Tag Archives: Olympics

Olympic Closing

As I watched parts of the closing ceremony and listened to the commentators heap gooey praise on China for putting on such a great event, I thought about all the human rights violations that were covered up by the news media and reporters in order to get the coverage they wanted.  I also asked myself,”How much of this junk is real?”  Obviously it was delayed due to time zones, but how much of it was pre -taped and edited for TV?  Of the lights, fireworks, and music, am I watching a performance that was filmed live, or is this some cinematic reproduction?  NBC has shown that they are quite capable of complicity with the communist government of China, so I guess it wold not be a huge surprise to find that the closing, like the opening, was full of fakery.  Like someone said before, the fake gymnasts’ ages, the fake fans, fake fireworks, and fake singing of the cute girl cannot be where this whole thing ends.  Everything this government does is fake, and NBC needed the coverage and the money.  Bring back the games for the sake of the games without all the hype and fakery.

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Saturday Top 5: USA Moments in Olympic History

In honor of the closing of the Olympic experience in Beijing, this week’s Top 5 will include the 5 greatest US Olympic moments in the history of the Summer games.

Honorable Mention:

1992 Dream Team 1992 Barcelona, Spain – The greatest compilation of talent in the history of basketball was on showcase for the world in the Summer games of 1992. The domination was unmatched in Olympic history, and may never be matched again by any sport or in any discipline. The roster: Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Christian Laettner, Karl Malone, Chris Mullin, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson, and John Stockton.

5. Michael Johnson 1996 Atlanta, GA, USA – Johnson was one of the most dominant sprinters in Olympic history. His running style, according to many experts, was reminiscent of the great Jesse Owens. When he showed up for the 200 meter sprint, he was wearing gold Nike’s. It was electrifying. His record of 19.32 in the 200 meter stood until the Bolt broke that this by .02.

4. Bob Beamon 1968 Mexico City, Mexico – With words it’s difficult to overhype Beamon’s accomplishments in the 1968 games in Mexico City. Having failed to even qualify a jump, his third attempt would either make or break his Olympic event. What happened next inspired a book, “The Perfect Jump”. Because of approach problems, he slowed down his approach so he could make a jump that would not disqualify him. He hit the board on the nose and when he landed, history was made. His long jump record held for 23 years. The jump was so long, the official measuring device was not long enough to measure it. After the event, when the distance was announced, Beamon collapsed with his face in his hand, and had to be helped off the field.

3b. Mark Spitz 1972 Munich Germiny – It was 1972 in Munich and the mustache was very popular. Spitz dominated the field winning 7 gold medals in swimming only competing in 7 events. With preliminary races included, Spitz raced 13 races in that fortnight. More amazingly, he set 7 world records.

3a. Michael Phelps 2008 Beijing China – He did what nobody thought was possible. In 8 swimming events, he won 8 gold medals. Fell a fraction short of 8 world records, winning 7. He also needed a little help from Jason Lezak in the 4×100 in one of the most unlikely come-from-behind victories in Olympic history. He also won his 200 M Butterfly by .01 seconds, about the length of a fingernail. Phelps, by medals, is now the greatest Olympian in history, and he is not done. At 23, he is in his prime and has stated he will compete in London 2012.

2. Carl Lewis 1984 Los Angeles, CA and 1996 Atlanta, GA, USA – When people think about Lewis, many times it is the 1984 Olympics that set him apart. Arguably, this was one of the greatest moments in Olympic history, having doubled in the 100 and 200 meter sprints. But it wasn’t 1984 which stands out to me. For me, it was the 1996 Atlanta games in which an aging Lewis who almost did not qualify for the team was not even in medal position after the first two jumps nailed his third jump to win gold. It was an electric moment and it seemed that absolutely nobody expected it to happen.

1. Jesse Owens 1936 Berlin, Germany. No comments needed.

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Friday Bottom 3: Summer Olympic Events

For those who frequent this blog, you probably could already guess a couple of these pseudo sports which are going to make the bottom three. These events, while entertaining in some cases, should never have been included in the competition. This is not open for discussion. The only discussion I personally will entertain is if you can choose a few events that are even worse than my bottom 3. And now for the 3 worst events in the Summer Olympic Games.

These were almost Bottom 3…

Badmitten – Why not have wiffle ball and nerf football events at the olympics too?

Synchronized Diving – It’s bad enough that medals are awarded for individuals who jump in the water, but now they give them to teams of people jumping in the water.

#3 Equestrian – The equestrian events have been around at the modern Olympic games since 1900. Just because it has been around for a long time doesn’t make this an event that should be held at the Olympic games. This grouping of events consists of Dressage (basically horse obedience and movement, or a 4H horse show on a grand scale), show jumping (which is the closest to legit), and eventing (a combination of cross country jumping, show jumping, and dressage). This sport is for the ultra elite and is a total joke. They might as well have a dog obedience show at the Olympics and give medals.
#2 Rhythmic Gymnastics – The premise is that a single female or group of female dancer/gymnasts prance around on a spring floor throwing and twirling hoops, balls, ribbons, and clubs while stretching and spinning around all over the floor. Let’s face the truth here. This “sport” is to artistic gymnastics as ice dancing is to figure skating. The world already recognizes this event for what it is, a joke. The most amazing thing is that there is an event even worse than this one, and it is actually recognized with gold, silver, and bronze medals.
#1 Synchronized Swimming – The butt of jokes for over 20 years now, synchronized swimming combines ballet, swimming, and supposedly gymnastics. The “sport” is judged on precision movement, difficulty, and artistic merit but should also include bonus points for makeup that does not run and the swimsuit design. As of now, the Olympic competition is open only to women in duet and team (5), but even if they had a men’s version, I would never claim to be an Olympic medalist or athlete if I competed in this farce. Synchronized swimming was introduced to the Olympic games in 1984 and like gum on the bottom of your shoe it just won’t go away. While baseball, which is one of the world’s most universal and popular sports, has been eliminated from the Olympics starting in 2012, and golf, another true sport that is very universal is not even an Olympic sport, we have some bone heads giving medals for a bunch of doll faced women swimming in circles like a bunch of waterlogged Rockettes. This “sport” makes me question the whole Olympic system.

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Chinese Thought Roll

-The Chinese are really cleaning up this Olympics in gold medals. As of this morning, they had the most at 45 compared to 27 for 2nd place USA.

-Of the 45 gold medals for China, 17 were from events that are purely subjective in judging (between diving and gymnastics). Only 1 came from a race (a female swimmer won the 200 meter butterfly). The overwhelming majority of the rest of the gold medals came from sports like Judo, Ping Pong, and Badmitten. The Chinese have no track and field golds, but their women have done quite well in weight lifting.

-Of the 27 US gold medals, only 2 were for purely subjective events (both Johnson and Liukin won golds in gymnastics), one other bogus sport win (equestrian), and the majority of golds come from races in swimming and track and field.

-The Bolt struck again yesterday, this time in a way that was mind blowing. Bolt shattered the field in the 200 meter sprint becoming the 1st since Carl Lewis in 84 to double in the 100 and 200. What’s more, he broke the world record set by America’s Michael Johnson in 96, a record that many people said would never be broken. He won the race by over half a second, unheard of in the 200 meter sprint, and he did it against a slight head wind. Between Phelps and Usain Bolt, this has been an unbelievable Olypiad.

-The USA is rolling in basketball, looking almost untouchable. Because of the tournament format, however, it only takes one slip up to make this “redeem team” a nightmare. The good thing about the USA’s basketball team and dominance in this year’s Olympics is the class and style with which they are winning. No more showboating swagger for us. We have been humbled by FIBA. It’s not the same as the game we play here in the US.

-On the political front, Obama is suffering the consequences of his overly measured and wishy washy answers at the Saddleback forum hosted by Rick Warren. Obama has gone from a lead of 7 points in July to a 5 point deficit now. McCain’s from-the-heart straight talk answers scored in a big way with America.

-Just to be clear, national polls are not as significant as the battleground polls which measure the most likely voters in the states that will decide the election. As of now, McCain has a growing electoral advantage, and things are not looking good for Obama. Good news for the US is bad news for the Democrats.

-If you haven’t seen the movie “The Great Debaters”, go out and rent it or buy it. What an amazing true story of hard work, dedication, and inspiration.

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Olympic Ruminations

  1. The USA continues to get ripped off by incompetent judges. This further demonstrates why gymnastics, while highly impressive and entertaining, is not a sport. It is an exhibition of talent, strength, and skills that is quite remarkable. Nastia Liukin performed her uneven bar routine with fewer deductible mistakes than He Kexin (Chinese winner), yet Kexin won the event. To make it worse, there was not a single judge from a country who has an Olympic gymnastics medal. And to add insult to injury, the gold medal winning Chinese did not win with a higher score. She won on with a tie score, of which the tie-breaking system, according to Bob Costas and Béla Károlyi is an arbitrary system giving even more power to fewer judges. This seems like a recipe for fraud. This is the second US girl who has fallen victim to judging “mistakes” with the Chinese benefiting in both occasions.
  2. Shawn Johnson finally won gold in Beijing. She does it on seemingly the most difficult piece of equipment. The balance beam is so difficult because many times they are landing on the beam totally blind. I don’t know how they do it. Nastia Liukin continues her run of medals (which should be two golds instead of one) with a silver as America once again goes one and two.
  3. People criticizing Usain Bolt need to back off. This 21 year-old Jamaican athlete is downright amazing and deserves to be a little exuberant. It’s amazing in several ways. First, it’s amazing that a 6’5″ sprinter can run the 100 meters so fast. They say the shorter and more compact runners have an advantage in the sprints due to the quick strides. Bolt is built like a basketball player. Second, he won the gold in the 100 meter (check out this video) after he shut his run down with 25 meters to go. He jogged the last 25 meters people! And he still won the race with total ease. There is something to be said for guys who quietly celebrate inside while maintaining a calm exterior, but come on! This kid just won a gold medal and is the fastest person known in the history of mankind. Give him a break.

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It’s not a sport!

Why isn’t there Olympic singing, Olympic painting, Olympic stand up comedy, or Olympic ballroom dancing? We might as well add these and many other events to the Olympics to complement synchronized swimming, diving, artistic gymnastics, figure skating, ski jumping, ice dancing, and all the other exhibitions in which winners are determined on the basis of artistic impression and a judge’s opinion. In past Olympics, it has been proven that judges have been taking money to ensure certain competitors receive favorable scores. Last night, a Chinese gymnast beat the American on the vault for a Bronze even though the Chinese contestant fell and the American girl did not. In what should have been a major deduction for the fall, along with another deduction for improperly executing the vault, points mysteriously were NOT taken off.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate watching the gymnastic events. My beef is that these exhibitions are placed on the same level with track and field events like the marathon which test the heart of an athlete, the 100 meter sprint which measures raw speed, shot put showing pure power, and on the level with the swimming races in which there is a measurable specific objective, and so the list goes on.

If it’s about what people enjoy watching, then we need to have a format like “Dancing With The Stars” and allow us to see tuxedoed men and gowned women demonstrating their talents while competing for gold. What is the difference?

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Wednesday Quotable

I always thought, it would be neat to make the Olympic team.
-Michael Phelps

While this incredible young man is right on target with his quote, I believe that perspective is everything. Yes, it would be “neat” to make the Olympic team, but why settle for neat when you can accomplish greatness?

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