Monday, August 23, 2004

The triumphant end of the meet

Well, it looks like the majority of my Olympic watching came to a close with the end of the swimming events on Saturday night. I made Mom and Dad TiVo the night for me since I was co-hosting Sassy’s 30th birthday party with Marshall. The backyard BBQ part was rained out, but since they have a phat front porch, the night was salvaged to the point of being a kickass party. There were a ton of people, loads of good food and we managed to make the keg last until the end of the night. Rock on. There was a rather spirited round of Pass-the-Jager, but we all survived, so bonus. Sassy couldn’t look less 30 if she tried. She also confessed to liking the rain, so even the weather cooperated, in a sense.

I’m delighted that the rain finally kicked in. Yes, I’m weird.

Back to our regularly scheduled Olympics coverage. Watching the end of swimming is always bittersweet because I love it so much, but on the other hand I also know that it’s pretty much the end of my interest in the Games as I’ve never been much for track and field. I do like watching pole-vaulting, so you just never know.

Disclaimer: I am a fan of Michael Phelps. Just so you know. However, I got really tired of every swimming event being All. About. Michael. I’m truly surprised that TPTB at NBC didn’t figure out some way to superimpose him swimming over Ian Crocker in the 4X100 medley relay. I mean, the kid swam something like 18 events and he was getting the medal the team earned anyway. He and Ian both swam breathtaking butterflies earlier in the day. Why wouldn’t he hand off the relay swimming to Ian Crocker? It makes perfect sense to me. Poor Michael was probably just stoked to be out of the water for 24 hours. Besides, I feel obliged to point out that setting a new world record didn’t happen by accident. It happened because there were four world class athletes swimming at the top of their game. The ever-talented (and easy on the eyes) Aaron Peirsol swam a new world record and it counts, since he was the lead leg. Brendan Hanson got to touch the wall before Kitajima, so that had to feel good. Ian Crocker swam an amazing leg and Jason Lezak pulled out an astounding lead to finish well before the world record. It was amazing to see, and I’m disappointed in NBC for taking the glory away from these athletes by constantly panning over to Michael. I just think it diminishes their race a little bit. What Michael did was selfless, impressive and mature. What his teammates did was historical and amazing. I’m proud that they are representing my country. Same with the women’s relay team. Natalie Coughlin is one of my new heroes. I loved the comment that the Australian team needed a world record to beat the US. It was an incredibly graceful way to accept the silver medal and I am every bit as awed by Natalie, Amanda Beard, Jenny Thompson, and Kara Lynn Joyce.

Speaking of disrespectful, I was watching platform diving last night and the cameras followed a visibly upset Emilie Heymans for far, far too long. It was illness-inducing that they decided to follow her away from the pool and into the room next door as she was dealing with the loss of a medal. The fact that the camera was even there was repulsive and I cannot believe someone stayed there that long. It was voyeuristic and completely nauseating. Let the girl get emotional in peace, for God’s sake. Gah.

Other than that, I thought the track and field coverage was interesting and concise. I cried my way through the spot on the Afghani women who are competing as well as women from other Middle Eastern countries, many being the first their country has ever sent. I think it’s a testament to the human spirit and I am awed at the sheer courage of these women for triumphing over odds I cannot even fathom.

OK, so maybe I’m not done with the Olympics yet. Famous last words, eh?

Quote of the Day: “Cursed missed opportunities/am I part of the cure/or am I part of the disease?” Clocks, Coldplay

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