Sunday, August 15, 2004

Olympic notes: first weekend 

Okay, I've got the fever. It's got me and it's not letting go. I went to bed at something like 5:30 this morning because the roommates and I were watching live round the clock coverage.

Now, given that I'm watching the summer games in America-vision, there are a few events I have yet to see that have already taken place. For example, the mens 4x100 men's freestyle relay in swimming. After watching the heats, I'm super excited about South Africa's chances to medal. They are thought to be a darkhorse behind the USA and Australia, but I'll be damned if they didn't nearly break the world record in the semi-final heat. Go Boks!

Speaking of the pool, how freaking dominant was Michael Phelps in the 400 IM? He killed everyone and broke his own world record in the process. He's in eight events and, so far, is 1 for 1 in golds. I'm really excited to see perhaps the best, most talent laden race on Monday -- the 200 meter freestyle -- in which Phelps goes against Ian "Thorpedo" (coolest nickname) Thorpe and defending Olympic champ Peter Vanden Hoogenbam of Holland. I might've flubbed the spelling on Peter, but oh well. Still, that three way showdown may be the premiere event in these games.

The Iraqi soccer team continues to amaze. They have one game left to play in group action, but regardless of the outcome they've already qualified for the quarterfinals thanks to their win over Costa Rica. I watched that match and have to say, Costa Rica looked like the better side for the first 75 minutes of the 90 minute bout. but Iraq got the breaks.

The other end of the spectrum from Iraqi soccer's thrills are US hoops' lows. They look pathetic . Puerto Rico? Puerto Rico is not thought to be a medal contender, yet they toyed with the sluggish US team in the same fashion as the Harlem Globetrotters abused the Washington Generals. Easy layups, easy spot up shots. They went on a 15-2 run. They held the US to 7 points in the second quarter. 7! The Americans proved further that they have no outside scoring threat from the perimeter and also that they can't defend. Well, that's not fair actually. They do play defense. But they wait until they're down 22 points and the game is almost over. Yeah, its worth it then. If these guys played a full game with any sort of intensity, they have at least some sort of respect. But they don't. They don't care. This is their first Olympic game. Nerves and adrenaline should be running off the charts. The US looked flat as a board. What if they had a guy who could hit 3s on this team. Imagine if Rip Hamilton accepted a spot on the team or if Michael Redd was selected or if Stephon Marbury wasn't running the point guard and turning the ball over every chance he had. Andre Miller would've been a better fit for the international game. Ugh... so bad.

Oh, and also pathetic is the Iranian judo champ who withdrew from competition after drawing an Israeli as his first round opponent. Further proof that Iran, in its entirety, is worthless. Sadly contrary to the Olympic spirit. To hell with them.

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