.

Beijing 2008: Special issue: China, Tibet, and the Olympics
So, lives are in your hands. No one is telling you what to do, but think twice before you turn on Don’t Forget the Lyrics!, or any other non-Olympic programming for that matter, next week. Besides, it’s not like the Olympics are completely boring. True, the actual sporting competitions have lately taken a back seat, drama-wise, to the question of whether terrorists will strike during the Games, or whether the budget can be managed by the IOC without two dollars out of every three ending up in mysterious accounts in Antigua, or whether Chinese guards will bayonet free-Tibet protesters along the torch route, or, indeed, whether NBC will be felled by yet another disappointing ratings showing. But that’s not to say the athletes aren’t providing some sordid entertainment themselves.In fact, just like regular athletes, Olympians frequently rack up ugly arrests. Who can forget these anti-heroes of sports-crime?

The lover’s lane rapist
This was a recent one, actually. Alvin Henry was a one-time Olympic sprinter, a New Yorker who ran for Trinidad and Tobago. He went to the 2000 Olympics in Sydney on the T&T 4-x-100 team, but never actually ran in the Games. He returned to America, however, and did some running there. This past month, Henry was arrested 16 days after a rape in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, when the victim identified him while riding around the park with police. Henry had allegedly raped the woman at gunpoint and was a suspect in numerous other sexual assaults dating back to 2003. The unknown serial rapist had been called the “Lover’s Lane Rapist” because he frequently targeted women he had seen having sex with their boyfriends in the park — he told one of the victims he had taped her in the act. “I knew something wasn’t right with him,” Henry’s cousin told New York papers.

No kidding.

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