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Showing posts from August, 2012

I Am So Sad. Winter Olympics, Please Come Quickly!

The Main Blurb
Blahblah Closing Ceremony blahblah basketball game blahblah DID YOU SEE THAT VOLLEYBALL GOLD MEDAL MATCH? I really hope you didn’t just tune in for the basketball game and then delete the rest of the recording. Because that was a brilliant gold medal volleyball match played by the Russians.
To get you up to speed, the Russian men’s team was playing Brazil in the match. Brazil, whose women’s team had already won gold the day before, quickly went up two sets to none. As a matter of fact, Brazil had Gold Medal Match Point twice! But the Russians wouldn’t quit. Their coach changed up all of their positions, and the Brazilians weren’t prepared for that.
Russia made it a late set, but won the third set. Now they were down two sets to one. Brazil just had to win the fourth set and they’d be champions. Did they do it? No! They lost the fourth set! Giant player Dmitriy Muserskiy – who could be the younger brother of Noah Emmerich – was crushing the ball, and the one-named Bra…

A Diving Final that Deserved its Primetime Spot

The Main Blurb
Diving is Chinese. The Chinese are diving. When you watch diving, you hear about the latest Chinese phenom. And more than likely, that Chinese phenom takes the gold medal. There are eight diving events. In Beijing, the Chinese delegation won seven of those golds. The only non-Chinese gold was won by Australian Matt Mitcham in the men’s 10m platform, the Olympics’ final diving event.
This Olympics was slightly different. The Chinese dominated in the golds again, but before the 10m platform, another non-Chinese Olympian took gold. Ilya Zakharov of Russia won the men’s 3m springboard with a huge amount of difficult dives.
And – finally! – in the diving Olympics, the divers to watch in the 10m platform were not Chinese. Well, there was one Chinese diver in contention – Qin Bo. But the other two divers in the spotlight – Great Britain’s Tom Daley and USA’s David Boudia – were able to step up and make this final the most exciting final in diving that I’d seen.
As I mentioned…

WARNING: Obligatory "Girls Rule" Article Ahead

The Main Blurb It’s Ladies’ Night!
I got to watch the women’s 4x100m relay live this afternoon, and then again tonight. Wow – what a race! After watching the baton drop from their hands back in Beijing, it was refreshing to see their handoffs so crisp and clean.
One of my fears coming into these Olympics was that China was going to take the medals count again, like they did back in 2008. Technically we haven’t led a medals count and the gold medal count at the end of two weeks since 2004 in Athens. Germany won total medals in 2006, China won the most gold medals in 2008, and Canada and Germany finished ahead of the US in golds in 2010. It looks like by the end of the night Sunday we will be in the lead again. Most of it, actually, is thanks to the ladies. Out of 41 gold medals, 27 of them have been won by women.
In team events, the women have done far better than the men. Soccer won gold, water polo won gold, and volleyball plays tomorrow for gold. Water polo and volleyball didn’t m…

A+B-the square root of pi(x+1504) = gold medal!

The Main Blurb What is up with the decathlon? People say it’s the event that finds the world’s best athlete. To me, it’s the athlete that is adequate at the most events – maybe the “most well-rounded” athlete. If you put up the decathletes against the premier athletes in each of those ten events, they would be blown out of the water. But since decathletes can do all of them pretty well – and in two days! – they are very much appreciated.
This isn’t a railing on why the media hypes the decathlon – I really think the decathlon doesn’t get enough coverage during the Olympics. There are just a few details about it that confuse me.
The points system kind of reminds me of Around the Horn, a show on ESPN where four sports writers talk about sports. The crazy thing is, the host (Tony Reali, look him up) gives the writers points. It usually is supposed to be for a good point the writer made, but sometimes the points are given and taken away for no real reason. Actually, the motto of the show …

Track and Field Madness!

The Main Blurb Track is awesome. I wish I could be at the Olympic Stadium this week to watch it. I am enjoying the evening feed online, because it is bouncing everywhere! Take tonight: I was able to watch it in my classroom in its entirety – from 11am till it was done. I saw decathlon high jump, decathlon 400m, men’s 110m hurdle semifinals and finals, women’s 200m, women’s 400m hurdles, men’s 200m semifinals, women’s long jump, men’s javelin throw, and the men’s 800m semifinal! Boom! We’re on the track! Boom! We’re watching long jump! Boom! We’re back on the track for the first semifinal! Boom! We’re watching javelin! Boom! There’s another semifinal on the track! Boom! There’s that Chariots of Fire music signaling another medal ceremony! Boom! There’s that really cute mini remote-controlled Mini Cooper fetching the field items like hammer throw and shots!
You really miss out on that when watching the NBC TV coverage. They make you watch one event at a time, take frequent breaks, and d…

More Events are Finishing! How Sad!

The Main Blurb Dear Dawn Harper:
Once again, you went under the radar. And once again, you showed that you are for real.
In 2008, Lolo Jones was the premier star of the women’s 100m hurdles. She was cruising through the rounds, she was the poster girl in the event, and she got all the attention from the media and NBC. So naturally, the people here in the US were pulling for Lolo. You were barely mentioned in any of the heats, semis, or even the final! I don’t remember you actually being mentioned until they scrolled down the field for the introductions.
Everyone was watching Lolo Jones. Everyone watched as she stumbled on the ninth hurdle. And although I was sad that she stumbled, I was thrilled to see another American come and take her place as the gold medalist. And I laughed as you walked around in unbelief, screaming that you had won the gold.
So this year, I was pretty surprised when, once again, Lolo Jones was getting all the attention! She got the NBC profiles, she got the d…

Steeplechase: A History

The Main Blurb All right, time for another history lesson. What the heck is the steeplechase?
The steeplechase is an obstacle-course event in the Olympic games. How cool is that? How many of you have ever done an obstacle course before? I always love doing obstacle courses. It makes me think of Double Dare, too.
In the Olympics, the steeplechase is 3,000 meters long. It has 28 normal jumps and seven water jumps. Unfortunately, that’s it. No rings of fire or slides full of chocolate pudding. But there’s a reason for that.
The steeplechase originated in the British Isles, when runners would race from one town to the next. When you come into a town, what is the first thing you see? Likely, it’s a church steeple. So they would race from steeple to steeple. Back then, there were no highways or even paved roads for the runners to race on, so the runners would have to jump over obstacles like stone walls and small streams.
The modern steeplechase was formed in the University of Oxford way …

The Hardest Part of Writing this Blog is Thinking of a TITLE!

The Main Blurb Did anyone else think “Breakfast at Wimbledon” this morning? I woke up just as it was starting – albeit I had woken up that early to watch gymnastics event finals on the computer. But it was still fun to watch Wimbledon for the second time in a month, with a different result.
I have watched Andy Murray in quite a few tennis matches, and they normally had the same routine: come out strong, fail in the end. All of Britain turns to the local Brit tennis player in June and July, praying that he will save them from their drought of winless men’s singles for many years. But they never come through. Even Murray, who was in the Wimbledon final just a few weeks ago, failed to take the championship away from Roger Federer.
But this time it was Murray besting a flustered Federer on Centre Court in front of his home crowd. Home court advantage had never been so much of a, well, advantage! With the raucous crowd – a little bit more raucous than a usual Wimbledon match – Murray coul…

Swimming into the Sunset

The Main Blurb Since today was the final day of swimming, I’m going to bid a fond adieu to the USA Swim Team. Remember earlier in this week? I was frustrated that we didn’t seem to be doing anything and making much progress in the medal standings.
I can gladly say that they finished kind of how Michael Phelps did: they finished very strong. New stars like Katie Ledecky, Allison Schmitt, Matt Grevers, and Nathan Adrian came through in the clutch, promising that World Championships and Olympics to come would be in good hands.
Ryan Lochte came into this Games with a lot of expectations. He started with gold, but then kind of petered out at the end. Casual observers may remember Lochte more for his mother’s “one-night stand” blunder or his statement that he peed in the Olympic pool during events than his 400IM gold.
Phelps, on the other hand, missed the medal stand in his first final last Saturday, but didn’t miss the podium after that. He finally got some silver medals (4x100 relay, 2…

Grunting in Shot Put: It Works!

The Main Blurb Four years ago… Four years ago… Four years ago…
If you watch any Olympic events, you’re sure to hear that phrase in every event. The previous Olympics were four years ago, and everything that takes place in London are based on what took place in Beijing…four years ago.
Have you thought of your life four years ago? I had just graduated from college and actually spent the Olympics in St. Paul, Minnesota training for my new job teaching in China. I was getting educated in Chinese culture, then coming back to my cousin’s house at night and seeing the culture on television. The swimming was actually broadcast live in the States – the finals were actually scheduled in the morning China time, so that it could be in primetime back home. I watched pretty much every single Phelps swim as it happened.
I had a little room in the basement with a fold-out couch and a tiny television. My cousins are first-cousins-once-removed, so they were my parents’ age and didn’t stay up too late. …

DVR is a Busy Person's Best Friend

So today was my first full day of non-Olympics stuff. I had a meeting in the morning. I had to eat a quick lunch at noon, but couldn't watch any live swimming because I had more meetings in the afternoon. Then in the evening I attended a barbeque and didn't get back till 9. So I really had to put the kibosh on Internet viewing all day since I didn't want to find out what had happened.

So here's the first pro-NBC column you'll see this week: I was glad that all the events were tape-delayed. They didn't spoil anything for me when the evening program started, I got to watch everything I wanted to watch (including just one set of men's volleyball - what was up with that?!), and I didn't have anything spoiled. Now I could have done that had NBC aired them live on TV and I had DVRed it. But for what I'm dealing with right now and the tape-delay, I'll be okay with that.

I did end up watching everything I would have normally watched had I had a work-at-…

Yo, Adrian!

The Main Blurb While Rebecca Soni was racing the semifinal of the 200 breaststroke tonight, commentator Dan Hicks mentioned that the world record at that time was held by Canadian swimmer Annamay Pierse, who broke that record during “the suit era.”
Here is my brief explanation about what “the suit era” entails:
Right before the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Speedo released a new polyurethane-based swimsuit for its competitors called the LZR Racer. It was a skin-tight suit – so tight that it took swimmers more time than usual to shimmy the suit all the way up (it was seamless). The polyurethane was “designed to help buoyancy and support certain muscles,” which allowed swimmers to swim faster longer. (http://technology.inquirer.net/2276/swimming-%E2%80%98super-suit%E2%80%99-era-refuses-to-go-quietly for those who are curious)
Swimmers took to this like bees to honey, and instead of wearing the normal swimwear for competitors, they ordered suits that went down to the ankles and up to their …