Badr Hari Still Looking Towards Taking Part in the Olympics
Back in March, we reported on the news that Badr Hari was considering representing Morocco in the 2012 Summer Olympics as a boxer. Now, it looks like that idea is one step closer to becoming a reality.
On May 22, Hari attended the Olympic Qualifying boxing tournament in Marrakesh. This event determines who represents Morocco in the 2012 Olympics. Hari met with officials, and was invited into the ring, where he was presented with an official team jacket. Footage of Hari in the ring is available in the full entry.
Short of an official announcement, this is as clear a sign as we can get that Hari is indeed still actively pursuing this opportunity, and that there is a very real chance we will see him in an Olympic ring. Both Hari and Moroccan officials have said that they want Hari representing them in London. The hurdle has been whether the Olympic Committee will deem Hari an "amateur" boxer (a requirement for Olympic boxing), or if his professional kickboxing career will disqualify him.
Of course, it is important to note that this footage is from May 22 - before Hari's disqualification in Amsterdam, before his involvement with the police escalated, and before the very public accusations of being involved with organized crime. How this will impact Hari's Olympic bid remains unknown, though it certainly can not help. Even if Morocco offers him the spot, they still need the ruling from the Olympic Committee, and if the committee has not yet made that ruling, Hari's recent negative actions and press could easily sway the vote against him.
Personally, I suspect much of Hari's legal matters will need to be sorted out before he is officially given a spot. A fighter who has fled the police, been involved in a very serious public assault, and now is gaining a reputation as a part of organized crime does real damage to the Olympic brand, and the IOC is fiercely protective of that brand. Boxing has not been a focal point of the summer Olympics in recent years, so it's entirely possible Hari's involvement would blow over with little discussion. But his name will draw increased interest towards this event, and this is a story that the media could eat up. Of course, a media with less knowledge of his history could easily be sold the same "redemption" storyline kickboxing fans were presented with in the wake of the Bonjasky DQ, and the Olympics is a huge industry that surely would appreciate a boost in one of their more overlooked events. So the Olympics faces the same double-edged sword Hari brings to all organizations - with Badr Hari you get a big name that increases public interest, but also the potential for a powerfully negative story. Is it worth it?
The way things are going he should be happy just to get out of this mess he got himself into lately.. Get your act together Badr (i am the last person in the world who should be telling him that though)..
Last edited by Ivan; 07-13-2010 at 01:24 PM.