Tag Archives: swimming

Like a moth to the flame, I am to the Games of Torch

So as usual my pre-planned night of paper-writing became write 3/4 of a page, watch 2 hours of Olympics, write another 3/4 of a page, more Olympics. Even the threat of 70% of my grade in a class relying on my usefulness this week isn’t enough to beckon me away from the excitement.

Today Michael Phelps collected golds 4 & 5, as well as WRs (world records) 4 & 5 of the Games. What does a WR even mean these days if every single swim race seems to produce one (or multiple in many instances)? Well, I’ll share some theories, but it will have to be another day.

How heartbreaking was it to see Alicia Sacramone‘s meltdown after falling off the beam in the team competition today? I could barely watch. China certainly gave the US plenty of opportunity to snag the gold, but they never fully capitalized on the host country’s mistakes.

I guess the US getting the silver just makes that 1996 “Magnificent Seven” team win in Atlanta all the more special. Besides, how much of a team is it if only four competed? (Actually, don’t answer that, I know the answer to that question.)

Actually now that I think about it, prime time tonight was just about the most perfect few hours of Olympic watching there could be. All swimming and gymnastics. I’m down for that!

This will probably be my last Olympic update for a few days, or at least the rational side (cell?) of my brain hopes so. Til then, I bid ya adieu.

PS, If they happened for the 2004 Athens games, I don’t remember, but I’m loving the nightly Bela Karolyi-Bob Costas chats in NBC Primetime. And by chats I pretty much just mean listening to Karolyi. That guy is so enthusiastic and hilarious, it definitely keeps me watching! If you’re wondering why you’ve heard his name, you probably remember him from this:


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Cliff Notes version of a Sparks Note version of an Olympic Update

Despite my darndest efforts not to watch the Olympics this week in order to get through my wildest workload week in a long time, I have failed miserably. Though nowhere close to having seen all that I’d like to see, I still have yet to miss a swimming race. Due to the marvels of DVR I’ve caught every prelim, semifinal and final heat at the Water Cube. By the way, is this not the coolest building ever?

In case you missed it, just wanted to let you see the highlight of the entire Olympics thus far:

Truth be told, rewatching this race still gives me goosebumps.

While I miss the days when the USA got gold in just about every contest, it never gets old deflating rival smack talk. Before this race, a member of the heavily favored French 4×100 free relay team, Alain Bernard, told reporters, “The Americans? We’re going to smash them. That’s what we came here [The Olympics] for.” As only one could dream, team captain Jason Lezak pulled past the French squad (and the smack-talking anchor Bernard in particular) in the last half meter of the race, in a race where the top five squads blasted through the world record. Awesome!!

And for the suddenly Michael Phelps-obsessed and just-born swimming fans, this gave Phelps a perfect 2 for 2 in gold medals to races thus far. He racked up another gold in his 200 free yesterday as well, with a world record to boot, and now is 3 for 3.

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It’s here, it’s here! The (Summer) Olympics are here! I’ve only waited 4 exhausting years for this! (You’d think I was a world-class athlete with that proclamation.)

Too bad it’s the most insanely busy week of my life (OK — that’s a little dramatic — but it is extremely hectic right now). I just hope I don’t miss all the action.

Go Team USA! I had a snowcone named after you last week in your honor.

My mini Olympic week consists of an agency-wide intern presentation at work, hour-long presentation for my class, and two papers, one being 18 pages. While much less exciting and exhilarating than platform diving or performing the iron cross on rings, it will be intense in its own “special” way.

I will definitely be squeezing in mini-watching sessions for swimming at the very least, and very likely gymnastics, diving, and track & field as well. Here’s to hoping Michael Phelps gets mostly silvers (except relays) & that the other US Olympians take golds in all his individual events.

I’m such a jerk. But how can you not despise him when you see this picture? Ugggh.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the free Olympic Preview Sports Illustrated delivered to my house (under someone else’s name) had him “gracing” the cover. Fine, fine, he’s a big story, again. And he’s great for the sport. I get it. But did a full 9 (I got tired of counting after that) pages have to be dedicated to this guy? I guess it’s only prep for all the “feel good” producers’ storylines that will be raised again and again. But did we really need to know how many Facebook friends he has? The answer is 4,621 if you were wondering.*

Anyway, here’s hoping that Team USA destroys the Land Down Under in all swimming relays (just a little friendly competition of course)! Though I’ll admit, I’m still pretty sad that we won’t see Gary Hall, Jr. in these Games.

In the back of my mind I’m on the semi-lookout for ambush marketing attempts too, but with recent IOC sanctions, I have a feeling I won’t be seeing much of that.

OK, back to the insanity.

*This number has probably grown since I wrote this.

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I can’t wait for 8-8-08!

Welcome to the summer sports doldrums. The NBA finals — which I actually watched this year — are now over and it is months away from football season. How is a gal to amuse herself?

One could make the argument that baseball is in full swing, and of course, it is. However, the Braves aren’t doing anything exciting right now, other than Chipper making a run at a .400 season average, which would be the first player to do so since Ted Williams way back in 1941. He is exactly at .400 right now, after suffering a short slump in the last week or so. A yearly tradition, I wait with bated breath in hopes that he doesn’t have yet another season-ruining injury, which has happened the last umpteen seasons. John Smoltz, another one of my “vintage” Braves favorites, is already out for the season and has been for several weeks. The Braves have a phenomenal home record but can’t seem to buy a victory on the road… yet somehow they are in the hunt. They are currently 5 1/2 games back and tied for third in the NL East.

All these somewhat interesting storylines aside, it’s the down-and-dirty middle of the season where players are worn out, many of them slumping, and it’s way too early to make any meaningful post-season projections. Stanley Cup ended, as did the NBA Finals. College football and NFL are months away.

In the relative abyss though, there is something I can’t wait for: the Summer Olympics! Thank goodness this year is an Olympic year, because the barren sportscape for the summer is too much of a depressing thought to take. (Though I guess there’s Eurocup soccer, which I’ve been watching a decent amount of at work. I swear it’s on for everyone, not just me!)

As most of America knows, the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics start on 8-8-08, thanks to NBC’s recent advertising blitz. And to use a hackneyed old adage, the world will be watching. The unabashed evidence of corporate sponsorship during commercials for the month of August, the political implications, and oh yeah, some of the best displays of athletic prowess we’ll see in years to come… all boiling in a cauldron of the “only-once-every-four-years” excitement, how can anyone deny it?

While all these storylines are indeed interesting to me, I am (obviously) most exuberant about the sports. I live to watch the swimming events all day, and love to cheer on the Red, White and Blue as they destroy (or attempt to) the Land Down Under in relays. I marvel at the incredible maneuvers athletes are able to accomplish in both gymnastics and diving. And what sort of uncivilized person doesn’t enjoy watching track and field? And then there’s volleyball, water polo, soccer, basketball, and other countless entertaining team sports. And while I may not understand synchronized swimming, I must admit, it’s baffling how much people can accomplish while holding their collective breaths underwater. And other than the wedgie-picking, I love beach volleyball too.

So needless to say, August 8th can’t come soon enough. Another stellar Olympics is coming, and I can’t hide my enthusiasm! Here’s to hoping the next month and a half zoom by so we can get ’em started!

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