Phelps Dream Still Alive

Photo: ESPN

It one of the most improbable, amazing, and utterly incomprehensible comebacks in not just the history of swimming, but the history of swimming, US swimmer Jason Lezak kept Michael Phelps’ dream of eight gold medals in one Olympics alive Monday morning. It was the final of the 4 x 100 meter and Phelps was going for his second gold medal of the Olympics. Many forecasted that this would be the race that would stand between Phelps and history. The US team consisted of four world-class swimmers in Phelps, Lezak, Garret Weber-Gale, and Cullen Jones. Phelps led off for the US team, but when he finished his 100 meters, the United States sat in second behind a strong showing by Australia. As Weber-Gale finished off his 100 meters, the US had taken the lead by a slim margin, with the French coming on fast. Then came Jones, who lost significant time in his swim and left the US with almost no chance at gold.

Lezak entered the pool six-tenths of a second behind French swimmer Alain Bernard, who had stated earlier that the French were going to “smash” the Americans. The fast swimmer in the world at the 100m freestyle and with a big lead, Bernard was all but certainly going to make that promise come true. Bernard even began gaining ground on Lezak until he was a full body-length ahead of him, an insurmountable distance in swimming. Then, like a switch was turned on, Lezak started to fly. Bernard tightened up and the arena grew louder with people muttering “could he actually do this”. Ten meters to go and Bernard still held a significant lead on Lezak, but Lezak was not about to give up. He continued gaining ground and reached his hand out to the wall as far as possible, touching it just eight-hundredths of a second before the Frenchman, giving the US the victory. Lezak and his teammates erupted, screaming at the top of their lungs and pumping their fists into the air. Phelps was ecstatic, realizing that he had just won gold in his toughest event and the path was now clear for him to make history. Continue reading “Phelps Dream Still Alive”

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Euro 2008 and World Cup Qualifying

If you haven’t been following soccer lately, then you have missed out on some great action:

Euro 2008 is in full swing as the Group Round finishes up tomorrow with two great matches, Russia vs Sweden and Greece vs Spain. Those four teams are in Group D, the fourth of four groups in Euro 2008. Spain has already guaranteed itself a spot in the quarterfinals and Greece has already been eliminated. If Sweden beats or ties Russia tomorrow, they advance, but if Russia wNew York Timesins, then they move on to the quarterfinals. If you don’t find a do-or-die game like that enticing, then you are not a sports fan.

That is just one of four groups in Euro 2008, though the other three have completed all their matches. In Group A, Portugal and Turkey advanced with 6 points each while Switzerland and the Czech Republic were sent home early. In a similar do-or-die game between the Czech Republic and Turkey earlier this week, Turkey scored 3 goals in the last 15 minutes, including two goals by Nihat Kahveci in the final three minutes of the game, to beat the Czech Republic 3-2 and advance to the quarterfinals. Lead by Christiano Ronaldo, Portugal sailed through the Group Round with easy wins over Turkey and the Czech Republic. In their final game against Switzerland, Portugal sat most of their starters as they had already ensured themselves a spot in the next round. Playing a sub-par team, Switzerland defeated Portugal 2-0 in the game and captured their only victory of the tournament. Continue reading “Euro 2008 and World Cup Qualifying”