Friday, August 3, 2012

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. So that tiny television was crucial in my Olympic viewing experience. It wasn’t HD, but it got the job done.

One month later, I landed in Beijing, the same time the Paralympic games were taking place. But one day after I landed, I hopped on another plane and flew far, far away from Beijing. I spent four months in Dawukou, and came back to the States at Christmas. Then I worked at a preschool in Michigan for six months. Then I moved to Wisconsin and taught for three years, moving from an apartment to a house. And now I reside in Colorado, where now I sit and watch so many familiar faces on my much bigger HD television. Which prompted me to think, Where was I at this time four years ago?

Where were you four years ago? How has your life changed since then? I have moved five different times in four years. I’m hoping that when I’m watching the Olympics in Rio I will still call Colorado my home. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be able to be in Rio for the 2016 Games! I should start my fund right now. How about it, people? The Blurb From Rio? (Sounds like a B-movie in the horror genre.)

Mini Blurbs
Michael Phelps wins by twenty-three hundredths of a second…and it’s his longest margin of victory in the 100 butterfly in three Olympics. When he starts off slow in this event, I just sit back and wait for him to turn it on after the turn.

And how about Katie Ledecky?? She’s 15 years old – two years younger than Missy Franklin – and cruises to win the 800 meter freestyle race. Unbelievable.

I was really hoping for an American sweep of the swimming golds tonight. I was close – Franklin, Phelps, and Ledecky all pulled through, but Cullen Jones just missed out for gold, settling for silver in the 50 free. I guess you can’t win ‘em all.

And in this installment of “Where in London is Kobe Bryant?”, we find Kobe cheering on Swiss tennis player Roger Federer in his four-hour marathon of a match. Earlier we saw Kobe at Horse Grounds Parade watching beach volleyball, and then on another day at the indoor volleyball court. I’m thinking he’s determined to watch all the sports with nets. Look for him to bounce in the Event Center between badminton and table tennis over the next few days, with the possibility of soccer, handball, and water polo. And I guess he’s playing some basketball in his spare time. (On a serious note, it’s fun to see Kobe really participating in the Olympic experience, not just being in London to do his sport and be done. I also noticed LeBron James and Kevin Durant watching swimming today. Props, guys.)

NBC, did you really have to cut away from Katie Ledecky’s race? It’s 800 meters, not 10,000! Did Dan and Rowdy really say nothing interesting for two minutes, so you decided you needed to air the four thousandth promotion for “Guys With Kids”?

Oh, there's the Olympic flame...

I want to be an official in swimming or track who rings the bell. Especially in swimming, where each lane official gets a bell and has to ring it as loudly as possible so that the swimmers can hear it. I’d be awesome at that job.

Track! Track! Track track track! Qualifying rounds today in men’s 400m hurdles, women’s 400m, women’s 100m, and long jump. Ethiopian and Kenyan women raced for gold in the 10,000 meters, and large men threw tiny but heavy balls an insane length. Translation: a beautiful day at the track. Can’t wait for some finals!

Interesting question: are people allowed to bring food and drink to the events? Whenever you cut to a crowd in the States, someone is stuffing their face with a hot dog, nachos, or fries. But cut to a crowd at the Olympics, and food is nonexistent. Do they ban food and drink? Why am I so concerned about this?!

I really like the bold red uniforms for the track and field athletes. Finally, no light blue creeping in to the three main colors. The red looks really sharp, don't you think?

It's fascinating watching shot put in the Olympics, because they use two different approaches that I used in high school. I used the glide technique in shot put (and I was decent), and I used the spin technique in discus (and I wasn't good). The shots go so far! I coached track this year, and I hope my team was watching the shot put event. They grunt! The shot goes far! It really works!

Today’s roundup is big: tennis, table tennis, rowing, beach volleyball, volleyball, shot put, various running events, swimming of various kinds, diving, track cycling, heptathlon, water polo...trampoline gymnastics!!

I have decided to start a Czech Republic Gold Medal Watch. They have two silver medals, but no bronze and no gold. I want them to win a gold medal! Go Czech!