Holy Shuttlecock, Batman! Really, they tried to throw a badminton competition? I mean, who the heck cares? If you haven't heard, and you probably haven't unless you are a total Olympic junkie like me, four teams in the Olympic badminton competition got thrown out for trying to fix or rig or, I don't know, otherwise conspire to predetermine the knockout round seedings. We're talking badminton here. Like how could they tell? What's next, cyclists somehow trying to get an advantage by.....Oops, been there, done that. Or track and field athletes taking....Oops, already happened. Okay, no sport is immune, even if a shuttlecock is involved.
Phelps, Lochte...Love, Hate: I think it's so interesting to watch Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte try to be civil with each other. It's so obvious that their rivalry in the pool makes it virtually impossible for them to be friendly on dry land. They are both incredibly gifted and driven athletes who are involved in a zero sum game. One wins, one loses. Except in the case of the relays. But to top achievers, relays are more or less icing on the cake, not the cake itself. And these guys are all about the cake. I cannot wait for the 200 individual medley final tomorrow night, most likely the last time these two fierce competitors go head to head on the world stage. Fascinating stuff!
On the Other Hand, We Have Franklin and Schmitt: Then there are the refreshing American women, Missy Franklin and Allison Schmitt. They teamed up tonight to win gold in the 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay. Schmitt was very impressive in gobbling up her Australian anchor leg opponent. They seem real, grounded and enthusiastic. As a father of aspiring Olympians, you couldn't ask for better role models. What a great pair of extraordinary athletes.
Is it a Sport if It's Judged? Gymnastics and Diving are two events in the Olympics whose outcomes are totally dependent on the points awarded by judges. Some would argue that they aren't really sports, because of the judging factor. I don't necessarily disagree, but most sports rely to a certain degree on "judging", mostly in the form of referees or umpires. How important is the offsides call to a soccer game? What about the "judging" of whether a pitch is a ball or a strike? Or how about the ability of football referees to influence the outcome of a game by making or not making a call in a key situation? So where I understand the argument, I also think the biases and miscalls by judges are pretty rare. In most cases, the best performances are awarded with the best scores. I'm not so sure that can be said for the so-called sports, where officials can alter the outcome with a single call.
NBC Just Can't Get it Right! Once again, the coverage of the men's gymnastics, especially the end, totally stunk. While Danell Leyva was apparently winning the bronze, and I say apparently because we couldn't hear the announcers and NBC showed neither Leyva's scores for his high bar routine nor the the final scores for the top participants. I guess they assumed we were at the arena and could see a scoreboard. Sorry, but I'm in Arkansas watching on, you guessed it, tape delay that allowed NBC plenty of time to make this broadcast nothing short of perfect. And to think we're stuck with these guys for the foreseeable future.
I Guess We Spell Redemption L-E-Y-V-A!! What a great performance by the aforementioned Danell Leyva. After a very shaky pommel horse routine, he gathered himself and came back to grab a bronze medal in the men's gymnastics all-around competition. And after the disappointment of the team competition, it makes his accomplishment tonight all the more impressive. Good for him and another example of an athlete that refused to give up in the face of adversity.