Thoughts, afterthoughts on Beijing
August 23, 2008
BY DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer
Today is the last day of the 2008 Summer Olympics and it’s a time to bid farewell to what was a great couple of weeks.
Because of the time difference, I didn’t get to watch what I wanted most of the time and was forced to tape a lot of the events, especially men’s and women’s basketball. That goes with the territory. Americans are spoiled when we host on our soil because the TV folks can work the schedule to their advantage.
One thing for certain, Michael Phelps’ legacy will live on.
I don’t think anybody will ever match what he did the last couple of weeks in the pool. It took a lot of ability not to mention stamina to get through 17 swims in that amount of time, especially when you have the media hounding you for any extra time you might have.
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Phelps garnered the bulk of the Internet attention, and rightfully so. He has 16 Olympic medals, 14 of them gold. He set seven world records over the last eight or nine days and his margin of victory in his eight races was 2.32 seconds, which is a huge margin.
The men’s and women’s gymnastics teams put in solid performances. Individually, Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin and Jonathan Horton were outstanding.
It was great to see the U.S. men’s basketball team put their egos aside in their effort to win a gold medal. This time around, Team USA finally put its best players on the floor, and it showed. The group proved that superstars can share the ball at all times. Hopefully guys like LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and Deron Williams have enjoyed the experience enough to stick with it.
It was also nice to see the USA women put their past soccer problems behind them and reach the finals against Brazil.
What I’m sad about is the elimination of two of my favorite sports ” baseball and softball. Neither will be included in the 2012 games in London and there is talk that neither will ever make their way back.
That’s a shame, and it never should have happened. Countries like China, Japan, the United States, Canada and Australia are being robbed because they are dominant and have been for a long time in softball.
I feel bad for the women softball players. The Olympics was their World Series, a chance to shine on a national stage. The elimination of softball leaves these women with just an unheralded pro league to go back to (for some) and a chance to play in the Pan American games. It’s not the same.
After Japan upset the USA in the gold medal game, the USA women left the cleats at homeplate in maybe one of the most symbolic gestures I’ve ever seen.
Baseball, in my mind, never got off the ground because Major League Baseball wasn’t going to take a two-week break for the best players to go play. This was a sport that was dominated by several countries, including Taiwan, China, Japan and Cuba. The American team was usually made up of high-ranking minor leaguers.
At least those players can continue to chase their dream once they return from Beijing unlike their softball counterparts. The baseball players will work toward their goal of getting to the big leagues.
I can think of several sports that shouldn’t be in the Olympics.
Rhythmic gymnastics. Would you give me a break.
Trampoline. Are you kidding me? Yeah, they can jump high and do nice tricks, but we get enough of that with diving and gymnastics.
Taekwondo. Is there a need for taekwondo and judo? Please, spare us. Eliminate one or both.
Synchronized swimming. This has got to be one of the most boring things ever invented to watch on television. I’m not saying it doesn’t take skill, but I don’t think it makes for interesting television.
Sailing. Good grief. Let’s have a sport for the elitists around the world. Does anybody really care about this? Have you ever watched sailing? How often do the networks air sailing races?
I’m sure there are a couple of more, and I’m sure they’ll come to me at a later date.
The people that run the Olympics screwed up. It’s as simple as that.
– Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com or (775) 881-1281
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