Greeks in Australia were shocked to hear Andrew Gaze, the host of the opening ceremony coverage on Australia’s Seven Network, refer to the Slavic nation officially referred by the International Olympic Committee as the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,” as being connected to Alexander the Great and King Phillip.
Greek Australians mobilized— formally through The Pan-Macedonian Association of Melbourne and Victoria, as well as informally via Twitter, where dozens of users Tweeted Gaze directly.
Gaze is a retired basketball player who actually played professionally in Greece for a time.
He responded on Twitter, insinuating that us was reading from the prepared script and that “If it is incorrect or wasn’t communicated correctly, I sincerely apologise.”
Our script. If it is incorrect or wasn't communicated correctly, I sincerely apologise. pic.twitter.com/IbQnqQYOYI
— Andrew Gaze (@AndrewGaze10) August 6, 2016
Many were pleased with Gaze’s apology.
But some thought it too weak, especially for an athlete who spent considerable time living and playing in Greece.
weak apology, expected more from someone who played basketball in Greece
— Vanessa (@PurppleRainz) August 7, 2016
Gaze also posted a photo of the script he was reading from on his Twitter post.
In a letter to the broadcaster, the President of the PanMacedonian Association of Melbourne and Victoria accused the network of “ignorance” of history citing known historical fact that in antiquity, only Greeks were permitted to take part in the Olympics yet when mentioning Alexander the Great’s participation in the ancient games, it was during the entrance of FYROM, a Slavic nation whose history clearly has nothing to do with the Macedonian general of antiquity.
In the United States, a similar controversy erupted when commentators from NBC network shared the same inaccurate history.
(Note: Special thanks to our reader Con M., for sharing details about the Australian developments, as well as numerous readers on our Facebook page who informed us about Australia’s coverage.)