Monday, August 11, 2008
This is why I heart the Olympics...
Last night had some seriously awesome Olympic action, didn’t it? If you don’t believe me, ask my upstairs neighbors, who got an earful and maybe a slight earth-shake after Michael Phelps and Co. defeated the French in the 4 x 100 m freestyle relay.
I mean, GAWD, it couldn’t have been more dramatic if it were a movie! There was so much at stake… The US team was not the clear favorite to win. The French team had been talking some serious smack. Michael Phelps needed to win this race if his dream of winning 8 golds in one Games was to come true. The US hadn’t won this race since 1996.
And then, the US was behind on the final leg. Bernard, the French dude talking all that trash, was tearing through the water at a rate significantly faster than the world record, and Jason Lezak, the US anchor, was a full body length behind at the final turn. And then, in the last 50 meters, Lezak crept up on the Frenchman, but not catching up until the very last possible second with about 10 meters left to go. And Lezak STRETCHED, and the French dude tightened up, and OH MY GOD!!!
I got so excited; I hit my head on the ceiling fan. And then I screamed a little bit. For 10 minutes.
My poor neighbors.
Women’s gymnastics thoughts, after the jump…
Meanwhile, the ladies of the US gymnastics team started their competition with an audible thud (I believe it was an ass-on-mat thud, to be specific) and, you know, this is just not good for my heart condition. Shawn Johnson was the only member of the team who delivered consistently good routines on each apparatus, while the others showed clear weaknesses (read: bombed). To be fair, they were under a little pressure. As I understand it, five girls compete in each round during the qualifiers, and the lowest score is dropped. Well, the 5th girl had to drop out of most of the rounds because of an ankle injury, meaning the other four had to make each routine count. It didn’t help that Chellsie Memmel (and seriously, one day I trust the world will agree on a good way to spell Chelsie because it’s getting ridiculous… I mean, 2 L’s?? C’moooon…) fell off the uneven bars, which was the only event she could participate in thanks to a bum ankle. After that fall, she certainly won’t qualify for the individual medal on that apparatus, so… she’s kind of just chilling out on the sidelines from here on out. Excuse me, but where are the alternates? Isn’t it funny how I pretend like I know anything about gymnastics? Well, I’m just getting started – I can talk out of my ass like this for days! It would seem that these teams are built with specializations in mind, like… this girl is the vault queen, and that girl has the wicked dismounts on the beam, and so on… but they seem to forget: if this girl or that girl blows it on the big day, where does that leave the team? In second place to the Chinese, that’s where!
Despite all that, the girls succeeded in qualifying for the finals in second place behind the Chinese. I have a feeling that if the US girls can get their acts together and do their best, they can count on the pressure forcing some of the Chinese girls to fold, opening up some windows of opportunity. Based on the qualifying performances and the unpredictable judging (let’s be honest, this new scoring system is whack), I doubt the US can pull off an upset, but they could get close, which will be fun to watch.