Thursday, August 16, 2012
Behind The Scoreboard
Closing out the Games
Well, the Brits have had their stint at staging the best social (athletically?) event of the world (except maybe for the World’s Fair). And while I can only give them a B+ when comparing to the Chinese, for their opening and closing, I have to give them an overall “gold.” I admit to being just a little bit partial since I had the pleasure of visiting the United Kingdom twice. If you have ever been there, then you were probably catching yourself looking hard at certain landmarks to see if there had been any really obtuse changes. There was lots of room for nostalgic tripping.
The task now is to close out the Olympic Games for our readership by hopefully answering all the queries thrown out there about the different events. The trouble is keeping up with all the activities in the different venues and not just keying on the ones which have been already selected as personal favorites. There was at least one non-scientific poll taken and it came out something like this of the events most anticipated by possible viewers – track and field, women’s gymnastics, swimming, beach volleyball, men’s basketball and volleyball.
Space will not allow the justice to be done to all the wonderful athletes who took part in this masterpiece but the USA was more than adequately represented. The women of Team USA basketball won their fifth straight Olympiad and, personally, from what I see, the rest of the world is still about a decade behind the USA in this element. The men, well, not so much. Team USA did get the gold but there were a couple of close shaves. They had two contests in which they didn’t “bust the clock.” And of course their close out game with Spain was a 107-100 victory. Please note that some of the most formidable opponents had NBA superstars on their rosters.
The swimming testimonies stand for themselves. From Phelps to Lochte and Missy Franklin, their exploits will be pointed to time and time again from London to Rio. The Phelps influence will shape the minds of untold numbers of young “aquamen and women.”
The “Fab Five” (no, not the Beetles) left their magnificent time on the British Isle with a new moniker, the Golden Girls. They just fought through any and all obstacles on their way to immortality.
And if anyone needs a blueprint for “going out at the top of one’s game,” look no farther than Misty May-Treanor. May-Treanor announced her retirement from beach volleyball immediately after she and her partner, Kerri Walsh-Jennings, won their third unprecedented gold. The team had just won their 21st game with only one blemish (if one can call it that), a one-set loss earlier in these games. They had two wonderfully tough and thoroughly enjoyable matches against China (22-20/22-20), USA Jenn Kessy and April Ross (21-16/21-18). Jennings has vowed to go, but with whom?
The entire track and field venue was captivated by the USA and Jamaica. First, the women turned in a gold medal performance and the men failed in their quest for gold. You can’t really blame the American contingent. They went up against the juggernaut of track and field anchored by that streak of lightning Usain Bolt. I fully expect to see Bolt in Rio.
When the final medal was tallied and logged according to its particular color, the USA was on top in all categories – 46-29-29 (104). China had challenged hard: 38-27-23 (88). Russia, long a nemesis for all countries logged 24-26-32 (82). The host had 29-17-19 (65).
The 2016 Games will be held for the first time in South America in Rio de Janeiro.
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