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Andre Ward heard all the whispers from skeptics like me. He knew that pompous writers who sit safely behind their keyboards were predicting nothing but failure for the young Olympian and his teammates. But Ward, thankfully, proved us wrong. It doesn't matter that the team only garnered one Olympic gold medal. All that matters is that Andre Ward refused to be denied and won gold in the 2004 Olympic games for the United States. No one can ever take that away from him.
Initially Ward seemed a long shot to even place in the medal rounds, as did every fighter on this rather pedestrian team. Amateur boxing in the United States has become a wasteland of either young kids who would rather play football, young kids who would rather turn pro immediately because they think they will make the big bucks, or young kids like beleaguered heavyweight Jason Estrada who just don't care. How will any serious boxing fan forgive Estrada's complacent attitude at losing at the Olympics? Perhaps now, with his million dollar signing bonus hanging in the balance, this punk kid who just didn't care enough will realize the extent of his failure to live up to the honor of representing his country. What was it that he said after he lost and failed to qualify for the medal rounds? "It's no big deal." That's what he said. Sorry pal, it is a big deal and there's no way you'll survive in the pro ranks if that's your attitude.