Passport

Georgia gets revenge in beach volleyball … or does it?

THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images This is what makes the Olympics great: With their two countries embroiled in conflict, Russia and Georgia took to the sand Wednesday to settle the score in beach volleyball. And Georgia, also the underdog in sport, won the match in three sets. But the Russians were not about to concede defeat, pointing ...

593281_080813_georgia_volleyball5.jpg

THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images

This is what makes the Olympics great: With their two countries embroiled in conflict, Russia and Georgia took to the sand Wednesday to settle the score in beach volleyball. And Georgia, also the underdog in sport, won the match in three sets.

But the Russians were not about to concede defeat, pointing out that the two Georgians are, in fact, Brazilian:

Cristine Santanna and Andrezza Chagas go by the nicknames of Saka and Rtvelo, which put together spell the Georgian word for Georgia. Cute, perhaps, but not if you’ve just lost to them at the Olympic Games.

“We were not playing against the Georgian team today,” sniffed Natalia Uryadova after losing 12-15 in the third and deciding set. “We were playing against the Brazilian team. If they are Georgian, they would have been influenced [by the war], but certainly they are not.”

To be fair, the “Georgian” pair have passports from both Brazil and Georgia, and had trained for two years after receiving personal invitations from Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, whose wife also happens to play beach volleyball. But the two admitted they had only visited the country twice before representing it in the Olympics — an increasingly common phenomenon, it seems, but one counter to the Olympic spirit.

Georgian Volleyball Federation President Levan Akhvlediani, however, would have none of it, calling the Russians “bad losers” and hailing the victory as “wonderful for the Georgian people.”

It’s better to make a war… on the sporting fields,” Akhvlediani said.

It surely doesn’t hurt that on the sporting fields, for this match at least, Georgia won.

Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola

By Taboola

More from Foreign Policy

By Taboola