Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympic Musings: Vol. 1

I know we're just two (and change, now) days into these Olympic Games, but here are some of the early highlights:

Ryan Lochte seems like a douche. He's so laid back and chill and edgy because he skateboards and wears a grill? First of all, dude, grills are so 2000-and-Late. They weren't cool even when they were in. I'm glad the organizers said they wouldn't award him the Gold if he was wearing it. But then, right after he stepped off the podium, he put it back in.

Allison Schmitt, who swims at North Baltimore Aquatic Center (aka Meadowbrook, aka Pool of Champions), won silver in the 400m Free and set an American Record. Dana Vollmer set World, Olympic, and American Records in her 100m Fly swims, winning Gold in the final. And they said she was swimming too hard in the heats... Meanwhile, Cameron van der Burgh from South Africa earned his country's first ever individual gold medal in the 100m Breast, setting a World Record in an event which the WR was set with one of the (now) illegal suits.

One thing we can't figure out is why each nation doesn't have a "team" uniform.

Water Polo is the Ice Hockey of liquid states. What makes ice hockey difficult is you're playing on ice. Balance like no other is required to play the sport. Well, if playing on ice is hard, think about going anaerobic in the water. You could drown, and the other team is actively trying to help you achieve that.

Basketball was invented in America. WHY then are the international court and ball dimensions different (smaller) and the rules slightly different? This makes no sense. If you invent a sport, we play by your rules. Play by ours.

Kim Rhode became the first US Olympian to medal in 5 consecutive Games, earning the gold medal in the shooting event. She successfully shot down 99 of 100 clay pigeons, hereafter referred to as Skeets, setting a World Record. That's pretty B.A.

Think you've had to have some difficult conversations? Try being Kerri Walsh-Jennings, one half of the power Beach Volleyball duo (Misty May-Treanor being the other) that has never lost a set in Olympic play (2008, 2004 gold medal winners). After Beijing, the pair split to do their own thing, and when Walsh was ready to make a return, May wasn't, so Walsh picked up rising star Nicole Branagh. They were seemingly headed for the London Olympics when May had a change of heart, and Walsh had to break the unfortunate news to Branagh. But, the heart wants what the heart wants, and the pair looks poised to take an unprecedented 3rd Gold. American Indoor Volleyball teams, both men and women, are looking strong as well. Truly, based on booties per square inch, the collective sport of volleyball is THE event to watch in the Olympics.

Everyone will debate what the hardest Olympic sport is, and truly there is no objective way of measuring it. But, I'd make a case for the Cycling Road Race. It's a 155 mile race, which is truly a monster distance, and they are racing flat out for 6 hours. Nothing matches the intensity for the same duration. In the men's race, former drug cheat Alexandre Vinokourov etched his name into Olympic history following a terrificly smart final 8km. It was a great race to watch, and for American Tejay van Garderen, who did serious work for his teammate Taylor Phinney, it capped a great month of July, which included a 5th place at the Tour de France. The women's race was one of the grittiest I've ever seen, as the conditions for them on Sunday were abysmal. Torrential rain, and a break of 3 that stuck to the finish, where Netherlands' Marianne Voss earned a well-deserved win.

Italian synchronized divers. Hot.

The one thing I just really struggle to understand is how, after not covering or even giving mention to some (most) of these disciplines for the 4 years between Olympics, and even during the Olympic Trials, an organization (cough ESPN cough) feels they are qualified to comment and cover it now?

Anyway, plenty more events to come, and I will continue my media blackout. Track starts up on Friday!


Busch Light said...

Very insightful, and mildly humorous.

RM said...

Thanks Mark - glad it was just mild humor and not "Good Humour"...get it