Beijing Olympics: Now Argentina's footballers photographed making 'slit-eyed' gesture
A photo showing four members of Argentina’s Olympic women’s football team making “slit-eyed” gestures has emerged on the internet, just days after two Spanish sports teams were criticised for pulling similar poses.
By Matthew Moore
Last Updated: 12:55PM BST 19 Aug 2008
Argentina's women lost all their matches at the Beijing Olympics Photo: OLE
The image shows players Maria Potassa, Eva Gonzalez, Fabiana Vallejos and Andrea Ojeda smiling broadly as they pull back the skin on the side of their eyes, in a crude impersonation of Chinese people.
The photo was published - without provoking controversy - in the Argentine sports newspaper Ole on Aug 5, to accompany a preview of the team’s first match of the tournament against Canada.
It was taken more than a week before adverts featuring the Spanish men’s and women’s basketball teams in similar poses sparked international criticism.
Last Thursday a photo emerged of members of Spain’s Olympic women’s tennis team pulling the same face earlier this year, in anticipation of an upcoming match against China.
The rows sparked by the photos have highlighted how standards about the acceptability of racial stereotyping vary widely between countries, even in the West.
Much of the criticism of the Spanish teams has come from the English-speaking blogosphere, prompting some complaints from Spain about alleged Anglo-Saxon hostility to Madrid’s 2016 Olympic bid.
The players involved in the photos have expressed their shock that others may find them offensive. Pau Gasol, one of the Spanish basketballers, said it was "absurd" to consider the gesture racist.
"I'm sorry if anybody thought or took it the wrong way and thought that it was offensive," he wrote on his blog.
Argentina’s women footballers had a torrid time at the Beijing Games, losing all their three games, including a 2-0 defeat to China in their final match.
The photo of the four players published in Ole was retrieved and posted on a Facebook group called ''Kick racist Spain out of the Olympics'', which was set up after after the Telegraph published the Spanish basketball pictures.
There is no suggestion that the four footballers intended to cause offence.
The Argentine Olympic team could not be contacted at the time of publication.
Beijing Olympics: Now Argentina's footballers photographed making 'slit-eyed' gesture - Telegraph