Monday, August 13, 2012

London 2012: The Summer Olympics

Like most American households, we watched a lot of Olympics for the past couple of weeks. Sure we wished we had better control of what sports we were able to watch. Unfortunately, NBC got to make that decision for us. I would have liked to watch a little Hammer Throwing or maybe some Wushu! Steeplechase was recorded on my DVR, simply because I was fascinated with the name and had no idea what it was! I  linked it to Wikipedia here for you, because it's kind of interesting how the name came about, and what the runners were originally expected to do.

If you have an interest in history, I found a webpage with a slideshow that gives 10 Weird and Wonderful Former Olympic Sports.
The modern Olympic Games began in 1896. Since then, a lot more than the sporting attire and facial hairstyles have changed. From live bird shooting to solo synchronised swimming, we take a look at some of the most interesting and bizarre of discontinued Olympic sports...

We didn't watch the Olympics every night. We all gathered around the TV for the Opening Ceremony and watched the actors transform the set to show time passing for the British Isles. And I have to admit I got a little bored at the Closing Ceremony when Russell Brand came riding in.  But all in all, I love the excitement. I love to see how driven these people are to be the best in their sport. And I really love watching the flags drop and seeing their eyes well up with tears as the National Anthem plays... that moment when the gravity of the moment sinks in on them.

A few not-so-great moments, for us (and maybe you too) from this year's Olympics:
  • When News stations would try to give Spoiler Alerts telling us to look away as they said who won the gold medal - and it was to be the big event to be telecast that evening. The whole concept seemed odd.
  • When NBC cut the part of the Opening Ceremony that was dedicated to those Londoners who lost there lives due to the suicide bombing that occurred in London just after it was announced that they would host the Summer Games.  Then I read that there was controversy because no one has EVER done a tribute to the Israeli athletes that were killed in the Munich Olympics of 1972
  • The Chinese and South Korean Badminton teams throwing their matches so they could position themselves against weaker opponents. Wow! Bad sportsmanship in the Olympics?? I guess I'm naive. 
  • The unfortunate rule in gymnastics that only 2 can represent the country. On the surface, this sounds okay. But if you are really trying to get the TOP 24 in the sport to compete against each other, some countries are just not going to get to send someone. Let alone, 2! And thus became the saddest moment - watching World Champion Jordan Wieber realize she was not going to compete in the Individual All Around for Gymnastics. She was behind Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman in points - so even though she was head and shoulders ahead of MANY of the others who competed, she would not get to go. If this is confusing, here's an article about it.

London Olympics

So, because I'm a visual person, here were our personal favorites from the London Summer Olympics:

Ahhh...The USA Women's Gymnastics. We look forward to these events every Olympics!
Incredible talent, focus (and muscles!) on these girls!

Our favorite TEAM: Misty May-Treaner and Kerri Walsh-Jennings. These two knew what the other was doing even when they had their backs to each other. It was a TREMENDOUS display of knowing your partner - no wonder that were undefeated! So much fun to watch!

 And Missy Franklin, the 17 year old swimmer. We loved her story and we loved to watch her pull ahead of everyone when she swims!

The Rhythmic Gymnastics exhibition was impressive too! Those girls redefine the word FLEXIBLE!

 Michael Phelps was a incredible to watch! 
It was exciting to watch him win the most medals of anyone EVER! 22 total and 18 of them are Gold!!

And the Men's Swimming Team was fun to watch. I always like hearing their bios about what their lives are really like. And those Olympic bodies! Wow! After watching them a few nights, Katie said very matter-of-factly, "I'm just going to have to get back into swimming, I think."

Rio de Janeiro,
for the next Summer Olympics!

Just a cool photo of the Hurdles from SportsIllustrated Instagram

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