The Olympics are, hands down, my favorite sporting event. It started when I was two, and my mother, an Olympics junkie if you’ve ever seen one, pretty much forced me to watch the 1984 Summer and Winter Olympics instead of doing normal two-year-old things. This caused me to mimic Mary Lou Retton by diving head first off my couch when my parents weren’t looking, which then resulted in my first of two childhood concussions when I went flying into the window. (The other came while roller skating when I was four, back before helmets were all the rage.) Since then, I drool over the Olympics like Homer Simpson drools over donuts.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to follow the Bejing Games as much as I would like. I have been traveling for work, and haven’t been able to catch the games. I have been trying to stay up for the late night replays, but have been passing out whenever I see a bed. I have missed so much of the gymnastics, and I feel out of the loop. However, here are the observations regarding the little bit I have seen:
The Injured Americans – I honestly believe Alicia Sacramone is injured, but is just the least injured of the team (besides Shawn Johnson and Nastia Lukin.) Reports out of the Olympic Training Camp last month kept mentioning that Sacramone was favoring feet, tweaking ankles, and heavily wrapping her legs. When I saw her back in June at the National Championships, her legs were wrapped like a mummy’s. She’s the least injured of the remainder of the team, given that Bridget Sloan was never 100%, Scrunchie Girl Chellsie Memmel broke her ankle, and who the heck knows what Samantha Pesek did to her ankle exactly. If they had had the full team, Sacramone would have been able to complete two events, instead of three, and would have placed less impact on her already worn legs. And why are they all injured up the wazoo? Because of the awful three round selection process, which made this group of gymnast go full out for two months, instead of training whichever way is best for them, which leads me to my next point…
Hi! Ho! The Karoylis Have Got To Go – Well, a centralized training camp with a national team coach may have worked in Communist Romania, and there exists state media who won’t question your team choices and decisions, and you treat gymnasts like goods instead of humans. But it just will no longer work here in the US. Marta Karyoli has no understanding of start values and difficulties in the new judging system – lest we forget that even without the mistakes of the US in the team final, they still would have lost because they were barely out-scored in difficulty by the Chinese. Or, if Marta does possess such an understanding, her gymnasts are so injured that they can’t possibly perform those skills. Of course, then we had her awful excuses and claims of unfairness after her team won silver. Oh, that might have worked when your husband was in Romania and walked out of an international meet because of “mis-scoring” of his gymnasts because they were trying to “sabotage” him (detailed in Little Girls in Pretty Boxes), but it’s not going to work here in 2008. Just suck it up and retire, Marta. You and your husband need to ride off into the sunset and stop tainting USA Gymnastics.
Despite What Everyone Else Thinks, I Still Love Shawn Johnson’s Floor Ex – Why all the hate, Paul Ziert of International Gymnastics? Ziert, in his live-blogging of the women’s floor exercise final today, stated: “This music just doesn’t do it for anyone… no place to clap along.” That may be the lamest excuse ever not to like a piece of music. That also may be the worst comment ever made about a floor exercise.
I have said it before, and I’ll say it again, Shawn Johnson’s floor exercise music – from the August Rush soundtrack – is the floor exercise music I would choose if I were a music supervisor for a movie about a gymnast winning the Olympics. It’s an attainable piece of instrumental music, it builds several times, and it matches the gymnast’s personality. It’s great live and great on TV, and I just can’t watch it enough. But I think I’m the only one.
The Chinese Gymnast Goes Indian – I heart Jiang Yuyuan’s floor exercise for what it represents. The Chinese gymnast throws down a darn good floor exercise with actual factual dance elements to Indian music. It’s rare that you see the Chinese perform on floor with such expression and to ethnic music of another country, no less! Hate the Chinese if you will, I enjoy the fact that Jiang is actually showing facial expression and carrying arm movements through the tips of her fingers (my biggest pet peeve.) Jiang Yuyuan, no matter what age you are, you are my Scrunchie Girl of the Olympics thus far.
As for my hockey note of the day, one of my favorite AHL bloggers/journalists, Jonathan Bombulie of the Citizens Voice of Wilkes-Barre and Times-Tribune of Scranton, reported on Friday that the Penguins organization signed two free agent goalies this past week, but did not make any moves to replace the departed Ty Conklin on the goalie depth chart. Bombulie believes that this is a vote of confidence in Everyone’s Favorite Goalie, John Curry, to be the number three goalie in the Penguins organization. He’s the Rudy of ice hockey, that Johnny Curry! From college walk-on to Hobey Baker finalist to Calder Cup finalist…and now number three behind Marc-Andre Fleury and Dany Sabourin. If there’s ever a goalie to rally behind, it’s Curry. (And yet this news has not yet made the Terrier Hockey Fan Blog yet, despite their weekend update…when will people catch on?)
And for a fun time, I reccommend listening to WGR Buffalo the afternoon after a Buffalo Bills pre-season win where Trent Edwards looked pretty good. I did while at work on Friday afternoon, and it was a Bills love-fest, which is always appreciated. When you need a break from the WEEI’s of the world, listen to the live streaming feed of WGR, where they not only just talk sports, but a wide variety of sports – Friday afternoon was not just a BIlls love-fest, but also had a good discussion on Blue Jay’s pitcher Roy Halliday and a rehashing of the Brian Campbell trade at the trade deadline this past winter by the Sabres. And who doesn’t enjoy Buffalo radio ads?