Winning a medal at the Vancouver Olympic Games doesn’t normally make you a target of derision from your fellow countrymen.
On Sunday night, Begg-Smith, who won the gold medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, lost the men’s mogul competition to Canadian Alexandre Bilodeau. Begg-Smith won the silver medal; Bilodeau won the gold with a time of 23.17 seconds and a score of 26.75.
Canada’s Globe and Mail described Begg-Smith as a “Lamborghini-driving 24-year-old who made a fortune peddling invasive Internet spyware.” The Australian newspaper cited Begg-Smith’s companies as “the origin of spyware programs that can redirect a computer to porn sites or install software that floods the computer with pop-up ads.” A New Zealand newspaper reported that his nickname was “spam king,” and Silicon Alley Insider dubbed him the “Hated Internet Millionaire Olympic Mogul Champion.”
Begg-Smith’s change of citizenship from Canadian to Australian (apparently the Canadians weren’t as happy with his extracurricular activities) has left his original countrymen famously peeved and the Australians less than enthusiastic.
Begg-Smith may have just become the most hated Olympic-level athlete since figure-skater-turned-boxer Tonya Harding.