The Daily Bongo
2008 Summer Olympics: Beijing
Sunday, August 24, 2008 -- EveningThe closing ceremonies for the Olympics were really impressive. Lots of fireworks. We can only hope that they were live and not CGI as with the opening ceremonies. Tons of people were involved in the dance act. They had little lights on their outfits, all very pretty and well orchestrated. I thought it was great when they had the acrobats with the pogo-stick like shoes on. They were jumping around, reminding me of the contestants on Unbeatable Banzuke. The flame was then handed over to the mayor of London, where the 2012 Summer Olympics will be held.
Saturday, August 23, 2008 -- EveningThe Olympics are winding down with the closing ceremonies scheduled for tomorrow. Six athletes were caught doping at the Beijing games. Those caught include Ukrainians, Igor Razoronov (weightlifter) and Lyudmila Blonska (heptathlaon). Blonska lost her silver medal because she had a positive test for steroids. Others caught doping were: Spanish cyclist Maria Isabel Moreno, North Korean shooter Kim Jong Su, Vietnamese gymnast Do Thi Ngan Thuong and Greek hurdler Fani Halkia. Kim Jong Su was using some sort of blood pressure regulation medicine to slow his heart rate so he would have steadier hands at shooting. He had to give up his 50-metre air pistol silver and 10-metre air pistol bronze medals. You would think that they would all know that they would be tested and would get caught. So that must mean that they thought they were doping in a way that couldn't be caught. Or maybe the persan giving them the stuff just didn't do it right. You have to wonder how bright these folks are.
Thursday, August 21, 2008 -- EveningThe USA women's softball team lost the gold medal game to the Japanese yesterday. Well, we found out about it this morning because Beijing is 12 hours ahead of us. What I found interesting is that the US team appeared to have a ringer in the game. It's Crystl Bustos. Bustos looks and sounds like a 30 year old man, and she even has a widow's peak. I'm not sure if it's steroids or what that has Bustos looking AND sounding like a guy. The thing is that if I didn't know she was a woman, I wouldn't have figured it out from the interview. What do you think?
Wednesday, August 20, 2008 -- Late EveningExciting news at the Olympics! Misty May Treanor and Kerri Walsh just won the gold medal in women's beach volleyball. The pair is undefeated in the last 108 matches. It was getting nerve wracking for abit there because of the heavy rains that were going on for most of the match. But May-Treanor and Walsh pulled it off. We got to hear all the stories: how the pair almost broke up in 2006 when they were in a losing slump but stayed together and changed their coach; how Walsh hurt her shoulder, had surgery on it, and has the weird looking tape on it; how May-Treanor was going to sprinkle her mom's ashes on the court after the gold medal win (her mom died in 2002); and how Walsh lost her wedding ring in one of the earlier matches and had it found by the grounds crew. Xue Chen and Zhang Xi, from China, got the silver. After the match, Walsh and May-Treanor both said that although they still loved volleyball and weren't giving up on it, they both wanted to start families, future volleyball teams as May-Treanor said. It was really something to see their excitement. You would think that they didn't win the gold already in Athens.
Sunday, August 17, 2008 -- Early AfternoonRafael Nadal won the gold medal in men's single tennis today. Roger Federer had been out of the tournament since earlier in the week, but did manage to win a gold medal in men's doubles yesterday. Federer's performance over the past year has been interesting. Last year at this time, Federer was viewed as unbeatable with a impressive future ahead of him. Now he seems incapable of getting through a tournament to the end. It makes you wonder what has changed. Is it that he can't sustain the level of perfection that is needed to remain number one? Is it that he is aging? (only 27, but still!)
Yesterday evening, Michael Phelps won his eighth gold medal of this year's Olympics in the 4x100 medley relay. I believe that almost every swimming race in this year's Olympics broke a world record. The question that I have is how much of this level of performance is due to inate ability, and how much is due to performance enhancing drugs. I mean, when you have someone like Dara Torres who is performing better at 41 than she did in her 20s, you really have to question what the swimmers are doing, and I don't think it's all in the suits. As one of the guys on Sports Reporters said this morning, if this were any other sport, like baseball, and you had someone in their 40s outdoing their achievements in their 20s, you would instantly believe it was due to performance enhancing drugs. As I've said before, I think that this is the drugs Olympics. The athletes are just taking drugs that the IOC (International Olympic Committee) are not testing for because the drugs are so new or unknown.
Saturday, August 16, 2008 -- Early EveningThere has been a ton of controversy and questions about the finish in the Cavic and Phelps race. The Olympic officials, and the guys who created the timing system, assure us that we should not be question the validity of the results. However, I did find this picture from Sports Illustrated, and it does look like Phelps fingers might be slightly bent. I'm not sure what amount of pressure or how much of the surface of the finish pad must be touched. This race will probably be a question mark in some minds.
Saturday, August 16, 2008 -- MorningIt seems that Milorad Cavic's coach didn't get anywhere with his protest yesterday, and Cavic accepted the silver with grace. However, there are still a few of us out there who question whose hands touched the sensors first. If you look at this nice overhead picture, it looks like Cavic indeed had his fingertips on the sensor while Phelps' hands are still in midstroke. Oh well, it is what it is.
Friday, August 15, 2008 -- Late EveningI was just watching Michael Phelps race for his seventh gold medal in the 100 meter butterfly. Phelps was behind for most of the race, but they say that he touched the wall a hair's breath before Milorad Cavic. The thing is that as I watched the replays and the slow motion of the final, it looked to me as if Cavic was the one who actually touched the wall first. However, that wouldn't have fit in well with the fairy tale that is Michael Phelps. No, I'm not a Michael Phelps fan. However, it just looked really close and as it if went the other way to me. What I think is really funny is that the NBC guys were saying that it doesn't matter how it looks--because it does look as if Phelps finished second. They claim that the electronic pad that the swimmers touch at the end of the race show that Phelps finished first. Hmmm, interesting! The Serbians have filed a protest to have the race reviewed to make sure that Phelps won. More on the story tomorrow.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 -- Late AfternoonI watched the lamest Olympic sport today. OK, OK, it's probably not THE lamest, but it's one of them! Team handball. Have you seen team handball? Basically, it's a bunch of guys (seven) on a team, who run around throwing a volleyball sized ball to each other. The goal is to throw the ball into a net slightly larger than a hockey goal, and alot smaller than a soccer goal. This is another sport that probably doesn't need performance enhancing drugs. I could get a group of kids from the street on a team that would stand just as good a chance of winning as some of the national teams. What a huge waste of time! There was more controversy in China. The little girl who sang at the opening ceremonies was a stand-in lip syncer. You read that right. The original girl was told she wasn't that cute because of misshapen teeth. So the organizers had a pretty girl stand there, and lip sync because the girl with the misshapen teeth had a good voice. Tiki Barber and some woman announcer were outraged at it, but who really cares. I saw the pictures. The singer girl had crooked teeth. The other girl was perfect in looks (and teeth.) It's not a big deal. Things like this happen all the time. Actors (including child actors) don't sing. They are there for their looks, and a singer provides the voice. I think there are bigger fish to fry than being concerned about hurting a 7-year-old girl's feelings about being a great singer, but having crooked teeth.
Monday, August 11, 2008 -- EveningThere was a report on the news about the swimming times at the Olympics. There are world records being broken left and right, and everyone is wondering what the deal is. Well, the story was that it was the type of swimming suit that the competitors are using. It seems that Speedo came up with this new technique to make a swim suit that cuts down on swimming times. After competitors started improving performance, other companies came out with a similar suit. The most interesting comment in the story was Gary Hall, recently retired US swimmer and Olympic medalist. Hall commented that it could be the suit, or it could be the performance enhancing drugs. As Hall says, people take things that aren't on the banned substance list, yet, because the substance is new and the officials aren't aware of it. That's cheating because they know that as soon as the officials find out about it, it will be banned. So the report talked to Dara Torres, the 41 year old mother who made the Olympic swimming team. She said that she only takes amino acids that are on the approved list. I thought that was a funny statement. Here's a woman who is swimming faster in her 40s than she did in her 20s. Yes, that is highly suspicious, and it's not how the human body works. It wreaks of performance enhancing drug. Is she using a banned substance or an officially undiscovered one? When Jimmy Connors was competing in his late 30s and early 40s, he had some bright moments, but he admitted that he didn't perform at his early standard and that his recovery time was much longer. Are the athletes now just super men or women or chemically enhanced? I would bet on the latter.
Sunday, August 10, 20008 -- EveningOlympic observations:
- I don't think the badminton players take performance enhancing drugs.
- I can't believe a close-cropped beard will cause you to lose a swimming match, but it obviously will. So why doesn't the coach make players shave?
- Beijing looks very clean and modern when we see the city on TV. I think that I expected something less modern. Beijing looks like any other modern Western city, even with Westernized fast-food restaurants.
- I think that it's neat that Coke sponsored the Olympics show this afternoon on NBC and minimized the number of comercials. It was great to watch long stretches of sports without all those commercials.
- I cringe everytime I see the women volleyball players, drenched in sweat, give each other a big old hug. Imagine exercising in high humidity and heat, and then hugging with wet, smelly, flesh. Yuck!