Thursday, August 21, 2008
Behind The Scoreboard
New rival for U.S. in Olympics
Once upon a time the rivalry in the Olympics was the U.S. versus Germany, then everyone else; then for decades after World War II it was U.S. versus Russia and then everyone else. Invariably, the U.S. sometimes beat back these challenges and now they have a whole new enemy in these games. It is China and the U.S. going head to head.
The Peoples Republic of China is proving to be a most formidable adversary in this 29th Olympiad. While the U.S. is leading in total hardware earned, the Chinese are leading the race for gold and just a few back in silver.
Track and field, which has always been one of my favorites, has been a bit disappointing. Verily, I had thought Tyson Gay would be a sure medalist for the U.S. He had an injury that clearly demoted his performance, but after seeing the Jamaican lighting bolt which (or better yet, who), struck the 100 M’s, I am not sure that even the wind could have beaten Usain Bolt. To cap that, on Sunday, his countrywoman blew away her competition in the same event. Shelly-Ann Fraser made it a sweep. A feat which has never been achieved before. This was a first for Jamaica. The Island had never won in the 100 M’s.
Basketball was finally shown at a decent hour. The men, who have been dubbed the “Redeem Team” for these outings, have looked invincible thus far in wading through opponents. They go into the quarters 3-0. Likewise Ann Donovan’s ladies have been burning villages also. They have made it known that they are chasing a fourth gold, a feat which has never been attained by a women’s team.
We have been thoroughly entertained by the volleyball contests, on the beach and off. However, if you collect all the stories in these games and meshed them all together, they would still be overshadowed by the exploits of one Olympian.
One could probably use up all the adjectives in the Thesaurus and they would all fit Michael Phelps’ accomplishments. Phelps has been Horatio at the Bridge; he has been Paul Revere. Way back when the New York Mets won the World Series, writers dropped the ‘A’ from “amazing” and started saying those ’Mazing Mets. We now have a ’Mazing Mike.
You probably won’t see this in a dictionary anytime soon but I am coining a new phrase – Phelps Phever. Like a malady, this Phever has been a contagion, touching everybody, everywhere. Not just other Olympians, but the whole world.
It took 112 years for this feat of eight Golds in one Olympics to take place; chances are it won’t happen again in another century.
To end with jargon strictly American, “Mike, you are the MAN!”
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