Category Archives: track & field

23 skiddoo and other Olympic tales

Michael Phelps

He turned out to be The Man on the swimming team in London this year, which probably surprised the hell out of Ryan Lochte and others.

His twenty-three Olympic medals overall—19 of them gold—makes Phelps the most decorated Olympian in history.

Other big stories in Olympic swimming include the emergence of two stars who will continue their winning ways in Rio de Janeiro—Missy Franklin, who won four golds and one bronze, and Katie Ladecky, who won gold in the 800m freestyle.

But Michael Phelps won six medals, four gold, one silver and one bronze, making him the standout swimmer of the 2012 Olympics as well as the best all time.

Works for me.

Usain Bolt

People compare his style to Mohammed Ali, but they’re plain wrong. He style is much more like Cassius Clay—funny, animated, clownish, and without a political bone in his body.

He did it. He won the 100m and 200m. Again. And then won the 4X100 relay as anchor. Again.

He was the man in track and field, but someone else had the best performance in one race.

And yeah, he’s probably on something, but I just don’t care. Still the fastest man on the track I’ve seen since Ben Johnson.

David Rudisha

Rudisha (sounds like Rhodesia) smashed the world record in the men’s 800m with a time of 1 minute, 40.91 seconds. Track insiders did not believe they’d ever live to see the 1:41 mark broken, but it looks like they lived long enough after all.

Which brings me to the best double win of the Olympics.

Mo Farah

Won gold in the 10,000m and the 5000m, the first runner to pull off this feat since Finland’s Lasse Viren, who took the gold in both events at the 1972 Munich Olympics and again in 1976 in Montreal.

Would like to see mo’ of Mo, and since he’s only 29, young enough for a distance runner, we might see more of him in Brazil in 2016.

Lolo Jones

I know. She didn’t win anything. But she still was the hottest chick at the Olympics. I’ll give a very close second to Allyson Felix, along with the sexiest voice overall.

Okay, I don’t want to be accused of being sexist. I’ll go with Ryan Lochte for number one male and Usain Bolt a close second.

But if you disagree, that’s okay. What do I know?

Jordan Burroughs

My personal favorite at my old collegiate sport, wrestling. He took the gold, just like he said he would, one of only two golds earned in freestyle for the USA.

Here’s the amazing part—Burroughs won an Olympic gold medal and an NCAA championship, yet he doesn’t have cauliflower ears. How did he pull that off?

Clarissa Chun

Won a bronze medal in women’s wrestling, and I only found out about her accomplishment while I was researching this article. Did you her about Clarissa? Because I didn’t see any coverage of her whatsoever until I went to the NBC website.

Further, there is no coverage of women’s wrestling, weight lifting or boxing at the Olympics On Demand Channel at Time Warner. The only place you can find full coverage of women’s events are at NBColympics.com.

Wait a minute. Didn’t women win the majority of medals in London? And weren’t there more women competitors sent to the Olympics than male competitors?

Yes and yes.

I’m furious. The athletic director at Sonoma State University once asked me why I covered women’s soccer more than men’s football. My answer was simple, concise and right on: “Because the women’s soccer team wins,” I said.

Cover winners, Time Warner. Hell, cover everything.

Commentary that backfired

I forget who said it. I’m pretty sure Dan Patrick was involved, though.

They kept talking about how fit and in shape you need to be if you play water polo. It’s not like baseball, one of them said, where you can hide a fat guy at first base.

When applied to men’s water polo, that appeared to be true. But then the US trotted out the women’s water polo team. The eventual gold medalist women’s water polo team at that.

Okay, then. You can be chubby and play water polo. I guess the key is to be able to float.

In fairness, none of them were first baseman fat (yeah, I’m looking at you Prince Fielder).

Biggest disappointment of the 2012 Olympics

No softball. They cut the sport because the American women always win. And that ain’t right. That’s totally unfair. Who wants a competition where the winners are a fait accompli? No one.

By the way, the gold medal winners in softball at the 2008 Olympcs? Japan.

So much for American dominance.

The second biggest disappointment? Oasis performing Wonderwall at the closing ceremonies. I have tried to live my life in such a well-organized way that it would be impossible for me ever to hear Wonderwall again—or so I thought. The Olympics ruined that for me.

Most impressive person, place or thing at the Olympics

London. Great venue. Best Olympics since Barcelona.

I think Boris the Mayor had something to do with that. He definitely had the greatest quote. When quizzed by a reporter that the UK had done very well in rowing, cycling and equestrian, his quick response was, “Yes, we tend to do well at events where we’re sitting down.”

And even though the opening and closing ceremonies didn’t have the razzle-dazzle of Beijing, they did have something else—Queen (both of them). McCartney, and James Bond.

You can’t top that.-30-

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