Olympics update: Texan Dana Vollmer Wins Gold

The Olympics are underway and we’ve seen some amazing performances so far including Texas’ own Dana Vollmer who set the world record in the 100 meter Butterfly with a time of 55.98 seconds.  Here  are some of the interesting storylines from the first few days of the Olympics:

Opening Ceremonies

The thirtieth Olympiad (XXX) got underway with the opening ceremonies Friday night in London. This is the third time the British capital has hosted the Olympics, more than any other city in the world.  The opening ceremonies did not  compare to the show Beijing put on four years ago.  Then again, who can compete with Beijing in ’08?  We will never ever see such a dazzling display like that again.  Some highlights and lowlights from Friday’s showcase included:

  • Showing the country’s history was interesting and the real grass was kind of neat.
  • The welding of the one ring that eventually joined together with four other rings that came from across the stadium to form the Olympic logo was very cool.
  • The bedtime skit…definite bust. Except for the giant 100-foot-tall Lord Voldermart.  That was cool.
  • Another disaster, the techno generation skit.  What was that?
  • The parade of nations was awesome again as it usually is.  And the pace was near record time compared to normal.  That’s so much better.
  • The brass petals were confusing, perhaps because I missed what Bob Costas said about them at the beginning of the parade.  Didn’t make sense until the torch lighting.
  • Nice concept of having the next generation run with the torch and pass it on to one another in the stadium.
  • What was up with all of the talk about David Beckham with the Olympic torch?  He didn’t do diddly apart from driving with it in a speeboat.  Big deal.
  • I agree with ESPN’s Michael Wilbon in his column.  No Elton John?  Really?!!
  • The queen looked less than thrilled to be at the opening ceremonies.  She sounded so unergetic when she said let the games begin.  I know she’s old, but really?  Come on!
  • Paul McCartney was awful.  Sounded bad, didn’t look great.  Perhaps the acoustics were bad.  I’m being generous here.  Your thoughts?

Day 1 Olympic Recap

The first true day of Olympic competition wrapped up with a number of intriguing results and storylines.  Among them included:

  • The US men’s archery team winning silver after upsetting South Korea in the semifinals.  They lost to Italy in the finals by a point, 219-218.  Heartbreaking to say the least after that great upset over South Korea.
  • Michael Phelps lost in the 400 IM yes, but considering he had only been training for the event the last nine months while teammate Ryan Lochte had been training since the ’08 Olympics ended, we shouldn’t be shocked that Lochte won and Phelps didn’t.  Then again, for Phelps not to place at all is a little stunning.  Still, with I believe four events left, Phelps will win at least one gold if not more.  Don’t expect another race where Phelps doesn’t win at least bronze.
  • China’s men’s gymnastics team struggled in qualifying rounds, haha.  They placed sixth in the first qualification, meaning they are most likely out of medal contention.  And they were the favorites (or at least the squad that would have given the USA men the biggest run for their money).  The US men finished first.  They have a strong squad that should bring home gold.
  • In women’s basketball, team USA struggled against Croatia for three quarters, before pulling away in the fourth, winning 81-56.  I’m sure it was just some first game jitters, but they need to be focused from the get go the rest of the way out.
  • In soccer, team USA beat Colombia 3-0.  Not a surpise there.
  • The duo of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings had a tough test against Australia, but were able to pull through in two sets.  They have yet to lose a set in any Olympics.  This was a tough match.  It wouldn’t be shocking to see them struggle a little bit more this Olympics than in previoius ones and even lose a set.  Having said that, I do expect them to win gold.

Day 2 Olympic Recap

  • In men’s basketball, team USA rocked France 98-71 in their first action of group play.  It’s not shocking that they won by this much.  They’re expected to play like this.  Spain and Argentina are the only tough tests that team USA will face in these Olympics.
  • The indoor men’s volleyball team crushed Croatia 3-0 in their first match of group play.  They played really well and were very consistent.  They have a tough match against Russia looming, so this was a crucial win.
  • The men’s water polo team knocked off Montenegro 8-7 in their first game.
  • Finally to the good stuff…swimmer Dana Vollmer of team USA set a record in the 100m Butterfly with a time of 55.98 seconds, the first woman ever to swim the 100m in under 56 seconds.  Of course, she won gold.  After not making the team for the ’08 Beijing Olympics, this had to be better than just any gold medal for Vollmer.  Good for her.
  • The ’08 men’s 4X100 team relay was an exciting race with a photo finish and team USA was able to pull it out by the slimmest of margins.  Well four years later in London, team USA was not quite so lucky.  They had a lead with Ryan Lochte anchoring the final spot on the relay team, but he was caught by the French anchor and France won gold in the event with team USA taking silver.  Michael Phelps won his first medal of these Games.  He’ll be going for gold in a few other events.  Don’t know if Lochte was tired or not from the previous day’s 400 IM gold, but it was a little disappointing the USA could not bring home the gold.
  • Finally to gymnastics where team USA looked really good to advance to the team finals, but unfortunately, number one gymnast in the world Jordan Wieber did not advance in individual all-around, losing by the slightest of margins to her two teammates Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas.  You have to feel for Wieber who had a great chance to get gold, but at least the USA has two gymnasts advancing to go for the all-around gold.
  • The rule that each country is limited to no more than two gymnasts has sparked a huge debate.  With 24 gymnasts advancing to the all-around, why not take the 24 best?  There is no way 24 gymnasts are better than Wieber.  And yes, we are making more of a big deal because she is an American, but the same argument would be and should be made if this were another country.  It is a rule that should be changed.
  • Through Day 2, China lead with twelve medals (six gold, four silver, two bronze). Team USA was second with eleven (three gold, five silver, three bronze).

Day 3 Olympic Recap

  • Good day for USA women’s volleyball.  The women’s indoor team got by a tough Brazil team in four sets and the fantastic beach duo of Misty May-Traenor and Kerri Walsh Jennings won their match in two sets.  Both teams are looking in fine shape to win a medal, with both favorites to win gold.
  • How about 17-year old Missy Franklin?  Two events in the books in her Olympic career and she’s earned a medal in both.  Last night she was terrific in winning the 100 meter backstroke and won her first Olympic gold medal.  What makes the feat more impressive is that it came on the heals of a heat in the 200 meter freestyle.  14 minutes to be exact.  Not bad.  She is a class act and is becoming a rising star of the Olympics.  Expect to hear more from her in the future.
  • Michael Phelps looked better in his 200 meter butterfly semifinal, winning that and advancing to the finals.  It’s his best event.  He should win gold in it.  That will take place tonight.
  • The USA men’s diving duo won bronze, the first time the men’s diving team has earned a medal since Atlanta in 1996.
  • The men’s gymnastics team had a disastrous day.  They couldn’t stick a landing, couldn’t stay on the horse.  Not a good performance.
  • It was a great performance for Great Britain, though, who earned a bronze medal in men’s gymnastics, their first medal in 100 years for men’s gymnastics.  It’s only a bronze, but the British will treat it as though it is a gold.  What an accomplishment.
  • And thanks to some financial maneuver to challenge the final result on the horse, Japan was able to reclaim silver instead of no medal at all and knocking Ukraine from the medal contention.  Feel for Ukraine.  That’s a tough pill to swallow.

Full results and all things Olympics including more storylines, interviews and full replays can be found at http://www.nbcolympics.com/.

It’s been a great ride so far.  Let’s hope the excitement continues.  The rest of the Olympics, including the fates of the fates of the American Olympians will continue to be written in the stars.

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Topics: Aly Raisman, Bob Costas, Dana Vollmer, Gabby Douglas, Gymnastics, Jordan Wieber, Kerri Walsh Jennings, London, Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, Misty May-Traenor, Olympics, Opening Ceremony, Ryan Lochte, Swimming, USA Basketball, Written In The Stars

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