Category Archives: 2008 Summer Olympics

The end of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics

The Olympics are over. So what’s a person to do now? I enjoyed the past two weeks even though NBC’s Olympic coverage was so so. While the network showed extensive coverage of swimming and gymnastics which I do enjoy watching, the coverage for other sports seemed somewhat choppy. It’s like we got bits and pieces of track and field. At least I got to see a variety of Olympic sports on MSNBC and USA. And thank goodness for my dvr. There is no way I could have stayed up and watched everything for two weeks. What I couldn’t stay up for I just recorded. My dvr was busy. I watched the mountain bike and bmx competitions for the first time. I also checked out the rhythmic gymnastics competition. The Russian team won the gold medal.

Anyway some of the more enjoyable moments from the Olympics besides Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt included the mens basketball gold medal competition. Congrats to Team USA.  They won the gold medal by defeating Spain.

NBC had the nerve to show this game live at 2:00am in the morning. Like I mentioned before, thank goodness for my dvr. Even though my dvr was recording the game, I woke up around 2:30am and saw some of the game. The game was too close so I went back to bed and watched the entire game later that morning after reading the results on the net.

Congrats to the womens basketball team. They won the gold medal by defeating Australia.

And congrats to Bryan Clay for winning the gold medal in the decathlon.

Congrats to mens marathon winner Samuel Kamau Wansiru. He became the first Kenyan to win the gold medal in the marathon.

One of the most exciting track and field events was the womens 4×400 relay race featuring Sanya Richards, Allyson Felix, Monique Henderson and Mary Wineberg. Sanya was the anchor for the team. She was behind the Russian runner and eventually passed her and led Team USA to a gold medal. This was one exciting race.

Team USA also won the mens 4×400 relay race.

Now that the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics are over I’m suffering from Olympic withdrawal.  The 2010 Winter Olympics will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia.  Then it’s on to London’s 2012 Summer Olympics.  I can’t wait.  It will be interesting to see who will get the 2016 Summer Olympics.  The cities in the running are Chicago(USA), Madrid(Spain), Rio de Janiero(Brazil) and Tokyo(Japan).  The IOC will make the final selection on October 2, 2009.

Kobe is loved

Well he’s loved by basketball fans in China.  Los Angeles Laker star Kobe Bryant is being treated like a rock star in China during the Beijing Olympics.

Kobe Bryant rules China
Chinese fans adore the Lakers star, whose commercial appeal has had quite a rebound.

Beijing

It’s Kobe’s team, in China, anyway.

The U.S. basketball team, entirely made up of superstars, isn’t really anyone’s, but one of them — Kobe Bryant — stands alone, at least as far as 1.3 billion Chinese are concerned.

If LeBron James is still King James in the U.S., Bryant is the new emperor of China.

Bryant gets the loudest cheers in pregame introductions. Fans chant “MVP!” when he’s at the free-throw line. Late in Saturday’s rout of Spain as he sat on the bench, they started chanting, “Kobe! Kobe!”

As teammate Carmelo Anthony joked, “Kobe might want to think about moving here — to live.”

On this, his fifth trip to China, he’s protected by the U.S. team’s security people, several of whom were hired off the Lakers staff.

On past trips, where every place he went hadn’t already been secured as they have been here, he would have needed the People’s Liberation Army.

“Oh, they’ve broken through security before,” Bryant says. “I’ve lost earrings, chains and all kinds of stuff. This time I tuck ’em in when I go into crowds.

“Last year when I came here, I lost an earring. . . . A kid found it on the floor and held on to it for three hours and came back and gave it back to me. That’s crazy.”

It got crazier than that. Once Bryant landed in a private jet at a Chinese airport, where a large crowd was waiting, but he was told to stay on the plane.

It turned out the general who ran the airport was waiting for his son to arrive to get an autograph.

BMX Racing’s Shanaze Reade

BMX (Bicycle Motorcross) racing is making it’s Olympic debut this year.  Great Britain has a female racer named Shanaze Reade

Check out her video here and here.   And check out her official website


 
The daughter of a Jamaican father and Irish mother, Shanaze is a BMX world champion.

Jamaica’s national treasure

The NBC Olympic website has an interesting article about the success of the Jamaican track and field team.

Sprinters: Jamaica’s national treasure

By The Associated Press

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) – From the ease of Usain Bolt’s record-smashing 100m to the sweep in the women’s 100m, the world is learning what Jamaicans knew all along.

This Caribbean nation, which once got a few chuckles by fielding an Olympic bobsled team, is no joke when it comes to track and field.

Jamaica’s success in Beijing has sent islanders into the streets, dancing and banging pots to celebrate the triumphs. It also has generated curiosity about how a nation of nearly 3 million known for its reggae music and beaches can produce such phenomenal runners.

The answer lies in a reggae song featured on the Jamaica Athletic Association’s Web site .

It was the following sentence that gave me a chuckle:

“We’ve been running ever since we came here, many years ago,” the song goes.

You can read the entire article here.   If you scroll down to the bottom of the page you’ll find a photo gallery of previous Jamaican track and field stars.

Olympic News

As you know I’ve been in Olympic heaven for the past week. My eyes have been glued to the tv. Even had my dvr recording the games. 🙂  I’ve been enjoying swimming, gymnastics, track and field, diving, basketball, rowing, tennis and volleyball just to name a few sports. I even watched the trampoline competition? Trampoline you ask? Yeah, I was surprised too.

I checked out the womens marathon. Talk about endurance. I admire anyone who can run 26 miles in a marathon. Kudos to the over thirty five year old set. Thirty eight year old Constantina Tomescu won the gold medal in the womens marathon.

Jamaica rules in the sprint competitions. Usain Bolt won the gold medal in the mens 100 meter final and Jamaica’s women won in the womens 100 meter race. Shelly-Ann Fraser won the gold medal and she was one happy camper. Her fellow Jamaican teammates Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart tied for silver medals. The American women didn’t fare too well.

Baltimore, Maryland native Michael Phelps made Olympic history by eclipsing Mark Spitz’s gold medal wins. Phelps won eight gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He won for individual and relay races. Mark Spitz held the previous record from the 1972 Munich Olympics with seven gold medals.

Serena and Venus Williams won gold medals in the womens doubles competition. They defeated Spain 6-2, 6-0.

Venus and Serena Williams take doubles Olympic gold
The Williams sisters win the top medal, beating the Spanish team, 6-2, 6-0.

By Bill Dwyre
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

BEIJING — Put an Olympic gold medal in front of the Williams sisters, send them out to play doubles, and they are like kids in a candy store.

For the second time in two tries, Venus and Serena won the doubles gold, beating a team from Spain here Sunday at the Olympic tennis complex. They did the same thing eight years ago in Sydney. And they did it in similar fashion Sunday.

Sunday’s final was 6-2, 6-0 over Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual. The final in Sydney was 6-1, 6-1 over the Dutch team of Kristie Boogert and Miriam Oremans.

The mens basketball team, The Redeem Team has been on a roll. They defeated Germany earlier this morning 106-57. Team USA will now face Australia in the medal round starting Wednesday.

Cameroon’s Francoise Mbango Etone won a gold medal in the womens triple jump competition. She also won the gold medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Francoise Mbango Etone has won the first Gold medal for Cameroon in the on going Olympic games in Beijing, China.

She won the Gold medal in the Ladies Triple Jump beating the Games record with her 15.39m skip.

Francoise Mbango Etone, through this win, has gotten her name inscribed in Olympics records as one of the few athletes to retain the Gold medals won four years ago at the Olympic Games in Athens.

I watched Australia’s Emma Snowsill win the gold medal in the womens Triathlon this morning.

BEIJING (AP)—With the finish line a few yards away, Emma Snowsill had time to grab a flag, slow down and wave.

She was all alone in front, and Australia was finally going to win Olympic gold in triathlon.

“We came so close in Sydney and Athens,” Snowsill said. “To come from a nation that’s so strong, like Australia, in terms of triathlon, it’s a fantastic feeling to finally bring home the gold medal.”

Snowsill finished more than a minute ahead of the field in the swim-cycle-run event Monday. Vanessa Fernandes of Portugal won the silver, and Emma Moffatt of Australia took the bronze.

Snowsill pulled away toward the beginning of the final leg, a 10-kilometer run she completed in 33 minutes, 17 seconds. Her overall time was 1:58:27.66.

Kobe, LeBron and company check out the Olympics

When they’re not playing basketball and practicing, the U.S. Mens basketball team, aka The Redeem Team, are busy checking out their fellow athletes at the Beijing Olympics.

Redeem Team Fans Out
U.S. Men’s Basketball Players Making Most of Olympic Experience

By Michael Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 14, 2008

BEIJING, Aug. 13 — LeBron James embarrassed them with a menacing blocked shot and a left-handed windmill dunk in the United States’ 97-76 win on Tuesday, so several members of the Angolan men’s basketball team rushed him afterward — for pictures and autographs. James politely posed as the Angolans wrapped their arms around him, smiled and clicked their cameras for group and solo shots.

On Wednesday morning, it was the U.S. men’s basketball players’ turn to show their appreciation for another athletic achievement. James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Jason Kidd watched U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps win gold medals and set world records in the 200-meter butterfly and 4×200 freestyle relay. Bryant hugged Phelps’s mother, Debbie, and sat next to her while Phelps raced.

Phelps is “so far ahead of everybody else, it was almost laughable,” Bryant said a few hours later, before the Olympic basketball team practiced at Beijing Normal University. “To be honest with you, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything more spectacular than the performance they put on in the pool. That’s what the Olympics are about for me — going out and watching greatness. It’s fun.”

Between practices and games, the U.S. basketball team doesn’t have much free time, but most of the players — among the most immediately recognizable athletes at the Games — are taking advantage of the opportunity to appreciate the Olympics as spectators, even if it means being mobbed by their own fans in the stands.

“I heard my mom took a picture with LeBron,” Phelps said. “Having those guys here is pretty special. You can kind of hear them starting cheers and getting everybody going. It’s pretty neat.”

The team attended the U.S. women’s basketball game against the Czech Republic on Saturday, and fans had to be restrained as they tried to get closer to take pictures. Most of the players have watched Phelps swim. James has seen Serena Williams and Roger Federer play tennis. Anthony and Dwight Howard have gone to boxing matches. Michael Redd plans to watch table tennis. Bryant has seen defending gold medalists Ricardo Santos and Emanuel Rego of Brazil in beach volleyball.

Speaking of the mens basketball team, they defeated Greece 92-69 earlier today.

So it’s not just me

You know, I thought I was the only person who’s suffering from Michael Phelps fatigue. But after reading this Salon.com article I know I’m not alone.

Phelps, Phelps, Phelps

The American phenom has been annoyingly omnipresent. That’s too bad, because there are other things happening, and because he’s not annoying.

King Kaufman

Aug. 14, 2008 | Michael Phelps, Michael Phelps, Michael Phelps. I’m getting tired of hearing that name, aren’t you? Just the syllables.

Nothing against Phelps himself, who is deserving of all the accolades, and who is handling himself in the spotlight about as well as anyone could. He manages to project an average-guy persona without any phony aw-shucks bull, and to express his massive and well-earned self-confidence without coming across as an arrogant jerk.

But his exploits are threatening to suffocate these games, at least for those of us consuming them through American media, most notably NBC. When the Peacock doesn’t have a Phelps race and one isn’t on the horizon — admittedly a rare circumstance — it goes right to the Phelps highlights. Wednesday night we got a montage of all 11 of his gold medal swims. Just because. You know, it had been 10 minutes since he’d been mentioned.

Even the hench networks, churning out hours upon hours of lesser-glam sports during the daytime, find it necessary to throw in a Phelps highlight every once in a while. I think I’ve seen a packaged feature called “Eat, Sleep, Swim” something like eight times.

With Phelps having a quiet day Thursday, swimming one heat, the over-under on video clips of that 4-by-100 medley celebration on Thursday night’s show is seven. Get your bets down.

It’s annoying to be annoyed by something so great.

Now I don’t have anything against Micahel Phelps. Hell, he’s a fellow Marylander and I’m happy that he’s won all his gold medals. But with NBC the Phelps coverage is turning into overkill.  I love watching the swimming competition but NBC is driving me nuts with all Phelps, all the time.

Congrats to James Blake

Wow, I was shocked when I read that James Blake defeated Roger Federer earlier today in the Olympic Mens tennis competition. 

BEIJING — More than just another upset victim on a rain-slogged night filled with them, Roger Federer walked off Center Court at the Olympic Green Tennis Center to a quick burst of applause and a brief standing ovation. The fans looked like confetti in their pastel rain ponchos, but this was not the kind of going-away party Federer wanted. He moved quickly out of sight.

It was the last singles match he would play as the No. 1 player in the world, unless he someday regains the ranking he has held for four and a half years and will surrender to Rafael Nadal on Monday. James Blake beat the suddenly beatable Federer, 6-4, 7-6 (2) in the quarterfinals of the rain-delayed Olympic tournament.

Federer has won 12 Grand Slam tournaments but never an Olympic medal, finishing fourth in 2000 and losing in the second round in 2004.

Go James!!

Unfortunately the Williams sisters both lost today. Venus Williams lost to China’s Li Na 7-5, 7-5. Little sister Serena lost to Elena Dementieva, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.

It was a common sentiment among several players unaccustomed to early exits. Li Na of China, the 42nd-ranked women’s player, boosted by a boisterous home crowd, knocked Venus Williams from the tournament, 7-5, 7-5.

On Court 1 earlier, a sluggish Serena Williams lost to Elena Dementieva, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Rain wreaked havoc on the schedule, creating the odd sight of Federer, Nadal, Novak Djokovic and the Williams sisters conducting rat-a-tat news conferences as the clock pushed past 2 a.m. The men managed to set up the semifinals on Friday — Nadal against Djokovic, and Blake against Fernando González.

On the women’s side, Dementieva and Vera Zvonareva will star in an all-Russian semifinal, while Li awaits the winner of the Jelena Jankovic-Dinara Safina quarterfinal match that never began.

Close to midnight, the fans at Center Court saved the day’s biggest ovation for Li. They waved small flags and wriggled in their seats, struggling to control their groans and cheers during long rallies. Williams, the defending Wimbledon champion and the winner at the 2000 Olympics, fought off one match point, but not the second, sending a return into the net. It was another goose-pimple moment for the Olympic hosts.

“I just think she played the match of her life,” Williams said after she and her sister advanced in the doubles bracket, keeping those gold medal hopes alive. “Not much I could do about it.”

Loving the 2008 Summer Olympics

Well it’s day four of the 2008 Summer Olympics. I’m enjoying it so far.  I’ve been checking out everything they have to offer on NBC, MSNBC, USA and Oxygen (they showed the equestrian competition).  The remote has been my best friend for the past few days.  I’ve been watching swimming, volleyball, diving, beach volleyball, rowing, water polo, gymnastics, cycling and even a little bit of handball.  I missed the mens basketball game yesterday.  I was asleep. 

I was psyched over the 4×100 men’s relay last night.  Team USA won the gold medal by defeating the trash talking team from France.  Michael Phelps, Garrett Weber-Gale, Cullen Jones and Jason Lezak won the gold medal for the United States. That was an amazing race.

There’s been a bit of rumbling over the Chinese womens gymnastics team. Legendary gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi has been doing alot of complaining about the Chinese girls. Some of the girls look very young. The youngest age accepted for participation is 16 years old. But after watching the competition yesterday I find it hard to believe that one of the Chinese gymnasts is 16 years old.

The young lady on the far left is 4’5 and weighs 68 pounds. She looks like an eleven year old, not sixteen. I couldn’t believe how tiny and young looking she was when I saw her on television. All the Chinese girls are terrific gymnasts but the age thing baffles me. I’ve seen some young looking American gymnasts in all the years I’ve been watching Olympic gymnastics but I don’t remember any looking like an eleven year old.

Anyway I have two more weeks of Summer Olympic enjoyment.  You only get this every four years.

2008 Summer Olympics

The opening ceremonies for the 2008 Summer Olympics took place today in Beijing, China. 


 
For some reason I haven’t been that psyched about the Summer Olympics this year.  I’ve always looked forward to watching the Summer Olympics in the past.  It might have something to do with all the stuff going on in China.  Maybe when the competitions start I’ll get excited.  Every four years I look forward to watching gymnastics, swimming, track & field and diving.  The past few Summer Olympics have gotten me interested in other sports as well that I never paid attention to before.  This includes rowing, the equestrian competition, beach volleyball & volleyball, rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming. 

You can check out Summer Olympic information at the following sites:

The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

NBC 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing

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