Friday, August 3, 2012

Of shuttlecocks, swimming and dressage

The relatively harmless shuttlecock
The first week of the London Olympics provided incredible highs and lows for all the nations of the world.

The gymnastics competition was riveting, but any sport that needs to be "judged" to declare a winner is always suspect. Still, it was great to see Gabby Douglas win the individual gold medal, the first African-American to do so.

And, just as the pundits were writing off Michael Phelps after he lost the 200-meter butterfly by .05 seconds, an event he had won in the previous two Olympics, he went on his usual tear through the field.

After Phelps became the only man in history to win not one, but two, events in three consecutive Olympics, these same pundits claimed that, finally, Phelps solidified his place in history.

Are you kidding me?

Look, Phelps won 8 gold medals in Beijing and 6 gold medals in Athens. The world should be grateful he just showed up in London. And yet, he could end up with "only" 4 gold medals at the 30th Olympiad and a record 22 overall medals that should stand for decades, if not longer.

There will never be anyone like Phelps.

The Olympics always provide surprises, but did anyone predict the ridiculous brouhaha over badmintion?

First off, why is badminton even an Olympic sport? Sure, like ping-pong, it requires skill, but it's not that athletic.

Teams from China, South Korea and Indonesia were disqualified for throwing matches, by intentionally hitting the shuttlecock into the net or to the ground, to get favorable seedings.

Well, they deserved to be booted from the games. They disrespected their opponents.

Which leaves us with dressage, a French term for defining "the highest expression of horse training."

It's normally an event most Americans not only don't follow, but don't even know what it is.

More know what it is now, thanks to the wife of the Republican nominee for president who has a horse in the hunt.

Rafalca, Ann Romney's part-owned, 15-year-old German-bred mare, placed 13th with her German-raised rider in the preliminary round.

Ann Romney, the story goes, took to dressage to cope with her multiple sclerosis.

Still, it was a bit rude when the Mitt-wit said he wouldn't watch "Ann's sport" and claimed he didn't know which day the dressage event took place.

Of course, Mitt wanted to distance himself from one of his tax write-offs as reported by Bloomberg.

The Mitt-wit wants to avoid any discussion of his taxes, or lack thereof, since he refuses to release his tax returns for the past 10 years.

Sen. Harry Reid said Mitt doesn't want to release his returns since he paid no taxes.

So, here we are, trying to enjoy the Olympics, but talk of Mitt's "taxes" crowd the podium.

1 comment:

  1. "First off, why is badminton even an Olympic sport?"

    Simple answer is that it is the most demanding of the sports. Certainly badminton players work harder than volleyball or basketball players or any team sport where, if a player tires, the coach can substitute fresh legs. Like pure athletics (say the mile or the 10 km) badminton matches are often determined by outright fitness.