By Ken Reed

A few years ago, I wrote a book called “Ego vs. Soul in Sports: Essays on Sport At Its Best and Worst”. The stories about sport at its best (when Soul-driven) are inspiring. The stories about sport at its worst (when ego-driven) are depressing.

This week, we were given another depressing story from the world of sports. An Iranian weightlifter was banned for life — for life! — for, get this, talking with a competitor from Israel following a competition last weekend in Poland.

Sadly, I kid you not.

Mostafa Rajai of Iran finished second in his division at the World Master Weightlifting Championships. Maksim Svirsky of Israel finished third. After the medal presentation ceremony, Rajai shook hands with Svirsky and the two took a photo together.

The Iran Weightlifting Federation called Rajai’s actions “unforgivable” in an announcement banning Rajai from “all sports facilities” for the rest of his life. For good measure, the head of the weightlifting team, Hamid Salehinia, was fired.

Of course, actions like these are the antithesis of the Olympic ideal and basic sportsmanship. But on top of that, it’s an indictment of the human ego at its worst. Unfortunately, the affliction egoitis will likely never be cured, in SportsWorld, or society at large.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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