In the last week, it has become evident that in order to be an Olympian, you not only have to have strength, passion, and motivation, but you also may need the upper hand of the judge.
Many athletes' gains and losses are determined more often than not by the judge's call; from Jordyn Wieber's deduction on floor routine that later caused her to miss out on the All-Arounds by .233 to the 400-meter freestyle semi-finals where front-runner South Korea's Tae-Hwan Park was DQ'd, and then reinstated, for what judges thought was originally a false start.
Now of course, this is nothing new to the games, but instead just the nature of this level of competition. It's a lot about who is granted the say-all when it comes to the final three standing tall for their country.
And in boxing, from miscounted knockdowns, premature warnings, and reinstated wins and DQs, the judges' calls have been raising controversy all week long. For one of Team USA's boxers, when three rounds ended without a knock out, it too was all left to the judges. And for New Yorkers who were thrilled to root for their Staten Island hero Marcus Brown, whose modesty and focus alone is deserving of gold, the final call of 13-11 in Monday's USA versus Australia match hit a little closer to home.
21-year-old light heavyweight Marcus Browne's dream came true on May 8th when he qualified for the London Games. And since then, people like Teddy Atlas, NBC's boxing analyst, have credited Marcus as "the most naturally gifted U.S. boxer" in this year's games.
Marcus told 1st Look, it was "love at first sight," when a neighbor by the name of Speedy brought him to the local gym 9 years ago--this was a saving grace for the "rough kid in the neighborhood." "Boxing kept me out of trouble," Marcus added.
After May's qualifying announcement, life for Marcus became a day-in, day-out game of perfecting his craft at the very same gym he started at, working out mistakes, staying focused, and keeping the win in sight. When we asked Marcus how he was feeling just last month, he modestly replied, "I'm feeling a gold rush for the Olympics."
Marcus is inspiring. His overall sensibility and charm hit us right away. He's a young man with more compassion, maturity, and drive than most his age. And, he's from a city that's helped him build up that confidence. "Everyone wants to be the king of New York," he said. And, it appeared that this three-time Daily News Golden Gloves champion from Staten Island Park was feeling on top of the world even before the Olympics began.
Unfortunately, Marcus’ New York swagger was left across the pond when pressure in London struck and his match was called in Australia's favor. It went down to the final 90 seconds in Browne's first Olympic match, when Australia's Damien Hooper, who was down in previous rounds, made a comeback.
He mentioned to us that if given the time, he'd want to explore London, have a great local meal or two, and keep cheering on his teammates, like pal Joseph Diaz, Jr. So, for now, this sneaker-loving, Luger's-craving young man can sit back and enjoy his time overseas. This isn't an end in London, Marcus will keep going. "I want to stay in shape to open the stadium," and that stadium he speaks of is Brooklyn's Barclays Center, where his gloves may just be set for the pros.