Friday, August 10, 2012

Olympic Highs and Lows

To my e-mail followers, who got to read my notes on this blog when I accidentally confused the save and publish buttons yesterday, my sincerest apologies. Think of it as a preview or an insight into my writing process.

I don't normally make notes about a blog before I write, but since I knew I had so much to say about the Olympics and it was probably going to take more than one blog to get it all out, I took notes to separate what thoughts went into which blog. For the record, this is the second of three blogs about the Olympics.


This Olympics was filled with many highs that made me proud to be an American and a few lows that made me either sad for an athlete or ashamed of the behavior of some of my fellow Americans. Let's start with the brighter side:

1. It was good to be an American woman at the Olympics this year!

The US gymnastics team brought home the team gold, beating out Russia and China, after some stellar tumbling in the floor exercises by Aly Raisman. Aly also won gold in the individual floor exercises competition and bronze in the balance beam competition. Gabby Davis became a role model for millions of American little girls by not only becoming the first African American girl to win gold in the team and individual all-around competitions (something she shrugged off by saying, "You learn something new everyday!" when informed of her historic first), but also by shaking off some journalistic (and very adolescent, in this blogger's opinion) criticism about her hair by saying, "I just made history and people are focused on my hair? It can be bald or short, it doesn't matter about hair." Way to go Gabby! You just set a great example for girls everywhere about how to deal with bullies.

Not only did the U.S. women's gymnastics team win gold,
they also got to meet Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge!
The U.S. women's beach volleyball teams won gold and silver at the Horse Guard Parade, an equestrian training center that was turned into a beach volleyball stadium just for the Olympic Games. My honey and I watched every match played by Misty and Kerri and Jen and April. My honey claimed a real interest in both indoor and beach volleyball, but I suspect what he really liked were the bikinis. That and he really loved Misty's tramp stamp tattoo! He can enjoy hers all he likes because he won't be seeing one on me anytime soon.

Misty's tramp stamp on display after she and Kerri won gold.

2. Amazing firsts happened every day (and I'm not just talking about the world records)

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius became the first double amputee to compete in an Olympic final. If you don't know why that is so amazing click on this link poor little tink tink to get the Katt Williams version of Oscar's first Olympic experience. Apologies in advance for Katt's extreme potty mouth, definitely not a rated G link.

Yeah for the IOC getting it right this time and letting Pistorius run his race!

For the first time ever, all countries sent women athletes to compete. The Olympics first allowed women to compete in the 1900 games (though only in three sports; lawn tennis, croquet, and golf). Now, for the first time in the 112 years since women arrived on the Olympic scene, every country participating sent female athletes. Congratulations to Saudi Arabia, Brunei, and Qatar for being tardy to the party, but better late than never. had a great article about the Olympic Wonder Women if you'd like to read more about it.

Home field advantage helped Brits win big. It started with heptathelete Jessica Ennis winning gold to the delight of the 80,000 fans (many of them Brits) packed into the Olympic Stadium and kept getting better and better from there. Team GB took home gold and silver in the Men's Pair Canoe Slalom, prompting the paddlers to dump out of the boats and into the drink to celebrate. The Queen's granddaughter even became the first member of the royal family to win a medal, bringing home silver in the team equestrian event.

Now for the not so bright moments of the games:

1. Hurdler Down. Your heart just has to break for some of the athletes who, after training their whole lives to get to their big Olympic moment, came up short or outright flopped at the games. Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang, who had to pull out of his hurdling event in Beijing due to injury, was all set for his redeeming moment in London. His Achilles tendon had other ideas. During the opening heat for his event he re-injured his Achilles and fell while trying to go over the first hurdle. But, credit where credit is due, Xiang got up and hopped all the way to the finish line, with a little help from the winners of the heat.

Liu getting by with a little help from his friends.

2. Olympic's First Reverse Belly Flop. German diver Stephan Fenk made it through the preliminary round of the Men's 3M springboard competition, only to be taken out by a bad hop of the diving board during his second dive, resulting in his landing on his back and possible losing a couple of toe nails from where he smacked the board.

To add insult to injury, the video of his dive has gone viral online.

3. USA Women's hurdlers acting like teenage girls. I understand that every athlete wants to have their shining Olympic moment and not share the limelight with a favored athlete that came up short. I get it. But, shame on the U.S. women's hurdles silver and bronze medalists, Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells respectively, for going on TV and talking trash about their teammate, and media darling, Lolo Jones. Cat fighting via the media is no way for Olympic athletes to act. Though to show Ms. Harper that I truly understand why she was upset, shame on NBC for showing footage of Lolo Jones when interviewing Harper about her Olympic medal moment. Be mad at the network for creating the hype and pushing the story, not your teammate who just missed the podium by a few hundredths of a second. (Don't even get me started on the "virtuous" Ms. Jones, who touts how her strong religious beliefs and moral compass have kept her a 30 year old virgin, but who also posed nude for ESPN magazine. There's something messed up in that equation. I'm just sayin'.)

To end on a much happier note, Google has had some truly entertaining interactive doodles to accompany the Olympics and give those of us watching at home a hint of what it's like to compete. Enjoy the links below, my honey and I sure have.

Google Doodles: slalom canoeing   hurdles   basketball   soccer/football


  1.  I love the Olympics.  I care about sports, like beach volleyball and
    water polo, for about two weeks every four years.  And there is just
    something special about watching athletes giving their all for their
    countries and not for some sponsor's paycheck.  I like watching competitors who know that they have no chance to medal still giving it their all just for the fact that they are IN THE OLYMPICS.

    And yes, I do enjoy the bikinis...

  2. You are an honest soul, my love. :)