Sunday 25 October 1914: Woken up during the night with orders — probable advance ... They treat us as if we were Infantry always forgetting that we have not got the gun powder which Infantry have.
— Diary of a World War I Cavalry Officer, by Brigadier General Sir Archibald Home
As the Olympics drew to a close, there was a lot of talk about greatness. There was a lot of talk about Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Ashton Eaton, the USA women's soccer team, and medal standings. There was no talk about David Svoboda on NBC. But according to Olympic legend, or at least according to NBC's website, the modern pentathlon winner was supposed to be the greatest of all, the representative of moral as well as physical courage: the cavalry officer.
Marathons are always run on Sunday mornings. Race organizers will tell you that’s the most convenient time to close down the center of a major city, but last time I checked, the streets aren’t too crowded at 5 a.m. on a Thursday. Could it be that the real reason marathons take place on Sundays is so that ordinary, hung-over people sitting at home are guilt-tripped into buying pointless sporting equipment that will only be used once? Maybe it’s just me, but my attic looks like a gym’s locker room after the fire alarm has gone off. Only dustier.
So last Sunday, as I settled down with my bacon and Alka-Seltzer sandwich to watch the women’s marathon, I swore to myself: no more badminton racquets. And then, a brilliant idea hit me — why don’t I do the marathon? Or rather, the marathon course, for it’s only 10 miles long; the runners do three eight-mile laps, plus a two-mile loop around St. James’s Park. No need to run the whole thing. I’ll just do a lap, right? And I can write it up, as I hear that NBC’s commentators aren’t the best tour guides, and may struggle to accurately identify race landmarks such as Buckingham Palace and St Paul’s Cathedral. I can provide a guide to the course and get fit at the same time. Win-win, I think to myself, and plot the route of the course into a handy Google Map.
We're about halfway through the slate of swimming events in the 2012 Olympics, and things have not turned out exactly as expected. (Allison Schmitt's gold in the 200-meter freestyle and Matt Grevers's in the 100-meter back are the notable exceptions.) Ryan Lochte failed to medal in his 200 free; Michael Phelps didn't win gold in his 200 fly, and several youngsters swam out of nowhere to make waves. Let's take a look at who's standing atop the latest Poolside Podium.
GOLD: The Next Generation of Women
Ruta Meilutyte finished her 100-meter breaststroke and broke down in tears, as if she were trying to dissolve into the water. They were overwhelmed tears, though happy tears: Meilutyte had just put in a blazing 1:05.56 in Sunday's preliminaries, the fastest time of the whole field of swimmers. Later that night, in the semifinals, the 15-year-old Lithuanian outdid even that, pulling away to finish with a 1:05.21 and give her the top seeding for the final.
Kyrie Irving’s quest to win the Internet continued on Thursday. A couple months removed from dressing up as an old man and hustling dudes in pickup games, Irving came back to YouTube yesterday — this time challenging Kobe Bryant to a $50,000 game of one-on-one after a Team USA training session. Word out of Vegas is that Irving has torn it up in scrimmages against the Olympic squad. That makes sense. I’m not sure what other sort of feat could inspire this much chutzpah. The back-and-forth was so good that we decided to bring you the five best moments.
Chief official White House photographer Pete Souza is very good at his job, and has been for a very long time. Whether it was covering President Ronald Reagan's second term in office, Obama's road to the White House, the iconic Situation Room shot, or simply a spread of Wrigley Field, the man knows how to use a camera.
For the debut of Men in Blazers, the Grantland Network's English Premier League podcast, Michael Davies and Roger Bennett discuss what team soccer newbies should support, the difficulties of pronouncing the name "Grantland," and the innate authority of people who wear blazers.
Davies and Bennett also cover the worst weekends in London history, the early dominance of the EPL’s Manchester contingent, the problem-solving nature of oil money, and which former dictators and despots they would root for over Manchester United.