Friday, August 12, 2016

The Rio Olympics - Seven Days In

I have been watching a lot of the Olympics.  Not as much as my friend Fred Shugars has been watching, to be sure, but enough to ensure that I haven't been to bed before midnight all week, and it's killing me.

Anyway, here are some Kwick Komments from this part of The Grandstand.....

  • Michael Phelps.  The guy is 31 years old and in his FIFTH Olympics.  I never would have thought that what he has done in Rio would have been possible.  It is simply amazing.

  • Ryan Lochte may be one of the greatest swimmers of all time.  Wonder if he ever says to himself, "Why did MY prime have to coincide with Michael Phelps' prime?"
  • When I watch Katie Ledecky swim her events, I think of Secretariat at the Belmont Stales in 1973.  Another simply amazing athlete.

  • Staying in the pool, HUGE props go out to American Gold Medalist Simone Manuel for all kinds of reasons.  Hers was a landmark performance in a lot of ways.  Her emotions after winning and in post-swim interviews last night was one of the highlights of the Games.

  • Allison Schmitt, the great-niece of one of our Stonebrook neighbors, Barb Meyer, won a gold medal in one of the swimming relay events the other night.  This goes with four medals that she won in London in 2012.  Here's to a little reflected glory for our little neighborhood!

  • Female beach volleyball players high five and hug each other after every point.  Talk about slowing up the pace of play.
  • I watched the final set of a men's beach volleyball match last night between the USA and Italy, and found it to be totally and completely compelling.
  • Saw the last ten minutes of the USA-India field hockey game last night, won by the USA, 3-0.  Isn't that a sport that has historically been dominated by India in the past? (That's a serious question.)  Anyway, that USA team is now either 3-0 or 4-0 in pool play, so when did the USA become a power in field hockey?
  • I am not sure if I have ever seen ten minutes of field hockey, total, in my entire life before last night, but, hey, Let's Go USA!!!!
  • When Australia gave the USA men's basketball team a bit of a scare on Wednesday night, it produced the best quote of the Games so far.  Kyrie Irving said that the Aussies gave the USA a great game and forced them to "play with our backs to the ropes" all night.
  • I applaud the skill sets of the female gymnasts, and I am glad that they are producing a haul of medals for the good ol' US of A, but something about watching those young girls (and, yes, they are for the most part, still girls) makes me a little uneasy.  Too many stories from the past about abusive coaches (that means you, Mr. and Mrs Karolyi) makes me squeamish.
  • The maniacal husband/coach of Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu is far and away the most annoying character to emerge from these Games.  Does he ever wash that green t-shirt he's always wearing?
  • Team handball.  I never see this enough to really learn the rules and the intricacies of the game.  It seems to combine basketball, hockey, and soccer all in one sport.  It seems intriguing and looks like something that I might actually like watching, if given the opportunity to learn more about it.  It doesn't seem to be a sport that is played with any great seriousness in the USA.
  • Of the sports contested in this first week, I am glad that the scheduling was such that most of the final swimming events have been contested live and in prime time.  Those are the ones we have most enjoyed seeing.  I hope that the same will be true of some of the signature track and field events, which begin today.
That's it for now.  More to come in the week ahead.

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