Sunday, August 24, 2008

Olympics Round-up

Feeling Jipped: Turns out coaches don't receive medals at the Olympics. Which I guess I can kind of understand for the more individual sports, like track & field or swimming, but for team sports the rule isn't exactly ... well-thought out. Mike Krzyzewski deserves a fair amount of credit for Team USA winning gold in men's basketball, and he deserves his own gold medal to go along with it. The team put each of its medals around his neck, which made for a nice moment, but the fact remains: the likes of Coach K and men's volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon deserve medals for their teams' achievements.

Like Lightning: If Michael Phelps was the king of the first week in Beijing, Jamaican track star Usain Bolt was king of the second week. The only man to sweep the 100- and 200-meter dash with world record time -- and winning the 4x100-meter relay in world-record time as an oh-by-the-way -- Bolt showed a flair and exuberance not seen in track & field for some time. Say what you want about his attitude (and plenty have), but Bolt is a magnificent athlete.

Back on Track: Reports of Team USA's track & field demise were greatly exaggerated. Yes, both relay teams dropped the baton in the 4x100 and there were probably a few events with no medals where there should've been, but between a sweep of the 4x400 relays, a sweep of the podium in the men's 400 meters and Bryan Clay's gold in the decathlon, it wasn't all bad for the Red, White and Blue at the Bird's Nest.

Just a Number: Do we really expect the controversy surrounding the age of the Chinese women's gymnastics party to be resolved? As traditionally tight-lipped as China's government is, I don't see it being forthcoming with the IOC. Minimum age is 16, and five of China's six gymnasts were suspected of being below that limit. On the off chance it was proven, China would've been stripped of its medals -- including team gold. But as careful and protective of information as China is, I don't see this being resolved any time soon, if at all.

Long Time Gone: Angel Matos of Cuba might never be an Olympian again, and it's just what he deserves. After being disqualified in his bronze-medal taekwondo match, Matos deliberately kicked a referee in the face. The World Taekwondo Federation recommended Matos and his coach be banned for life, calling what he did "an insult to the Olympic vision." I happen to agree.

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