Archive for August, 2008

Olympic Fever

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

After Phelps won medal No. 8, his teammate, Brendan Hansen said Phelps is “one of the best athletes of sports in general…. What he did today and what he did this entire week…beats the Tour de France, beats the pressure at the US Open, it beats every part of what sport is.”

cycling vs. swimming

Oh, snap! We’re gonna give the guy a break for speaking in the passion of the moment, but I gotta ask, when was the last time Hansen sat on a bike for 5 hours a day, 19 days in three weeks, riding up both the Alps and Pyrenees?

That’s what i thought. Geez – at least admit the two accomplishments are comparable.

Don’t get me wrong. What Phelps’ mind and body did was no less than a magnificent feet – er, feat. Can the Dude’s heart really pump 8 gallons of blood a minute? And his body process 12,000 calories a day? Not burn, but process all that food? I did a little swimming for a sprint triathlon (since then, i’m exhausted just watching Olympic swimming), and 20-30 minutes in the pool makes this writer hella hungry, but consuming twelve thousand calories? Hungry? How do you have time to sleep and swim between knocking back several pizzas, a pound of pasta, a half-dozen ham and friend egg sandwiches and a batch of chocolate chip pancakes?

Biggest props ever to 41-year-old swimmer Dara Torres, who won silver in the 50m freestyle and earned the Lady Byng.

Way to go Canada! While it took until Day 8 and withstanding a lot of smack for our neighbors to the north to hit the tally sheet, the first Canadian medal at these Olympics, a silver, went to  the Men’s Rowing team. Ya, and a silver for the trampoline. Then two medals in wrestling (women) including the first gold, plus jumping, triathlon, diving, hurdles, canoe, taekwondo, and kayaking to bring the total to 18.

In Cycling…

Kristin Armstrong kicked it, winning gold in the women’s road time trial.

Canadian mountain biker Geoff Kabush, who trains in Albuquerque, placed 20th.

Here’s Bush (not a bush, silly) on the Laoshan mountain bike trail.

My buddy William called it: Spain is still on a roll, with Sammy Sanchez winning the men’s road race. And Nadal winning gold in tennis.

Right up until they lost a lotta class. Sure, it all seems harmless at the time, but it isn’t. Particularly if you’re building a reputation for disrespect….

And then they get busted for doping.

Extra

As we say goodbye to the Olympics, here’s a great quote from US Hockey Hall of Fame, class of 08 inductee, Mike Richter:

“Sports, in its best light, is about challenging yourself and improving yourself as a person. It’s not about looking for a medal at the end of an event; it’s about a journey in which your physical and mental well-being improves through physical activity.” [NYTimes]

And a link for you ladies of ice hockey. The season is just around the corner….

Au revior France, Ni hao Beijing

Friday, August 8th, 2008

Count ’em: the Euro 2008 Soccer Championship, Wimbledon, Giro de Italia and now the Tour de France. You could say fans are delirious. As my buddy William pointed out, it’s been a great year for Spain.

It’ll be interesting to see if it carries the momentum into the Olympics.

While this year’s Tour de France was the least predictable in, say, the past nine years (seven different riders wore the yellow jersey), two outta three names i listed for possible podium spots were top finishers. Second place overall in 2007, Australian Cadel Evans had to settle for second yet again while Spaniard Carlos Sastre, with his dominant CSC team, was Da Man.

Bobke! A couple Parting Notes on the Tour de France:

I wasn’t kidding about Bob Roll. In case you missed it, one morning during the Tour he said that cycling provides

a very potent allegory and when you get left by the Tribe, you have almost no chance of survival. That’s why bike racing reminds us of the primordial ooze that we crawled out of many, many years ago, from the cave to the modern era. It’s bike racing that reminds us what it means to be alive.

free your mind...I’m gonna need a stiff shot or three to belly-crawl my mind through that one.

Lanterne Rouge

Why, you ask, is the Lanterne Rouge significant in the Tour de France? Isn’t it all about the Maillot jaune? Yes and no. As the website points out, you still “couldn’t hang on his wheel for 30 seconds.”

You see the LR is the tactical wizard who finishes the race dead last. No easy feat, you can be sure. While on the same team as Evans, Wim Vansevenant managed nothing if not consistency, crossing the line last overall for the third year in a row.

On to the Olympics (see Phelps portrait all mixed in there with the Dalai Lama)!

Alas, the US Men’s Field Hockey team did not qualify for these Olympic Games.

And while this is the last year for baseball and softball competition, Ping-pong and Trampoline are here to stay.

Go Cheri Blauwet! Go World!