Thursday, July 26, 2012
Behind The Scoreboard
Ready for Olympics
While yours truly was basking in sun and surf on Dauphin Island last week, things were heating up on all fronts from Colorado to England. Countries, following the legendary and iconic torch, were making their way to the newly-designed Olympic Village in London, England, in anticipation of the grand opening this weekend.
There has been no official poll (that I am aware of), but the sentiment on the street seems to run to basketball, track and field and women’s gymnastics as the venues and events which more than likely capture most of the attention. By all accounts, the girls have assembled their own “Queen Dream Team” in gymnastics fueled by a quintuplet of capable – Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber, McKayla Maroney, Kayla Ross and Aly Raisman. If completely successful, the young ladies could be the all around “Gold Team” from the USA since 1996. The team has already displayed a sampling of the abilities and courage of the 2008 team which was led by Shawn Johnson. There was a collective and heartfelt moan all across the USA when Johnson took herself out of contention for these games.
Raisman is picked to lead in balance beam; Wieber is a favorite in the floor exercise; Maroney is master of the vault; Douglas is extremely capable on the uneven bars, as is Kala Ross and other members of the squad. They will not only be competing against the world but will be competing against and challenging each other.
In the track and field venue, there is much speculation that Usain Bolt of Jamaica will be beaten in both the 100 and 200 meters, not by an American, or any other country but by his own teammate. I cannot ascribe to that prediction. I personally feel Bolt was simply allowing his countryman to have his “15 minutes of fame” in the trials. I am aware that Bolt stated that in the 200 he was distracted by movement in the blocks prior to the gun.
The USA men’s team has been bouncing all over the globe in their warm-ups, starting with an exhibition in D.C. against Team Brazil which was played in front of the president and vice president. They had a modicum of trouble in putting away the Brazilians but picked up their game for the next couple of games. They went back to Barcelona last week and had a mild threat from another South America team (Argentina). They won by six points (86-80). Rather than pointing to the close game as a vulnerability, team members said they needed the close contest to make the squad more “together.”
The USA team wore throwback uniforms, with a CD patch honoring Coach Daly, who led the original Dream Team to the historic win exactly 20 years ago in Barcelona.
I don’t think the USA fans have any cause for worry about basketball or any other Olympic contest, with exception of handball, badminton and table tennis. Team USA has won more medals in history than any other country, but they have never won gold in any of the three sports just mentioned.
In such happy times, the Olympic spirit was dampened by the horrible occurrence in Aurora, Colorado, on Thursday night. Certainly our hearts and thoughts go out to the many who were directly, and indirectly, affected by this senseless act.
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