August 17, 2008

Olympics Days 5 through 7 in review

As we entered the weekend in Beijing, the Olympics have really been heating up! Here are some of my favorite highlights:

- In Gymnastics, it was time for the all-around competitions. Amongst the men there was a lot of hopping and falling going on, which allowed Yang Wei of China to sail to a win. But it was the tear-stained joy of Frenchman Benoit Caranobe winning the bronze that made it a fun watch. More fun was to be had watching the women, where it was a clear competition between the two Americans. In the end, the long lines and pleasant artistry of Nastia Liukin clinched the gold, but big ups to Shawn Johnson for being one of the sweetest silver medalists ever.

- I did get to watch some Archery online, and as expected, the Koreans dominated the individual competitions. Note to self: Do not wear a Target shirt when visiting Seoul.

- Finally, NBC broadcast some Badminton on TV! We got to watch the gold medal match in the women's indvidual competition, which was between two Chinese women - Xingfang Xie and Lan Lu. I know you won't believe me, but it was so exciting to watch! Xie was so powerful, defending her title to take the gold. It almost makes me want to pick up a racket and play!

- There were a lot of qualifying rounds in various track & field sports. The first medal handed out was in the men's Shot Put, which unfortunately I didn't see, and I don't see it online. But I can tell you that bearish American Christian Cantwell won the silver, and you can see photos of the competition, or you can read a recap.

- Last night while at a party at Sterfanie's new place, we actually sat and watched the entire women's Marathon, and none of us really know why we did! And with so many women in a pack, we couldn't make out countries or names for a long time, so we gave them our own names. Sadly, party favorite "Pigtails and Knee Socks" did not place. It was Romanian Constantina Tomescu who was running ahead all by herself for the gold, while "Big Sunglasses" edged out "Rat Tail" for the silver.

- The fastest man alive is from Jamaica, as Usain Bolt cruised to the gold medal in the 100m Dash, followed by Richard Thompson of Trinidad & Tobago and American Walter Dix. Yeah, mon!

- But of course the biggest excitement was all happening in Swimming. First up was the men's 100m Free, where Alain Bernard got his revenge on my boyfriend Jason Lezak (who settled for bronze). In the women's 200m Breaststroke, it was 19 year-old American Rebecca Soni who surprised us all for the gold! The American men went 1-2 in the 200m Back with Ryan Lochte edging out Aaron Peirsol. Then Michael Phelps picked up another gold with an easy win in the 200m IM. But it was his unbelievable "by a fingernail" touch at the wall to win the 100m Fly that really had the world in disbelief - gold again! Next up was the "splash and dash" 50m Free for the men, where no one expected Brazilian Cesar Cielo Filho to take it. For the women, it was German Britta Steffen who just edged out Dara Torres; but we love her anyway! The marathon event of the 1500m Free might not be a big ticket event, but it was a real joy to watch Oussama Mellouli win the first ever swimming medal for Tunisia! And then it came down to the closing events which are always exciting - the 4x100 Medley Relays. For the women, the Americans were really strong and should be proud of their silver medals, because those Australians were crazy fast. And in an incredibly exciting event, the American men won as once again it was my wonderful boyfriend JASON LEZAK who came from behind to take it all! And Michael Phelps enters history as the man to win the most gold medals ever in a single Olympics, with the blessing of Mark Spitz to go with it, but he can scarcely believe it.

Phew! So much excitement! Next up we'll have some event finals in Gymnastics, more Fencing, and we'll see who's the fastest woman alive.


Stef said...

Alas, poor Knee Socks, we hardly knew ye.

It really was so much fun watching the final Phelps event with all you guys, so my whole apartment building could hear us cheering! :-)

ScottE. said...

The Final Phelps Relay was certainly something special. An event for all humans to rally around! Bravo to a fellow Marylander!

Stef said...

Yay, kayaking! That's fun and different, congrats US ladies!

Stef said...

oops, not kayaking. rowing, eights. my bad. ;-)

The Kara said...

I was in a bar last night watching swimming - it was really fun to have everyone so focused and cheering. It's one moment when 'group mentality' is not such a bad thing!

joyous said...

Kara, it's not fun when you're in a bar, and everyone is cheering when the gymnasts do well, but then your boy friend cheers when someone lands on something other than their feet. That's just embarrassing.

Kelly Marsh said...

Did you catch he trampoline finals last night?!?! Who knew jumping on a tramp would be an Olympic sport. I'm sorry, trampoline, not tramp.

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