- The Washington Times - Friday, July 29, 2005

Noble: Kate Ziegler of Bishop O’Connell High in Arlington, the 17-year-old global swimming champion from Great Falls.

For phenoms in high-school sports, it’s hard to beat Kate Ziegler. On Tuesday she dominated the 2005 swimming world championships in Montreal, winning the gold medal in the womens’ 1,500-meter freestyle with the third-fastest time in history. On Tuesday in Montreal, Kate beat second-place Flavia Rigamonti of Switzerland by four seconds and the third-place Brittany Reimer of Canada by seven seconds.

Kate had been relegated to the undesirable lane 1 for Tuesday’s race after she finished 26 seconds above her gold-medal performance in her qualifiers.

This wasn’t Kate’s first brush with excellence. In May, she broke a 25-year-old American record in the 800-meter race. At the tender age of 17, she stands a good chance of besting more records in the coming years.

As a local talent with global abilities, Kate Ziegler is the noble of the week.

Knave: Ricky Martin, for allowing himself to be duped by Islamists.

Last week Mr. Martin embarked on an “anti-stereotypes” tour of the Middle East. A United Nations Children’s Fund goodwill ambassador better known for eternal classics like “Shake Your Bon-Bon” and “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” Mr. Martin said it was unfair that many Westerners associate the Middle East with terrorism and radical Islam. So he did what any American superstar would do — Mr. Martin felt their pain, donned their clothes and became a psychotherapist:

“I have been a victim of stereotypes. I come from Latin America and to some countries, we are considered ‘losers,’ drug traffickers, and that is not fair because that is generalizing … I will defend you and try to get rid of any stereotypes.” That was to an audience of young people in Amman, Jordan.

Reality swiftly mugged Mr. Martin when, posing for a photo with people who were ostensibly his fans, someone gave him an Arab kaffiyeh headscarf with the words “Jerusalem is ours” written in Arabic across it. Not a reader of Arabic, Mr. Martin donned the headscarf and posed. He smiled, not knowing he had become a propaganda tool for those who vow to throw the Jews into the sea.

It took Jane Fonda 33 years to apologize, — sort of — for traveling to Hanoi in 1972 for a Viet Cong propaganda stunt. Her affront was intentional (and last week she was back on the bus to protest war, this time in Iraq); Mr. Martin’s was not, and he apologized once he realized what he had done. “I had no idea the kaffiyeh scarf presented to me contained language referring to Jerusalem, and I apologize to anyone who might think I was endorsing the message,” he said through a press agent called Ken Sunshine.

For allowing his good intentions to be exploited, Ricky Martin is the knave of the week.

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