Sunday, August 21, 2016

Rio 2016, final days and final thoughts.

I'm hanging in there in my viewing, staying roughly a half to 3/4 day behind. But I'm mostly clearing the DVR every day before I go to bed. Mostly. This weekend is the last I just needed to HANG IN THERE! And so...away we go!

Womens water polo (from Saturday). GOLD!!! The maidens of the water were FANTASTIC (again) in the Olympics...trailing by points a GRAND TOTAL (all matches combined) of 44 seconds! This Olympics started off a bit sad as the coach's brother died just before the start of the games, so he flew back to the US for that, and then flew back to immediately do his job with the water-women. And do it he did. After the gold medal ceremony the players lined up one by one and put their medals on him until the entire teams gold medals were hanging from his neck, each getting a giant hug before the next girl comes in. It was a fantastic heartfelt celebration from a team who adores their coach (and immediately after the final whistle blew they threw him in the water, kind of like a super-gatorade dunk..which was also very cool).

Then there was the Olympic Handball.        JUST. CAN'T. GET. INTO. IT.       And I tried. Of all the games, it just seems like a bunch of grown men running around trying to throw a ball into a net with a bunch of other guys trying to stop him, but no tackling is allowed. Wait. That's EXACTLY what the game is.

And THEN, there is Rythmic Gymnastics.       AHEM. ANOTHER. SPORT. I. CAN'T. FOLLOW.     This of all the events just seems like they took a bunch of Cirque de Sol performers from Vegas and have them throw sticks and hoops around doing yes, some incredible things...but HOW ON EARTH DO THEY JUDGE IT?? Synchronized Swimming is RIGHT BEHIND IT IN MY DISINTEREST. But at least w/ SS, you can see when things are good and when things are bad. You know, out of sync, stuff like that.

Then I watched the entire (well, mostly) womens MTB race. I liked the course...there was obviously some high-speed areas and then some rather technical areas (read that: potential to crash and get hurt) using LOTS of big rocks. The American women were nowhere to be seen, but it was quite a race in front between Sweden and Poland for 1/2, and Canadians bringing up 3 and 4. (note: this was another case of  NBC dropping the ball and my recording stopped...but THANKFULLY I was able to find the late-night rebroadcast and I got that, and was able to watch the REST of the race early this morning).

Then we had Soccer. Yes, it's the worlds most popular sport. And NO, I just don't get it. I mean, I get it...but I don't GET it.  It's SO BORING. SSSSSOOOOOOOO BBBBOOOORRRRIIINNNNGGGG. Case in point: the mens Gold medal match between Germany and Brazil. 120 minutes with a TOTAL of 2 goals scored (that time included the overtime period). But WAIT! After 120 minutes of snoozing while a bunch of guys run around a GINORMOUS grass field, suddenly we have a SHOOTOUT! And JUST AS SUDDENLY, it was VERY EXCITING! And it stayed EXCITING as man after man MADE THEIR SHOT! And just like that, all 8 men had scored, and THEN it went to SUDDEN DEATH! Each team got 1 kick, and if only 1 of those score it's over. And if they both score, or neither score, then they do it again, and again (and again...if necessary). And JUST LIKE THAT, the Brazilian goalie BLOCKED the Germans 1st attempt, and with an entire stadium of Brazilian Fans going CRAZY, the Brazilian MADE HIS SHOT! GAME OVER! Brazil had WON THE GOLD!

Who knew soccer could be SO EXCITING???

Whew...after a break to get my heartrate down and get my breathing under control, we go into the Mens 1500m race. Matthew Centrowitz from the US PULLS IT OUT and WINS!! That was a bunch of rather boring laps, followed by a REALLY EXCITING ONE! Kind of like a very short soccer game actually! And that gold in the 1500 was the FIRST for the US since 1908! I'd call that a pretty HUGE DROUGHT! Way to go MATTHEW!!! Drought-Killer!!

Then the womens 800m, which was won pretty handily by South Africa's Caster Semenya (uhm, er...yeah....THAT was a WOMAN?? Are you FREAKING KIDDING ME?? Sorry...I call BS here. Waiter, DNA Check PLEASE, lane 2. Yes, I'll wait. NOW, while we wait for Caster's DNA results, we have the mens 5000m. Yeah...right....more soccer comparisons here for SURE. But it did get exciting in the last lap, much like the 1500. And Farah wins it (I forget which country he's from...sorry Farah), but wait! Paul Chelimo from the US takes the SILVER! We haven't had ANY medals whatsoever in this race since 1964, way to go PAUL!

BUT WAIT! Chelimo is DQ'D (DisQualified)!!! Apparently he stepped out of bounds, OR he interfered with another runner (when he was trying to get out of the box they had him in)..we don't know why, just that he's OUT. Instant replay did show he sort of touched the inside line with one step (I wasn't aware that merited a DQ honestly), and as to the interference, hmmm...that is a serious case of 'judgment call'. And there were other DQ's too, so NOW, suddenly Bernard Lagut (also from the US) GETS THE BRONZE!!! HOLY COW! What a shocker! He came in like 6th I think!

BUT WAIT AGAIN! Chelimo protested his DQ and it's rescinded! So CHELIMO AGAIN GETS THE BRONZE, and poor Bernard is out with 4th! Damn, that must hurt Bernard! Talk about rags to riches to rags!

WOW! I've never seen any Track and Field event  that was SO BORING become SO EXCITING! And this all AFTER THE FINISH! Good golly gosh...I'm hyperventilating again! Good thing I don't have any heart conditions or anything....otherwise the soccer match and the 5000m would have done me in!

And now....(remember what TJ said...breath...breath)...the womens 4x400m relay. Thankfully there was no interference or baton drop like in the 4x100, and the US ladies easily win their 6th straight gold (thank goodness, don't think I could take more excitement just now!)

And then...womens basketball. big surprise here, the US win it with only 3 players on the court at any one time, and one of them with 1 arm tied behind her back (just kidding, but it seems like they might have been able to do least it would have made it exciting). I don't think any other country has ever won the womens basketball...but do any other countries really PLAY womens basketball? I mean, we have it in college here, and there is a PRO league...kid of hard for other countries to compete with that. Sure, a few of their players obviously went to college here, thus they have 1 or 2 players.The rest, well..they try hard. Which is what the Olympics SHOULD be about. Eddie the Eagle, remember??

Then the announcers talked some about Usain Bolt from Jamaica. He's now won the 100m, 200m and anchored the winning 4x100m relay in three consecutive Olympics. Never been done before, might never be done again. Nobody can say he isn't a pretty amazing sprinter, that's for SURE! And he's got CHARISMA too. His pointing-pose after his wins are pretty great actually! And he claims he's retiring now...the world will miss that pose for sure! Well done Usain!! Thanks for the memories!

Up next in my video viewing marathon was Mens platform diving. Yep...that's TEN METERS ABOVE THE WATER!  Have you ever gone up a 10m platform and looked DOWN at the water? Climbing up seems pretty high, but looking DOWN at the water seems WAY WAY WAY THE HELL UP THERE! Like TERRIFYINGLY HIGH! And they LEAP off the edge and DO STUFF! ON PURPOSE!! Obviously the platform divers are INSANE!! Have you ever belly-flopped (or back-flopped) just jumping in from pool level? Or even worse, off the 1m board? YEOWWWCHHHHH! THAT HURTS! Amplify that by 10! (anybody remember that one reverse dive the FANTASTIC AMAZING ALL-TIME-GREAT Greg Lougains did when he smacked the back of his head on the platform, and was knocked out instantly and fell straight back into the water, landing in a TOTAL BACK-FLOP?? Can you imagine when he woke up what THAT felt like? I mean, besides the INCREDIBLE HEADACHE??

Anyway..(sorry, sort of got carried away there with the sheer TERROR of jumping off a 10m platform)..the divers (this was the semifinal btw). We had TWO Americans in it! And there were 2 Chinese guys (big surprise there). And some other guys. But our 2 were doing ok, and then not so ok, then ok again...back and forth, as they slid down the list of 18 divers, until finally on the LAST ROUND, David Boudia did a good enough dive to overtake the other American Steel Johnson (great name for a 10m diver btw...Steele...I like it!). Boudia took 12th place, Steele was in 13th. Only the top 12 divers go to the final. OUCH! But Steele wasn't alone...Great Brittain's Tom Daly did NOT make the final either! (and he was expected to medal). That was a HUGE BLOW to GB's diving expectations for sure! And I think one of the 2 Chinese guys also didn't make it (THAT was a huge blow too...he's probably going to get tortured when he goes home). So in the final, well...what can you say...those Chinese guys (and girls) must have some super-secret formula of stuff they put on their bodies to NOT make a splash...they just zip on into the water with a little "sploosh" and that's it. Seems highly suspicious to me. And Chen Aisea (the remaining Chinese guy) was FANTASTIC as usual, with his collective splashes of all 6 dives being almost as much as any one dive from most of the rest. But Boudia was in 2nd and had moved his 'problem' dive to his last. He got ok scores, even though he did it better than in previous rounds...but then another stick-guy from Mexico goes and rips his landing...and viola...rips into 2nd, and Boudia now has Bronze. But wait, Boudia gets BRONZE!!! OMG, That's FREAKING FANTASTIC!!! And to find out it's Boudia's 4th overall medal...(he also took silver here in Rio in the Synchronized diving, his partner was the guy he beat out going into the final round). He also has 2 medals from London. WAY TO GO DAVID!!! (Did I mention that the 10m diving is pretty exciting? Sure, it's 1/2 of a second of death-defying excitement, followed by a few minutes of no activity whatesoever, except for some showering and hot-tubbing and such...kind of like US Football, if you take away the showering and hot-tubbing and replace it with a bunch of guys standing around).

And FINALLY! Yes...that ended the Saturday events! So NOW I'm into the FINAL DAY's EVENTS! That leads off with the long awaited Mens MTB race! (I made darn sure my DVR was going to record WAY PAST the end of this event too). There were 49 riders, and their placement on the starting line is according to their World Tour placement! UHM...So, Peter Sagan, the CURRENT Mens ROAD CHAMPION OF THE WORLD, is ranked down at something like 9,786th (just a wild guess)...considering that he DOESN'T RACE MOUNTAIN BIKES! So yep...his place is DEAD LAST! And all week the pro MTB'ers have been joking around and such, basically showing they have no respect for him and he won't be a threat. Pretty smug. I don't think they've ever watched the Tour de France in the last few years. Or any of the Spring Classics. To them, he's just a guy with a man-bun who speaks kind of (ok, I'm being kind here) funny. But if you're a guy who rides a bike, I don't think he's a guy you want to poke. That would be like a boxer poking Rocky, or a Sheriff poking Rambo, or a bad guy poking get the picture. He's just not the guy to poke, I think my point is well made.

And so....they're off. Instantly off the front the top 4 or 5 guys are there, and they ride around some turns and stuff, and before you can say "don't poke me", HE'S THERE! He has just passed FORTY SIX of the best mountain bikers in the WORLD! And he's SITTING IN THIRD PLACE!!! OMG, I was beside myself! And I can only guess that the guys who were poking him all week (you know, the 2 guys in front of him, and the 46 now BEHIND him) were SHITTING themselves!! (sorry for the profanity on my typically G rated blog, but YES, I was THAT EXCITED!) And THERE he sat, looking pretty comfortable in third, with the smell of doo-dah in the air all around him (just guessing there, but how could they NOT?) And there was NO VIDEO of that MOST IMPRESSIVE FEAT! I'd LOVE to see some...he must have been a MAD MAN...because it wasn't a few minutes and THERE HE WAS! I guarantee you the top guys figured he'd NEVER make it to the front before they pressed out a lead. Never in a million-gazillion years did they believe he'd be ON THEIR ASS in less than HALF of the FIRST LAP (of 7).

So now...sure, they're all riding much lighter now (after crapping themselves repeatedly)...and they go to a commercial break, and when they come back (this before the end of the FIRST lap), he's gone. Apparently he had a flat front tire. And you know what? On this 3 mile loop, there's only ONE PLACE to get stuff like that! SO... if you flat out on the course, you get to ride your flatted tire (OR you can also carry it) to that ONE SPOT to get a new one! Does that just seem WRONG to anybody else? I mean, how about putting new tire's at a FEW places on the loop? Would that be CRAZY?? I know in the road racing they realize that losing a race because of a mechanical is not they do their best to insure that doesn't happen (tho it still does, but you have to give them an A for trying...I mean, we have about 900 cars and motorcycles with bikes and tires on them in any given road race). So after Sagan FINALLY gets his new tire, the front group is well gone, along with any realistic chance. It's like having a flat 4k out of a road race finish. Sure, you will get a tire, but the front group is gone with the wind and you wont' see them again until after the race.

But I digress. So. Sagan's great hope of a WORLD CHAMPION ROAD RACER winning (or even placing) in the Olympic Mountain Bike race is dashed to the rocks. He only lost a few minutes due to that flat, and we never really heard or saw much of him after that...the announcers treated him like he was just some roadie in sheeps clothing (of note: Sagan was riding the exact same bike as the guy who won Silver...a Specialized, but I don't now which model...other than it was a full suspension). He finally ended up something like 9 minutes down from the winners when the mud settled. And those 2 guys who WERE in front of him for that very exciting and crap-filled half a lap? They took 1/2...the #1 guy from London took 2 here, and the #2 guy from London took #1 here. And a Spanish guy took Bronze. I kept hoping to hear that Sagan was coming back, and would eventually challenge for 3rd...but he had another mechanical issue later in the race I heard...just in case he had ANY hopes of SAGAN'ing this race and powering his way to the front...again. And so endeth a grand experiment. Nice try anyway Peter! And just imagine...had he WON (or placed), we the unsuspecting public would be subject to HEARING HIM SPEAK!! THAT is a nightmare! Good thing he's good on a bike and makes great money he will likely NOT do very well as a public speaker, NOR will NBCSports be hiring him along with Christian and Bobke (that last bit is just my opinion btw).

And THEN...after all that excitement, we have mens indoor volleyball! (I LOVE VOLLEYBALL). The US Men had lost to Italy in the SemiFinals, and were nowplaying Russia for the Bronze (who was beat by Brazil in the other Semifinal). The US won that match, tho I only got to see some of it (they didn't air it until AFTER the gold medal match between Brazil and Italy). It was quite a close 3 games (score wise)...but Italy was just KILLING THEMSELVES with BAD SERVES!  I think they had a total of 18 in the 3 games (yes, they lost ALL THREE). But they were all very close. Just think...18 points they GAVE AWAY. And then losing each game by around 2 or 3 points. But that all said, you can't take ANYTHING AWAY from the Brazillian team! They were pretty fantastic! One thing about the mens volleyball...they have some HUGE GUYS who can jump about 2 feet ABOVE a basketball rim! And when you consider the top of the mens net is7'11and 3/4" high, they are WAY above the net! It's quite a sight to see a back-row hitter just flying the friendly skys (of United)...and then just RIPPING THE COVER off the ball! I'm amazed there aren't more blockers with broken fingers...that ball is going by real quick and in a HURRY. And so....Brazil won all three games and that was that. The host country team won both Soccer AND Volleyball (coincidentally, the 2 most popular sports in their country, and in that order). They've been a volleyball powerhouse for quite some time now, and for good reason. They were awesome to watch for SURE!

And finally...I got to see SOME of the US match against Russia. And OMG was it CLOSE! We won 2, they won 2, so it goes to a 5th tiebreaker game to only 15! And we were UP....14/11, then 14/12, then 14/13 (I'm DYING at this point!)...but FINALLY we put the game away, 15/13! And that is that...the US men win the Bronze!!

Wow...I'm BEAT! And this doesn't even include any events I missed from the prime-time show tonight (Sunday). I also recorded the closing ceremony...I'll try to watch that tomorrow...maybe it will give me closure, so I can let go and get on with my life.

BUT WAIT!! The VUELTA started YESTERDAY!!! (sadly, I'll get ZERO coverage of that Grand Tour dag-nab-it!) I'd LOVE To give day by day analysis of a Grand Tour...I feel like I'm really on to something here after the Olympics!

And now. Good night.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Woooo, we're half way there, wooooo, livin on a prayer...

The title was my LAME attempt at Bon Jovi (in case you weren't aware of the tune you need to humm along with the words).

And YES....the Olympics are now a week in, with about a week to go. And boy oh BOY are they FANTASTIC! There's literally TOO MUCH! I'm recording about 15 hours a day, and obviously I can't even attempt to watch it all...but thankfully I can FF thru the parts I don't care about and just TRY to watch all the good stuff.

Lets see...going back to last night (Thursday)...the US Mens indoor volleyball upset Brazil 3 games to 1...woo-HOO! (they DESPERATELY needed the win to have any chance at making it out of their pool).

Then we had Kayla Harrison, the JUDO QUEEN, kick everybody's ass and win the gold...including that opponent in the final who I SWEAR looked like a MAN! But was Kayla fazed? NOPE. Just got down to business, and when it went to the ground she gets an arm and's all over and the monster WOMAN taps out QUICK (before she gets her arm broke). Who knew Judo has so much in common with cage-fighting? And they also said that her manly opponent for the Gold had beaten her 4 out of the last 7 times they were matched...but it didn't seem to faze her one teensy bit. And I LOVED it during her Gold Medal ceremony...she was OPENLY singing the National Anthem...not just sort of moving her lips some...but outright singing! She's my new HERO! And she is now a TWO TIME Olympic Gold winner! WAY TO GO KAYLA!!!!

Then I watched some table tennis (ping pong) was 2 Chinese guys (big surprise) going for the gold...boy do they ever make it look easy!

And then I watched the Womens Gymnastics All-Around...and holy crimoly...SIMONE is the word! That little powerhouse flat CRUSHED all comers! And her teammate Aly righted the wrong from 2012 (when she was tied for Bronze but due to some tie-breaking rule she was denied and was 4th)...this time she took Silver, and the girl who got the bronze last time got bronze again (she fell flat on her butt TWICE in the final 4 events). That Simone...she's just ridiculously good. I love that little 'helicopter' move she does on the balance beam and then out on the tumbling field (much easier on the tumbling field I'd think)...but it's the same exact move, and NOBODY else even TRYS anything similar.

Then we had the Mens 200 IM, Phelpes against Locte...and BOY did Michael CRUSH it! And it was his 4th Olympics in a row he's gotten the Gold in that event..which is the first time ANYBODY has ever done that (4 golds in 4 successive Olympics in the same event). That's he's still beating the WORLD at 31 is pretty unbelievable! Can you just TRY to imagine how much work he is doing to make this happen? I'm surprised he has TIME for a fiance and a baby! But he sure is going out in STYLE...London wasn't what he wanted, so he upped the ante and is back to finish on his terms...and NOBODY can say he's not the greatest swimmer EVER! What's he got, like 90 Golds now? And he's not even DONE!

Then we had the black girl Simone Manuel in the 100 free, and WON IT! First African  American woman to win ANY medal in swimming! How is that possible after all this time? Anyway, good for her, she sure deserved it and is a real role model! I hope we see more of her!

And then, yes...MORE Michael Phelps! He swims a semi-final 100 butterfly only 37 MINUTES after he won the 200 IM, and only 7 minutes after he was on the medal stand getting his Gold! That just seems like some crazy scheduling if you ask me (which NOBODY did).

And that took us thru Thursday night (which I didn't finish catching up on until today btw...there's just NO WAY I can stay current on work-days). And today (Friday) was my first day off in our new 9/80 work schedule that we started 2 weeks ago...(if you don't know that that is, you work 9 hour days Monday thru Thursday, then an 8 hour Friday the first week...and the next week you work 9 hour days Mon thru Thurs, which gives you 4 extra hours from this week, and the 4 extra hours from last you get that Friday off. So in a nutshell, I will get every other Friday off! So I went for a long hard MTB Ride...I figure going for a bike ride on my Fridays off is a great way to use it in STYLE! (I've been slipping on my ride schedule these last 2 weeks...simply have TOO MUCH Olympics to watch!)

And so far from Today's Olympics viewing, I saw Kim Rhode (pronounced roadie) take the Bronze in Skeet shooting (blowing up little clay pigeons with a 12 gauge shotgun). Actually they shoot 2 of those little guys with each pull...they give little purple puffs when they hit them. I shoot some skeet once in a while out at the base range...and I'm only shooting one at a time, and not even CLOSE to hitting them all. These ladies are like "BAM-BAM" and there are 2 purple puffs in the on earth they aim and shoot, re-aim at the other one and shoot so very quickly is beyond me...but they are quite fantastic for sure! And Kim is the 1st Summer Olympian EVER to win an individual medal in SIX consecutive games! How's THAT for awesome!! Way to go KIM!!!

I also watched some archery (also amazing...shooting their arrows from 75 meters away), some field hockey, the US womens indoor Volleyball (won against Italy I think, it was a clutch win, 3 games to 1) it that Karch Kiraly is their coach...I still remember him PLAYING for the Gold Medal winning Mens indoor team (didn't he play and win in at least 2 Olympics? Can't seem to remember for sure...but I do recall he and the team were AWESOME).

And some Track and Field has started, but I haven't seen ANY of it yet...but I hope to. I've also recorded all the Equestrian events I could for Jeannie (she's been back in Ohio and Florida on a "girls vacation" for the last 2 weeks...which even tho I miss her, I get free reign on the TV for my Olympic viewing). I pick her up down in LAX on Monday...and then my Olympic viewing will have to winnow down some as she isn't into sports very much. But I'll watch what I can when I can. It's all just Olympic OVERLOAD! And Team USA is doing SO FREAKING GREAT!!! But we always have been a Summer Olympics country.

OK...I need to get to bed...tomorrow I am starting work on painting the inside of the house (a little side project I've been putting off). It will likely take MONTHS for me to finish up, but I can get started in the one bedroom...

For now, I need some SLEEP! Goodnight and GO TEAM USA!!!


OK...I'm BACK. It's Sunday night....I'm in a short reprieve in my Gold Medal contention of the Olympics VIEWING event...(it's a full 2 week event, and so far I'm doing quite well!). These are just my updates from when I posted this on Thursday night. SO much has happened. And AWAY we go!

All the way back to Fri night, we had Maya Dirado swim the 200m backstroke, and her COME FROM BEHIND WIN! Way to go MAYA!!!! It was horribly exciting to watch! 4 swims, 4 medals for Maya!

Then we had Mr. Olympics (M.Phelps) in a THREE WAY TIE for silver in the 100 fly! Never seen that happen before! He's now got only 1 event left...the medly relay.

Next we had Mrs. Olympics (that would be Katie Ledecky of course) and her 800m free. And HOLY SMOKES! She was finished, out of the water, went to a drive-thru for coffees and snacks, wash and waxed the rental, and got back in time for the rest of the field to finish! The World Record she broke was her own! And she's only 19 years old! Who is going to contend for her WR in the next 8 or 12 years but herself?? She is simply INCREDIBLE!!!! (and when interviewed, she doesn't ACT like she's 19...she acts like she's 29, or 39...full of poise and grace...quite a remarkable woman!) I'm glad she's on our side!!!

Next was the 50 free (mens)...Anthony Ervin gets told, Nathan Adrian (who will swim the free leg in the upcomin relay) took bronze. Anthony won in 2000 @ 19 yrs old, then dropped out for 12 years and came back....way to go ANTHONY AND NATHAN!!!

Then we come to Saturday. The womens 8's rowing team won gold...WOW! Way to go ladies!!!

Then I watched Mens indoor volleyball against France...they lost a game but pulled it out winning 3 games to the 1 (whew!!!). They really needed that win!

Then I HEARD about Wiggins and his team winning the track cycling pursuit....but I didn't get to see it and it wasn't recorded for some reason...RATS!

Next I saw Simone Manuel take 2nd in the 50m free...THAT is a hard race, way to go Simone!!! She also comes across very articulate and mature...certainly an honor for US to have her on our team...way to go Simone!

Then was the mens 1500 free (UGH..that's like a MILE!). Our guy Conner Jaeger took SILVER in that grueling event, way to go CONNOR!

And THEN was suddenly some track and field (I was only vaguely aware T@F had begun in earnest)...and suddenly the womens 100m dash final...Tori Bowie took Silver! The Jamacians took Gold and Silver...those Jamacians have a dynasty going in the speed running for sure!

And FINALLY...the end of the swimming for Rio...the womens and mens medley relays. Our ladies Kathline Baker, Lily King, Dana Volmer and Simone Manual WON IT! All 4 of those fabulous ladies had medaled in the stroke they were was most impressive to watch! I got all teary eyed during their medal ceremony for some reason...maybe it was just the COMPLETE AWESOMENESS of how many times OUR National Anthem had been played thus far at these games...and it was the final ladies event. Way to finish it ladies!!!

And last but not least by ANY measure, the mens. Ryan Murphy, Cody Miller, Michael Phelps, and Nathan Adrian. Ryan set a NEW WORLD RECORD in his opening 100m backstroke leg, Cody Miller kept it close against the Gold Medal winning breast-stroker, then Mr. Olympics brought home a lead in his 100 fly, and Nathan closed it out in STYLE adding to that lead for the WIN! What a way for MP to go peace. SO very glad he came back (and was SERIOUS) London he knew he wasn't prepared, and his performance surely wasn't up to his dreams, so he came back and did it right. What a treat for us to see him in full strength ONE MORE TIME! I can't help but wonder how it felt on that podium FOR THE VERY LAST TIME...knowing his AMAZING career in the water is over. But at least he is going out on HIS terms. The greatest Olympian EVER...that's a nice title. Way to go MP...and thanks for the memories...a LOT of them!

So...the total tally in the pool (and I'm only talking swimming races, not water polo, diving or any other water events)...33 total medals, 16 gold! That's the most medals in swimming in one Olympics EVER! It sure was fun to watch, I'll say that. WE (the US of A OWN THE FREAKING POOL)! Take THAT you doping Russian swimmers!!! And yes, I was all teary eyed AGAIN during the mens medal ceremony...knowing I won't see MP up there ever again. It was quite an honor for sure!!!

And on to some T@T...the mens 100m dash prelims...Usain Bolt looked like he could carry a tray full of Ice Teas with him and still win. He is ridiculously fast. We shall see how Gatlin can do against him in the final I'm sure. There were a total of SEVEN heats of prelims in that race...that's a LOT of racers!

Then onto the mens 400m semi-finals (wow...that snuck up on me...when were the prelims?)...Lashawn Merritt, the 2008 Gold winner, makes the final....and Gil Roberts (who had AT LEAST 2 lbs of gold chains on his neck...give me a FREAKING BREAK) did NOT. Love that! Maybe you'd be faster if you didn't have to show your awesomeness with your gold chains DURING YOUR RACE?? Just a thought. Better like in 4 years Gil!

And that about wrapped up Saturdays events (that I got to see)...on to Sunday!

I got to see the Mens Omnium track cycling race (at least the first evvnt...60 freaking laps of the track)....that is one odd event. But with only 1 racer from each country, it's evreybody for evidenced when a few guys make a breakaway and NOBODY chases, cuz they're all used to having a TEAM chase down the they ALL LOSE cuz they don't want to do the work. LOVE IT that boldness pays off in this event! For 60 laps it was actually kind of fun to watch (after the first 20 or so laps anyway, when some bold racers took a chance...and the American was one of the first to go...sadly he faded quick and finished 17th or he was eventually caught by the 'peleton'. Still, no guts, no glory!

Then I saw Alex Nador (Mens Gymnastics) in the finals for the Pommel horse. Sadly he went VERY early in the event, and even tho he did the best exercise he's ever done in competition on the pommel horse, the earlier performers seem to always be graded lower...and finally towards the end, the 2 GBR guys were 3rd from last and last...and they both got GREAT scores...and sure, their exercises looked good...but then I rewound and re-watched Alex's performance again, and I think he got gypped...he was at LEAST as good as the 2 Great Brittian guys...sadly that's just how judging goes so often...they grade lower early so there's room to put people over them...but then they forget about the earlier scores and how good they really were least it sure seemed that way today. But you know what? He wasn't a crybaby or sad-sack over it, he was ELATED with his bronze! It was quite refreshing actually! Way to go ALEX!!! He was SO HAPPY with that medal!

ooh...the mens 100m semi-finals...Bolt was just that...a relaxed lightening bolt. He looked like he could read a book (albiet a VERY SHORT book) during his heat...he seemed that relaxed.  Then Justin Gatlin ran in the next heat and won it, but he looked like he actually had to work some...I think Bolt will run away with it in the final..but we shall see.

And just now they awarded the womens 100m medals...the Jamacian with the green and yellow hair (isn't that Brazil's colors?) only took bronze...her teammate with NORMAL hair won it. I kind of like that...I hate it when people get so flashy thinking they're all that...and then are not. Bolt kind of fits in that category, only he ACTS like he's the king of the world...(but I'm guessing he will back that up with his legs...and I just heard the mens 100m final is TONIGHT! I won't stay up for it, so I'll see it tomorrow.

 And finally...I just finished watching the US Womens indoor volleyball against China (before I started making this update)...whew! They really had me sweating! China won the first game, and IF the US were to lose the match, they would have not won their pool...but they came back and won 3 games straight and ended up undefeated in their pool. NICE LADIES! I just love it that Karch Kiraly is coaching...he was SUCH a fantastic player OH so long ago it seems.

And that puts me current with Sunday night viewing...there's Trackk @ Field going on in the background all the while I type...but quite honestly I'm beat...I think I scored a 15.975 in my weekend Olympics Viewing...which puts me near the top...but can I maintain that score? I don't think so...I've had FREE REIGN with the TV while Jeannie has been gone (to Ohio and Florida) the last 2 weeks...she flys home tomorrow and I'll be picking her up in LAX around noon (taking the day off work). And that wraps up my Olympics coverage for the week.

Good night, and good luck.

CHEERS! (again).

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!