Sunday, July 29, 2012

It Had To Be France.


The Internet streaming worked well this afternoon. I got to watch a bunch of swimming without very many issues. I just hope that it works well tomorrow morning, when I’m going to want to watch the men’s gymnastics team final. There’s no way I’m going to wait till tomorrow evening to find out who won.

The Main Blurb
All right, Team USA swimming. I have not been impressed. After all the uproar I’d heard about this team, I was expecting more golds. The women get bronze in the 4x100. Allison Schmitt gets silver in the 400 free. Michael Phelps doesn’t even medal in the 400IM. Elizabeth Beisel, very sharp in the preliminaries, loses out on gold and ends up with silver in the 400IM. And the men’s 4x100 relay, namely Ryan Lochte, surrenders the gold in the last 25 meters to – of all countries – France.

It had to be France.

Remember what I said yesterday about this relay in 2008? Well, pretty much the opposite happened. The first half of the US team – Nathan Adrian and Michael Phelps – had great swims. Phelps especially had a great swim. But Cullen Jones – once again in the relay that I wasn’t so sure he should be in – gave up some ground in the third leg. And Ryan Lochte was the one that allowed France to come back and outtouch him at the very end. He certainly didn’t look like “the god of the pool” as I read this afternoon.

I’d almost say “Why didn’t Jason Lezak swim the final leg?” if I hadn’t seen him swim the final leg in the preliminary relay and give up the lead to Australia. Oh well.

The only two male swimmers with which I was satisfied were Peter Vanderkaay and Brendan Hansen. Both of them got bronze in the 400 free and 100 breaststroke, respectively. Both Vanderkaay and Hansen were thought to be past their prime, but were able to secure another medal for their trophy cases. Hansen, to my delight, defeated his rival Kosuke Kitajima, who didn’t make the podium after winning gold in the event the past two Olympics. (Sound familiar?)

And then there’s Dana Vollmer, who seems to be the only swimmer living up to her expectations. She cruised in every part of that 100 butterfly – prelims, semis, and final. She is the first woman to swim the 100 butterfly under 56 seconds and she did it to win gold. At least one of you got the memo to dominate.

Tomorrow we’ve got the men’s 200 free final, the men’s and women’s 100 back finals, and the women’s 100 breaststroke final. To Ryan Lochte, Matt Grevers, Missy Franklin, and Rebecca Soni (or Breeja Larson): I demand gold. I demand dominance. No more making stupid lip-synching videos to “Call Me Maybe” and time to FOCUS.

Mini Blurbs
I have decided that the men’s breaststroke swimmers are the rock stars of swimming. Between Kitajima’s unearthly shrieks in the past couple of Olympics to today’s winner Cameron van der Burgh deciding to sit on the lane line for a 2-minute tanning session, I haven’t seen any other swimmers treat their victories so dramatically.

Two of the NBC team who usually covers the NHL for the network – Mike Emrick, and Pierre McGuire – are covering water polo, which shows you what NBC feels is the sport closest to water polo. And they’re not that far off. It’s a mix of hockey and basketball in the water. You can’t touch the ground, you play offense and defense, you’ve got a goalie, and you can sit in the penalty square (albeit for just 20 seconds) – but if you go in their three times, you foul out. I got to watch the men’s water polo match against Montenegro. They look pretty good!

I fast forwarded through the women’s cycling this morning, and noticed that the field was much smaller than the men’s road race yesterday. It didn’t help that the weather was awful for them in their 3 ½ hour ride.

I ended up having two swimming preliminaries on my screens this afternoon. I had the live men’s 200 free on my computer, and the delayed women’s 100 back on the television.

My sports list today? Weightlifting, gymnastics (both), women’s cycling, men’s volleyball, swimming of all kinds, men’s water polo, beach volleyball (both), men’s basketball, rowing (doubles and eights), and diving!

If anyone is assuming I have been a lazy bum all weekend, my classroom is being remodeled the next two weeks, so I have been bringing work home. It allows me to do work and watch the Olympics. You couldn’t ask for a better setup.

If you won a gold medal, would you sing the national anthem? I would try, but would probably forget the words. I’d try to hide it by crying instead.

Can you imagine what Jordyn Wieber must have been thinking at the start of the qualifying for women’s gymnastics? “I hope we all do our best!”
Can you imagine what Jordyn Wieber must have been thinking at the end of the qualifying for women’s gymnastics? “Aly – you weren’t supposed to do your absolute best!” Oops. The hype caught up with Jordyn. Go Aly!!

By the way, isn’t the Fab Five trademarked by the Michigan men’s basketball team? Or was that trademark eliminated with all the other wins of that era?

I wonder if the swimming commentators for NBC actually record their commentating in real time with the events, or if they record it afterwards. In the 100m breaststroke Rowdy Gaines said at the beginning of the race, “Don’t count out Brendan Hansen in lane 8.” Did he just have really good intuition? Or did he already know Hansen was going to get bronze? I’m not opening up a conspiracy here – I just would like to know.

Tomorrow is all about gymnastics and swimming. Here we go!