Another Olympics has come to a close, and we've had the usual barrage of doping controversies to mull over, varying from scurrilous insinuations about 16-year-old girls to justified concern over rehabilitated (and unrepentant) ex-dopers winning medals. So, what else is new? Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of this Olympics is how comfortable we’ve become with drug use in sport. It’s reached the stage where news of an athletics gold medalist testing positive for steroids barely merits the jaded raise of an eyebrow. Yet Nadzeya Ostapchuk is the only Olympian (so far) to have been stripped of a medal in 2012, which compares favorably with five medalists in Beijing, nine in Athens, and eight in Sydney. This has either been the cleanest Olympics this century, or, if you’re of a more suspicious frame of mind, the one with the least effective drug testing. Some people certainly suspect the latter; witness this extraordinary article on Ye Shiwen from the host nation’s most popular non-tabloid newspaper. But let’s put talk of genetically modified swimbots aside, and look at what’s actually happened in the world of swimming, because it’s certainly been noteworthy.
I, Rembert Browne, have nothing to offer an Olympian with regard to the holding of hands, the making of love, the walking of aisles, or the having of children. Please do not waste time trying to convince me otherwise; I know it to be true and I am slowly coming to grips with that as fact. It's OK, though, because for the sake of the Human Race, I firmly believe Olympians need to mate with other Olympians, if for no other reason than to create super-offspring that will protect our kind against the Unknown when they attack Earth in 36 years.
The other day I had an appointment with a new doctor. I fasted the night before, thinking he would draw some blood because my cholesterol levels were going to be checked. Note to other fat people planning on fasting before seeing a doctor: Do NOT schedule the appointment for 4 p.m. Way too late in the day. But I did, and since it was a new doctor and I figured I'd have to fill out a ton of paperwork, I got to the office at 3:45.
Four p.m. passed ... 4:30 ... 5 p.m. My starved blood was starting to boil over, as was my iPhone, which couldn't take another round on the free Texas hold'em app.
Via the KingJames Instagram feed. Genuinely asking here. On one hand, I guess you get a high vantage point of the swimming action. And one would think, up in the nosebleeds, there would be less kerfuffle over the best basketball player in the world attending a swim meet. On the other hand, you're the best basketball player in the world, attending a swim meet. Why not go front and center with a big, foam "We're #1" finger and go crazy for Missy and Phelps, front and center. Plus, everyone loves the smell of chlorine in the morning! Smells like victory.
If you haven't been reading Shane Ryan's Olympic Viewing Guides ... well, you should be reading Shane Ryan's Olympic Viewing Guides. Shane has traded his sanity and sleep schedule to watch pretty much every jump, leap, shot, throw, heave, dive, and vault of these games, so we could think of no better person to wrap up this first week with a list of the top 10 moments of Olympics so far.
We're nearing the end of the first week, so I thought I'd take this moment to run down my top ten memorable moments of the London Games so far. Yes, these will be incredibly Americo-centric (it doesn't matter if that's not an English word, because we're not English). There have been a slew of incredible athletes, dramatic finishes, and inspirational stories, and no list comes without debate. But here's my list, and keep in mind that it's the correct one. Live Extra video links are included.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday.
Michael Phelps out-dueled Ryan Lochte in the 200-meter individual medley to win his 16th Olympic gold and 20th medal overall. A heartbroken Lochte told reporters that he was really sad to finish second, since the other swimmers told him the gold medal is the only one with chocolate inside, and he still can't get the foil off of his 400 IM gold.
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.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday.
With a silver medal in the 200-meter butterfly and a gold in the 4x200 freestyle relay, Michael Phelps now owns 19 Olympic medals, surpassing Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina for the most medals of all time. When reached for comment via telephone, the 77-year-old Latynina couldn't be heard over my loud shouts of, "COLD WAR OVER! U-S-A! U-S-A!"
American swimmer Allison Schmitt won her third medal in London, and her first-ever gold, with a dominant, Olympic record performance in the 200-meter freestyle. She then enjoyed an awkward hot tub bath with a naked Kathy Bates. Hold on … am I thinking of Allison Schmitt, or the movie About Schmidt? It's definitely one or the other …
The XXXth Olympic Games are well under way, and much like the previous Games, this one is booooring. You’d think by now that watching a Russian teenager shooting an arrow wildly off target would get the blood going — but no. Not on YouTube and not in front of a billion people during the Olympics. But do you know what would make it more exciting? Nothing. Nothing in the world would make it exciting. I tricked you. Either way, the bottom line is, as lethargic as the events are, it’s our duty to attempt to spice them up.
That, combined with the fact that this is a business, and it’s imperative to build a gambling nest egg for ... you guessed it ... preseason football.
I’ve examined the remaining Olympic propositions the gambling gods have generously offered. The best part about this is I am not at all familiar with these events, which means I actually have a puncher’s chance at winning.
Can you believe the Olympics have only been going on for a couple of days? The past two days of competition have felt like two weeks. Already champions have been made and unseated, rivalries have been strengthened, American TV viewers have utterly lost their minds … and that's just in swimming alone. Here's a look at who really rose above and beyond over the weekend: It's our own Poolside Podium!
Two of the most demonstrative wins of the weekend came not from the usual suspects (Australia, the U.S.) but from China. Sun Yang became the first Chinese man to earn a gold medal in swimming when he won the 400 freestyle on Saturday, and he reacted with a barbaric yawp, his flexed torso rising so far out of the water that it seemed like he was levitating in celebration. (My colleague Shane Ryan did not appreciate the maneuver, calling it an "Overt Display of Righteous Fury"; I didn't really mind it, but it certainly did have the patina of 'roid rage that Shane pointed out. More on that in a sec.)
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on over the weekend.
In their first duel of the Olympics, Ryan Lochte dominated Michael Phelps to take gold in the 400-meter individual medley. "Sure, Ryan swam well," said an irritated Phelps, defending his legacy, "but has he ever mated with a dolphin? Because I have. I mated with a damn dolphin, and she came on to me."
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.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports over the weekend.
Tiger Woods moved into second place on the all-time PGA tour wins list behind Sam Snead by out-dueling Bo Van Pelt to win the AT&T National golf tournament at Congressional. "Operation Kill Tiger must now enter the next phase," said a member of the Sam Snead Legacy Foundation on a clandestine phone call. "Also, we should think about changing the name. Not very subtle, Gene. Son of a gun, I did it again. No names on the phone. Always forgetting that. Always forgetting that."
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Thurday.
Lukas Rosol, virtually unknown in the tennis world, upset Rafael Nadal in the second round at Wimbledon, prevailing with a spectacular fifth set on center court. Things took an ugly turn late in the fourth set when Nadal began to "accidentally" dump clay that he keeps hidden in various parts of his body onto the Wimbledon grass.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Wednesday.
Tim Lincecum struck out eight over seven scoreless innings to earn his first win in two months and give the Giants their third straight shutout against the Dodgers, propelling them into a tie for first place in the NL West. The 3-0 win was such a relief for Lincecum that he shook his head around dramatically in the shower, eyes closed, wet hair flying everywhere, clearly pretending he was in a triumphant sports movie. Players nearby reported that he could be heard singing the words to Styx's "Show Me the Way," which everyone thought was pretty much a perfect choice for that scene.