London 2012 XXX Olympic Games

I know you’re all watching so here’s your chance to comment on the stuff that you care about. Here’s my assessment so far:

The Opening Ceremonies: Awesome, stunning, captivating, and even sorta educational!

Women’s Gymnastics: The rule that says only two competitors per country are allowed in the all-around is the biggest load of crap I have ever heard. It’s like saying only two swimmers from each country are allowed in the finals of a race, even if the top five qualifiers are all from the same country. It’s crazy. The worst rule I have ever heard. It’s got to go.

Men’s Gymnastics: Are the gymnastics judges the most corrupt judges left after they cleaned up the skating judges? The Japanese coach actually had to give the judges cash in order to appeal the initial ruling in the team final! That is just garbage. Plus, the initial ruling looked far more correct to me than the final ruling, which elevated Japan from fourth to second and bumped the awesome British team down to bronze. Not cool.

The Men’s 4×100 Free Relay: This is the big one, the marquis event of the swimming world. It also happens to be my event. The US team used to win this every single year, until the last four Olympics, of which the US has lost three, including this year. But this year, the event wasn’t lost in the pool, but in the pre-event strategy session, overseen by a coach who also happens to be Ryan Lochte’s personal coach. He unsurprisingly decided that Lochte was the best man to anchor the relay in the finals, despite the fact that his splits are nowhere near the fastest of the swimmers he had to choose from and, get this now: Lochte is not a sprinter. He doesn’t even swim the 100 free. Never. Of course neither does Michael Phelps, but Phelps is, well, Phelps. Lochte won the gold in the 400 IM, but he is not Phelps. Not yet. Not remotely. The upshot of this ridiculous piece of strategy is that Lochte entered the pool with a big lead and proceeded to lose it completely while swimming the slowest split of all his teammates. Phelps’s split? By far the fastest of his team. Lochte did not even belong in the final, let alone anchoring it.

Finally, Missy Freaking Franklin. She swam the 100 backstroke final only 15 minutes after the prelims of the 200 free. The result? Gold medal. In Olympic record time. Just crazy awesome.

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12 thoughts on “London 2012 XXX Olympic Games

  1. Mark, I’m glad you enjoyed the Opening Ceremony. We loved it here, of course, but I wondered how some of its British eccentricity would translate.

    Annoyed that the French are doing well. And it’s clear that China rules the world.

  2. It’s like saying only two swimmers from each country are allowed in the finals of a race, even if the top five qualifiers are all from the same country.

    It appears that the rest of your rant was done with a straight face, so I’ll assume this part was too.

    The top five qualifiers in a swimming race will never be from the same country, because only two swimmers per country are allowed to enter an event, much less make the finals. This is not a new rule. Similarly, countries are limited to one boxer and wrestler per weight class, one basketball, soccer, or volleyball team per sex, etc. It is the exception rather than the rule that the three best athletes or teams (including hypothetical teams that are never actually formed) in an event can all win medals.

  3. Ronan, I think Americans are very adept at translating, and even fond of, British eccentricity. How else to explain Monty Python?

    LL, that’s true, but in every other event, the top qualifiers go through to the finals. It’s one thing to say that countries can only bring so many competitors to the Olympics. It’s quite another to shut the top scoring competitors who are already there and competing out of the finals just because they happen to be from the same country as other top scoring competitors. That makes the finals a sham.

  4. Why is a shoutout to socialized medicine in the opening ceremonies germane? I found the NBC coverage to be patronizing, and puerile, and the parade of countries was so damn boring I couldn’t watch.

    Female breaststroker Breeja Larson is a friend’s niece. That race was all heart, and good to see. Breeja was not at her best, so no medal this time.

    I don’t think the 2 gymnasts rule is that outrageous. The gymnasts all know that’s the rule, and rules are rules.

    I don’t have cable or OTA TV, so I’m a bit irked that the 2012 Olympics are not available live online. What I’ve seen was recorded or at the house of family members. I get that NBC can’t air things for free, and paid money for the rights, but something has to change. For this reason my family isn’t watching like we could be. I’d like to get my kids excited about the competitive tradition, self-improvement themes, but not enough to pay for it, I guess. I don’t even think our local NBC channel has an HD OTA signal.

  5. Cantinflas, it is available live online, for a fee, I believe, but why can’t you get broadcast TV? It’s free and it is in HD in SLC. All you need is a cheap digital antenna, and the amount of coverage being broadcast every day is enormous.

    Rules are rules, I suppose, but a bad rule is still a bad rule. Why keep it just because rules are rules? Rules change all the time. Let’s change this one. It stinks.

    I loved that breatstroke race. Larson was not in it much, but she looked good. If the pool had been one meter longer, Rebecca Soni would have won. She was closing fast and just got outtouched for the gold.

    The parade of countries is like any parade: always boring and takes way too long, but it’s a sacred tradition, so you have to do it. I think they should make everyone run, instead of walk. These are athletes, after all, and that way the whole thing would be over faster.

  6. I don’t care if the rule changes, but I feel like people are outraged because the U.S. gymnast didn’t get an exception to this rule when she needed it, or that the rule wasn’t overturned at that moment. Why special treatment because a slightly unlikely scenario unfolded?(Okay, maybe not so unlikely, but I’m sure the athlete’s knew it was a possibility.)

    I’m in Idaho now, and don’t want to buy an OTA antenna, because we wouldn’t watch it the rest of the time. We use netflix, etc.

    Where can I get online access for cheap? I haven’t seen that option, only a login based on my cable provider, which I don’t have.

    I love the idea of a running parade. I’d watch that.

  7. Yeah, I don’t think we should get an exception. Weiber may have been underscored, but I think you have to keep the rules you have when you’re in the competition. i would just like to see it changed in the future so that you can have the top qualifiers in the finals. If that means the finals are made up of gymnasts from only three to five countries, then so be it.

  8. Phelps finishes his olympic career with 18 gold medals, 2 silver and 2 bronze, 22 in all, to become the most decorated olympian of all time. The second best olympian has less than half that total.

  9. I have not personally done the VPN trick. I have seen instructions on how to do it and comments following that it works.

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