Monday, August 06, 2012

An Olympic Champion for Catalans

An Olympic Champion for Catalans

He is not Usain Bolt and he hasn't yet won any Olympic medals in London. But the name of Àlex Fàbregas is now a trending topic in Catalonia and Spain and he will be one of the big names of London 2012.

Àlex Fàbregas is a Catalan player on the Spanish field hockey team in the Olympics, and a silver medalist four years ago. In fact most of his teammates are Catalans. But since he voiced something everyone thinks but not so many say out loud—‘I’m Catalan and I’m playing for Spain because I have no other choice’—he has been deluged with insults and even threats from Spanish fans. While Fàbregas then decided to shut down his Twitter account, a counterreaction surged from Catalan fans. #TotsSomÀlexFàbregas (We All Are Àlex Fàbregas) became in few hours trending topic in twitter.
More and more Catalans are worried about how Spaniards are declaring strong anti-Catalan feelings via social networks and Spanish newspaper forums. Some consider the messages racist due to the strong wording that Spaniards use against Catalans.

Spain's performance in the London Games is its worst in decades. The only three medals that the team has won have come from a Catalan woman, Mireia Belmonte, and a Basque one. Belmonte was asked some time ago about the chance of a Catalan delegation at the Games and she showed her support: ‘It will be good to compete with Spain in the swimming pool’ she said in the interview.
Catalan athletes take part in the Olympic Games as members of the Andorran, French, and Spanish teams. In the case of Spain, they can not refuse  to join the team without risking sanctions and possible loss of federation status (and thus the right to play their sport professionally at all).

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