Friday, August 22, 2008

Bloggin' Olympic Style

Just shining up my gold medals wondering how Marion Jones is enjoying the track and field competition from the clink.

* It was great to see that Michael Phelps was able to live up to the unbelievably high standard that was set for him. I don't think even the most optimistic fan thought that he would really win all eight gold medals. It brings up two interesting points. (1) Is he the greatest Olympian ever (probably) and (2) will he ever have to be a working stiff like you and I (not a chance. see: Jenner, Bruce or Retton, Mary Lou). The one point I do want to make clear is that he did not necessarily overtake Mark Spitz's accomplishment from the 1972 Munich games. The sport has changed so much since then in terms of fashion (Spitz: Speedo, mop top hair, mustache to Phelps: Razr, cap, goggles, flippers for feet), not to mention the training, nutrition, etc. Let's not compare apples to oranges but appreciate each one's accomplishments for what they are...truly dominating performances in a sport that has evolved 100 fold over the last 36 years.

* I am forever indebted to the person that came up with the sport of beach volleyball. Not so much that my Monday nights are occupied in a summer rec league, but for the scantily clad "uniforms" the female players wear and of course the cheerleaders! This guy gets my vote for president! On a serious note, fans may have been drawn in by the sex appeal but have been able to watch some exceptionally skilled Americans on both the men's and women's side and a new dynamic to an already entertaining sport.

* Thank God, the "Redeem" Team did not lay an egg in '08 like they did in Athens. It seems now that the USA Basketball has finally checked their arrogance at the door and formed an actual team with players that can handle specific roles instead of a bunch of one-dimensional players that can't shoot or play defense if their life depended on it (yes, I am talking to you Allen Iverson and Stephon Marbury). It is just sad that it took us so long to figure out that not only had the rest of the world caught up to us in talent but was kicking our backsides at a game we should have always dominated.

* Bryan Clay won the decathlon becoming the first American man to win the 10-discipline event at the Olympics since 1996. The 2004 Olympic silver medalist and 2005 world champion, Clay finished with 8,791 points defeating Andrei Krauchanka of Belarus who took silver at 8,551. For what is believed to be the true test of athletic greatest with 10 grueling events over two days, I am shocked that Clay's victory is not a major story considering the hype that surrounded the last two American decathlon gold medalists Bruce Jenner in 1976 (woo hoo, two Jenner references in one blog...that deserves a medal) and Dan O'Brien at Atlanta in 1996. Jenner's victory was so big he parlayed that into numerous endorsements, an acting career and later in life an interview with me (Ok, so 2 out 3 isn't bad) and who could forget the famous Dan & Dave Reebok campaign for the Barcelona games in 1992 with hopes that Dan O'Brien and Dave Johnson could finish gold and silver in the Olympics. Johnson won bronze in '92 while O'Brien failed to qualify only to redeem himself four years later. So, the question remains, is there any room for Clay on the Mount Rushmore of Beijing Olympic greatness next to the eight sculptures of Phelps?