In this year's Olympic basketball competition, there are several teams that are a threat to medal, and maybe even to contend with Team USA. As the Games ramp up, we’ll be providing looks at the strengths, weaknesses, and medal chances of these possible contenders.
Because Spain qualified for the Olympics by winning 2011's EuroBasket, a large slate of preparation games was replaced by a long pre-Olympics training camp. During those limited opportunities, we did get to see just how good Spain can be. In its game against Great Britain (in which Spain competed without some of its key players), it was easy to see why many consider them to be the main threat to Team USA's gold medal run.
Last week, we told you that after winning eight gold medals in Beijing, Michael Phelps wasn't quite the same. Good? Yes. World-class? Yes. But Ryan Lochte, the brightest star in the U.S. swimming scene, was challenging his throne. There was the 200-meter individual medley at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai, where Lochte topped Phelps's personal best by setting a world record. There was the 200-meter freestyle at the same venue, a thrilling race that saw Lochte beat Phelps by .35 seconds. And most recently, Lochte took down Phelps last Monday in the 400-meter individual medley at the U.S. Olympic trials, though Phelps qualified for London by finishing second.
Whenever I want to know someone's true character, I ask them a very important question: Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte? If they say Phelps, I know they're a little goofy, a little quirky, and maybe dangerous. If they say Lochte, they're calm, ambitious, and maybe dangerous. If they say they don't follow competitive American swimming, they're lazy, ignorant, and probably afraid of water.