And I’m addicted to the Olympics.
The Olympics started this week and in no uncertain terms, I’m hooked. Morning and night, at the gym and in the living room, when I go to sleep and when I wake up. I’ve got Olympic fever.
Here are a few thoughts from the first few days of action:
Phive for Phive for Phelps
It’s hard to pinpoint my favorite Olympic sport, although swimming would have to be near the top of the list.
Last month I wrote about Tiger Woods, a man who at that time I would have called the greatest athlete in the world. It’s a month later and Michael Phelps has done everything he can to change my mind.
I watched Phelps win six gold medals in 2004 and was quite impressed, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the guy was something special. As I had just graduated high school, it was hard for me to imagine how a guy who was born six months before I was could accomplish so much.
This year, Phelps has taken swimming to another level. He’s just unbelievable to watch. In case you haven’t been watching, in his fourth gold medal swim, Phelps literally won with his eyes closed. As he jumped in the pool, his goggles malfunctioned and filled up with water. Phelps proceeded to swim all 200m without sight and won, in world record time!
Then there was the 4 x 100 relay, already dubbed as the greatest swimming relay in Olympic history. Speaking about it can’t do it much justice, but its certainly made Jason Lezak a household name.
If you didn’t watch that relay or if you just want to relive it, feel free to do so here.
Second is the first loser
Ranking alongside swimming for the Olympics among my favorites is women’s gymnastics. Now I’m not the type of guy that’s ever going to watch gymnastics unless it’s in the Olympics. I’m not sure what it is. I guess it’s that addiction to the Olympics I talked about earlier.
It’s funny to talk about gymnastics and swimming in the same breath because although they both take tremendous amounts of practice, athleticism and commitment by the competitors, they’re so different to watch as a fan. While swimming is a fast-paced, stand-up-and-scream, “go go go!” sprint, Gymnastics is nearly the opposite, a try-not-to-fall-off-the-edge-of-your-seat-while-holding-your-breath-and-“oooing”-and-“ahhing,” marathon.
Of course, this year’s USA gymnastics team gave me the added allure of my most recent crush, Alicia Sacramone, on the team. Don’t worry she’s 20! And pretty smart too, Brown University what, what? She’s just perfect.
Except she wasn’t in the finals. Use all the excuses you want, and there are legitimate ones, but the bottom line was Sacramone wasn’t herself and it cost Team USA.
It was going to be tough for that team to overcome the odds stacked up against them anyway. Samantha Peszek sprained her ankle 15 minutes before prelims and was basically rendered useless, which must have been emotional for Sacramone because Peszek is her best friend. Then Chelsey Memmel had a similar injury and could only be used once. That put far too much pressure on Sacramone, Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin, and it probably affected Sacramone in a completely different way because she is older and she knew this was it for her.
The fact that those Chinese girls were claimed to be 16 was blasphemous, I think their average age was closer to 11. The tiny one looked like she couldn’t have been older than 9. And since 2001 China held them in some kind of camp to live eat and breathe this stuff. Then NBC proceeds to give us some “heart-warming” piece about these kids, the only thing remotely heart-warming about it is that now that they’ve done this, hopefully they can get to have normal lives and little Deng LinLin can go play with her gold medal in a sandbox somewhere.
But hey, silver isn’t bad, and it’s OK Alicia. I still love you.
Lastly I have to take notice of two U.S. teams that are dominating right now. Team USA softball, which hasn’t allowed a hit in their first two games. No wonder they’re cutting the sport. We’re in another world.
Also, Misty May and Kerri Walsh continue to roll. I love beach volleyball for both obvious and not-so-obvious reasons, and these women are just the best at what they do. Looking forward to seeing them stroll through the rest of the games.
That’s it for me. I’ll be back next week with more Olympic opinions, including the disappointing Katie Hoff, more Phelps and men’s basketball.
Oh and Alicia Sacramone, if you’re reading this, call me!