Thursday, August 4, 2016

Olympic fever!

Every 4 years while I'm deep in the PTDS (Post Tour Depression Syndrome) along comes an event that yanks me out of my funk. Yes, I'm talking about the SUMMER OLYMPICS! And it's THAT TIME again!

Tomorrow is the opening ceremony, where the world watches in wonder, anticipating the upcoming competitions where we see many of the worlds finest athletes go at it, all hoping for a shot at one of the shiny hunks of medal on a ribbon. That, and WORLD FAME FOREVER. You can't take away an Olympic medal!

Well, technically that's not true... as they've done it before. Didn't Tytler Hamilton have to send his medal back in after he was exposed as a doper? And some notable track and field winners were pulled from the record-books, sending THEIR medals back in also. So yes, they CAN take away your medal years after you've won it, if they find out you cheated. Or belonged to the Russian Olympic team (same thing). Well, that's not totally fair...I have to assume many of the Russian competitors didn't cheat at all....unless they're now doping in sports like shooting, and equestrian (well, maybe the horses are)...and knitting, and thumb-wrestling, and garden-hoeing, and kite-flying, and my favorite: checkbook-balancing (who does that anymore? It's surely a forgotten art!). All I'm saying is there are a lot of events where doping won't really help, so I hope they aren't wasting money checking them (kind of like TSA checking the 98 year old lady in a wheelchair going thru airport security...I'm pretty sure we can rule her out as a terrorist without compromising security one teensy bit...but that's just me...obviously the TSA doesn't see it like that).

But I digress....they SHOULD be testing all the physical strength/speed events Yep...all of them are suspect. HGH, steroids, EPO...yep....all the same stuff the cyclists used (and still do??), which seemed to work pretty well actually, are certainly still suspect. So the entire Russian Track and Field contingent have been banned...that's really something! I haven't heard if any other of their athletes were banned by their federations, have you?

Anyway...tomorrow (well, technically the other day if you're a soccer fan) the GAMES BEGIN! I kept my NBCSports Network package so I HOPE to have some extra coverage I wouldn't have had otherwise...hope it's worth it! There's certainly a LOT of events to choose from...I've said it before and I'll say it again: too bad we can't choose exactly what events to watch and just get this digital day and age, why can't we? WHY do I have to watch many hours of broadcast to catch snippets of the one event I'm interested in during that broadcast? Why can't they just film EVERYTHING, and put it together in your package? You should be able to just go down the list and pick the events/sports you want, and viola...there they are, streaming to your TV, or tablet, or phone, or VR goggles, or your cars HUD (Heads UP Display)...or onto your video enhanced contact lenses. I mean, we were promised JET PACKS and FLYING CARS by the year 2000! Where are they?? I never got mine, did you get yours?? Did I miss that memo of when they were being handed out?

Oh well...I'll have to suffer thru a zillion hours of broadcasting to weed out the events I WANT to see. Hopefully the games go off safely, and not too many people come back with Zika virus (Jeannie is down in Florida right now...girls holiday down in Palm Beach...but she's one of the lucky ones...mosquitoes don't care for her...if I were there I'd be in HUGE trouble tho...they LOVE me!).

And so....tomorrow they light the torch and officially celebrate the opening of the games. I have to admit I get goose-bumps at the Olympic theme...gets me EVERY TIME! Can't possibly imagine what it's like to be an athlete...what an honor to make the team! Good luck to all, do your best and you have nothing to feel sorry or ashamed about no matter the medals.

Oh, and speaking of someone doing their best, do you remember Eddie the Eagle? The UK Ski-jumper from seemingly OH-SO-LONG ago? The guy who was being out-jumped by all the other jumpers by about 50% on every jump? The regular guy (NOT a ski-jumper) who still had the guts to go up the mountain, slide on out there on that little board, dangling over the stupid-steep ramp with those 2 single ski-tracks going downdowndowndown with those ginormous skii's on, and then actually slide off that little board and go zooming down the ramp to possible death and then fly off the edge come-what-may, and somehow land without killing himself, over and over again, never jumping very far but earning the respect of the world each time we went down that ramp? Well, they've made a movie about him, and my bro Greg saw it, said it was FANTASTIC! I don't even know the name of it, but can't wait to see it! I LOVED that guy! What a hero!!

So....I'll end this post with that thought...who will the 'heros' be from this Olympics? Who will show crazy spirit and bravery and motivate the world? You don't have to win a medal to do that. I DO wish the news EVERY SINGLE NIGHT wouldn't have "the medal count" seems to cheapen the games, as if THAT is all that counts. Every single athlete that competes is a winner in my book...why can't the world look at it like THAT? Yes, I'm a dreamer.

Games ON!



  1. Hey Matt - I'm so sorry I didn't get here to chat about the Tour. I tried. Maybe after the OH-lympics. I can't wait! And will get NO sleep the next 2 weeks!

    BTW, you CAN watch almost EVERYTHING LIVE either on one of the many TV channels or online on NBC's Olympics site. I got to see online (here at 'work' after 4:30) the USA women gymnasts do their "podium training" yesterday. And I plan to watch the women's team competition next Tuesday LIVE online starting at 3pm as NBC won't show coverage on TV till primetime & it will be taped then.

    The various TV channels are : NBC, NBC-SN, USA, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, & Telemundo. I think that's all of them. Various Olympic events will be shown LIVE & taped on those channels almost 24-7. I'll be flipping back & forth constantly. I'm taking some vacation time to watch more on TV (next Thursday all day & maybe some half-days the 2nd week).

    Have you seen the NBC Olympic promo 'SALUTE' featuring many of Team USA's women athletes? It got be misty-eyed already! It's AWESOME!

    Gotta scoot. Have a GREAT TIME this weekend & hopefully we can chat/critique next week! :)

  2. Rae here!

    Well you know that my sport-love is cycling, and almost only cycling (I will watch and enjoy gymnastics and fencing though) and I have been quite put out at all the stories about returning USA Olympians that make no mention of Kristin Armstrong! Is it because she is a cyclist? Not favored to win, but still, she has been doing well in her return from retirement. What a story if she wins the time trial again!

    I tried to watch the men's road race yesterday on the NBC livestream but it kept stalling and kicking me out, when I could get in at all -- so I ended up watching via a link cyclinghub. Not sure who the commentators were, but clearly British. What a great race, I hope you got to see it! and I am happy with the winner, well deserved, but too bad it came at the expense of Nibali's & Henao's crash. I didn't expect much from the American team, but Brent Bookwalter's finish was a respectable placing.

    Now I am looking forward to the ITT's: Fabian's last, Phinney's shot, I read that Chris Froome is targeting this as well. Then I really want to see how Peter Sagan does in the mountain biking. I already spent too much time watching the TdF but can't tear myself away from the Olympics!

    With the Olympics starting I didn't pay much attention to the Tour of Utah this year although I did watch one stage via the tourtracker; Lachlan Morton won, dislodging Andrew Talansky on the final climb. Two old veterans were there, of course Chris Horner who seems to be fading into the woodwork with his obscure team, and surprisingly Damiano Cunego (remember him?)was there with his Italian team.

    Today the livestream worked for the women's road race, and it was another cracker of a race, although heartbreaking on two counts -- first the horrible crash of Annemiek Van Vleuten (praying that she is all right, they say she was conscious in the ambulance but "in shock" which could just mean stunned or could mean life-threatening cardiovascular collapse), then the catch of Mara Abbott only 150 meters or so from the finish. The time she lost in her cautious descent of the last slope cost her the gold but on the other hand, she didn't crash. Having the USA place 3 riders in the top 12 is a great accomplishment (4th, 11th and 12th)against powerhouses like Italy, Germany, Britain and the Netherlands but sadly will get no respect from the general public here.

  3. Hey Rae...glad you are back! It's been just me and Susie for seemingly a while now...anybody else out there??

    OK...OLYMPICS! OMG! I was just watching the finish of the women's road race, and my DVR recording CUT OUT with ONLY 4k to go! Glad you talked about the finish Rae...I was DYING (was just about to head over to Velo News, which I will do tomorrow at work)! And HOLY CRAP, that crash of the Dutch rider who was leading the race, I was afraid she might have been DEAD or have a broken back...she was flung up in the air and then hit that wicked concrete block-ditch with her back (or so it looked to me), and then wasn't looked HORRIBLE! We'll all be waiting with baited-breath to hear how she heartbreak for sure, looking on track for a gold medal, and then THAT! (and look at Nibbles who I was really rooting for...broken collar bone in 2 places...he was in the same situation, only likely not hurt as bad).

    I've been watching as much as I can all weekend, honestly, I'm in total overload...started yesteday morning with Virginia Thresher (sp) in air rifle, winning gold...(I shoot some, so all the shooting/archery are stuff I like to watch). She was just amazing! So calm and cool...hitting the center of a tiny little hole from 10 meters over and over...blows my mind the control it takes! Then we had the mens road race...which was pretty wicked/awesome...those descents (where the Dutch rider crashed) were scary! I kept looking at that concrete block ditch thinking about how terrified I'd be if I were descending (and I'm a very timid descender)...anybody hear how Richie Porte is from his crash?

    Then all the swimming...also love that (I swam all 4 years of HS)...the Americans are KILLING IT! And then volleyball (I played a LOT of volleyball, sand doubles and indoor 6's)...the sport has progressed SO FAR since I played (like all the sports I've done/do, I'm PURE amateur-hour...a true jack of all sports, master of NONE). But I DO love the volleyball. Gosh, it just doesn't seem that long ago I was watching the American men led by Karch Kiraly, and here he is COACHING the womens indoor! Good for him...he was FANTASTIC! (and I saw him play pro-beach doubles in Hawaii oh so long ago). I'm anxious to see the mens team play.

    And then the Gymnastics...again, OVERLOAD!!! The men sure had problems with the Pommel it's HAUNTED or something! Somebody get a priest, it's possessed, or jinxed...maybe a voodoo curse or something on it!

    And so...just WOW! SO MUCH to see, so little time! My mind is officially blown with the 2 days of coverage thus far. And we haven't even started any of the track and field events yet! Poof...there goes my brain!

    And CRAP...back to work tomorrow.

  4. Rae here!

    I've tried the past 2 evenings to watch the tape-delay broadcast of the men's and women's gymnastics but just CAN NOT stay awake until midnight. I have found, though that if I go to the livestream page, there are replays available. I will have to use that for the gymnastics and also to catch up on this afternoon's events (more men's gymnastics). Tomorrow is the start of track events, and I do want to see the events with Cav and Wiggins, also the USA women compete in team pursuit -- after seeing that film last year (Personal Gold) about the silver winning 2012 team, so inspiring! It is a good thing that I have the whole week off, until Sunday!

    Well I won't reveal the results in case SusieB and Matt are going to watch later, but all I can say about today's time trials is WOOOO-HOOOO!!!!!

  5. BTW that film, Personal Gold, is available on Netflix and ITunes now (and some other platforms) -- I really do recommend it!

  6. Hey Rae...appreciate you not spilling the beans about the ITT today...I'll watch it tonight (likely some serous fast-forwarding, it is a time-trial after all). I have SO MUCH recorded on the DVR, I'm losing ground every day. LOVED to see Michael Phelps win the 200 fly last night! And the King girl beating the Russian doper...and I ABSOULTLY LOVED watching her stare-down the cheat (Efimova?) while they were waiting to get up onto the blocks...she (cheater girl) never looked at her. It's only too bad she took the Silver, would have liked the other American girl to have gotten that. Gotta much to do, so little time.

  7. WOW! I just caught up with YESTERDAY'S excitement (had to skip my fast Weds night road ride to do it). So much happened I had to take NOTES! First we had swimming: Michael Phelps winning the 200 fly, then Katie Ledeckey wining the 200 free, then Michael Phelps and the Americans winning the 4x200 free relay. Also of note: the American Josh Prenot (from my little town of Santa Maria) WON his semifinal heat of 200 breast! GO JOSH!!!

    Then I watched the US Ladies Gymnastics and they flat CRUSHED it! They were simply FANTASTIC! "The Final Five" as they call Mrs. Karoli steps down from US Gymnastics...boy have the Karoli's been a dynasty!

    Then we have cycling...and HOW ABOUT KRISTEN ARMSTRONG!!! Retiring TWICE, coming back TWICE, and winning GOLD THREE TIMES!!! And this one as she turns 43 years old TOMORROW!!! What a tenacious and driven women to accomplish THAT! Way to go KRISTEN!!!

    And then the mens turn...Brent Bookwater crashing in the first 200 meters! Not hurt except for his pride, and his broken jersey hanging wide open the entire ride. But he got up and finished, and that's what it's about. And speaking of Olympic pride, how about Dan from Nambia! 1st rider out (last placed) riding it on a whim on a road bike with ZERO aero gear! And his time was quite respectable too!

    Then we had Taylor Phinney...who is quite honestly lucky to be WALKING, let-alone RACING a bike! He was over 5 minutes down, in something like 20th place or so...but hey...he RODE! Just wait till 2020!

    Then we had the medalists..Froomey winning the Bronze, Tom Dumolin (who crashed out of the Tour, has broken bones in his hand) won the Silver, and FABIAN FABIAN FABIAN pulled off the biggest win of his career (IMO) and won the gold! He's 35 years old, and also won Gold back in 2008, and crashed out in the road race in 2012, or MABYE this would be his third, instead of ONLY his 2nd Olympic Gold! And WHAT A WAY TO RETIRE!!! Fabain, YOU ARE THE MAN! I've been rooting for him to pull off some big wins all year, and OH MY does this count! Talk about going out in STYLE!!! There's no replacing Spartacus, that's for sure! I wonder what he will do least we get to see and hear Jensie during the big race coverage...what will Fabian do now? I am SO HAPPY for him to have won this race!

    And then...JUST HAPPENED (Weds night), Kari Walsh/Jennings and her partner April Ross in Women's Beach Volleyball survived their last match and move on!

    But WAIT! There's MORE! As I was typing about Walsh/Ross, Josh Prenot swam in the 200 breast final, and took SILVER!!!! OMG!!

    Man, I am DRAINED!!! The Olympics are going to KILL ME! I need to get some sleep!

    And so....that's all for now from the Santa Maria Olympics blogquarters.

    Good night!

  8. On the news this morning I saw that after I went to bed last night, Katie Ledeckey and the American women WON the 4x200 free relay! Way to go ladies!!!! In about 12 more years, we'll be saying (about any new ladies swimming sensation) that "she's the new Katie Ledeckey"! She is just FANTASTIC!!

  9. "The Olympics are going to KILL ME!" AMEN, Matt! I am exhausted! But THRILLED to pieces at the same time! MICHAEL FREAKIN PHELPS! LEGENDARY LEDECKY! THE FINAL FIVE! SIMONE BILES & ALY RAISMAN!

    I guess the last time I screamed & cried this much was London 2012! It's FABULOUS! (Except for the execrable Ryan Seacrest on the Late Night show. ^$%$!#%^. Why, NBC, WHY???!!)

    And, ahem, both the GOAT (Phelps) & Katie Ledecky are from my neck of the woods. Britannia may rule the waves but MARYLAND rules the pool! :) :)

    I swear, if you watched the men's 200 IM last night & on the last leg, there goes Michael shooting off like a rocket so that he's soon 2 (TWO!) body lengths ahead of EVERYONE else in the pool, did you not join me in screaming - "MICHAEL FREAKIN PHELPS!!"? It was just AWESOME! It's like it's 2008 all over again! Is it totally selfish of me to hope baby Boomer takes after his old man? Hmmm?

    And WHOO-HOO for Spartacus! I wasn't able to see the TT, but heard/read about it. Way to end a career! (Hey, anybody read what Fabian plans to do next? Will he stay in cycling?)

    I saw the Gold medal Rugby match last night & even though I know bubpkis about this sport, I was rooting for Fiji. Way to go, Fijians (?)!

    And happy to hear you're loving it all too, Rae. :)

    Alrighty, gotta get back to work. Keep watching & chatting! :) :)