The Etch A Sketch is Back!

I’m off and on watching the Russia-Spain basketball semifinals right now and I happened to look up during a timeout and guess what the Spain coach is using to draw up play during a timeout? An Etch A Sketch with basketball lines on it:

Pretty cool, huh?

This also gives me a chance to praise BBC’s coverage of the Olympics. I was extremely upset with NBC’s coverage, but I’m on a family trip right now in Europe and have had the chance to watch a lot of coverage on BBC. They are showing everything live and on TV. The commentators have been terrific, nearly all experts in the sports they cover. It does help that the games are all timed so the best events are in prime time – I have no doubt NBC’s coverage would be significantly better if everything was in the Eastern time zone. But still, it has been a true pleasure to watch the Olympics over here – and that’s how it should be.

Gold Redeemed

Photo: ESPN

After 8 years if embarrassment, the United States’ Mens’ Olympic Basketball Team is back on top. While most of the country slept this morning, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and company squeaked out a 118-107 win over Spain to capturethe gold medal. Dwayne Wade scored 27 points and Kobe added 20 in a hard-fought, offensive game in which the US led by only 2 points with a couple minutes remaining. The US beat Spain by 37 points earlier in the Olympics and most people expected a similar result in the gold medal game. Spain had different ideas however. They came out ready to play and never let up. As a team, the Spaniards shot 51.4% from the field and 47.1% from 3-point range. They out-rebounded the US 37-31 and had only one fewer assist then the Gold Medal Winners. Pau Gasol had 21 points for Spain while Rudy Fernandez had 22 points. In what was supposed to be a celebration game for the US, Spain nearly pulled the upset of the Olympics.

As I look back on this gold medal run for the US team I have to wonder, why was this final game so close? Except for a preliminary game against Australia, the Americans destroyed every other team they met except for last morning’s game. They beat this Spanish team by 37 points earlier in the games and Spain was missing Jose Calderon this time. There is one glaring difference between the gold medal game and every other game the US played. The US took the final game for granted. Theystopped their throttling defense and yes, Spain shot the lights out, but they also had more wide open jumpers than any team that has played the US so far. It shouldn’t have been close, but it was. Kobe saved the team from another embarrassing upset by scoring 13 key points in the 4th quarter, including a four-point play in the final minutes of the game. Continue reading “Gold Redeemed”

The Greatest Olympian

Photo: SI

Michael Phelps completed the unthinkable last night, winning eight gold medals in a single Olympics to surpass Mark Spitz’s 36-year-old record of seven gold medals in one games. Phelps swam 17 races, won 8 gold medals, and set seven world records. He won one of the closest races of all-time, when he snuck in front of Milorad Cavic at the last moment to beat Cavic by .01 seconds. He watched Jason Lezak complete on the greatest comebacks in swimming history to keep Phelps’s hopes of eight gold medals alive. He has secured the title of Greatest Olympian of all-time. Some are even asking if he is the greatest athlete ever. Phelps’s accomplishments at this Olympics go past the unreal, past dreamland, and into the absolutely unimaginable.

Only Mark Spitz knows what Michael Phelps is going through. When you swimming 17 races at full speed in 10 days, conduct countless interviews, and get mobbed by fans everywhere you go, life must very tiring. Phelps pushed through though. He carried a smile at all times, except before races when he walked out headphones in his ears and a stern, concentrated look on his face. He may need a couple weeks off before getting in the pool again, but I don’t think so. With someone like Michael Phelps, he lives for he water and no amount of pain is going to keep him away from that liquid bliss. Will he back in 2012? Yes. Now I can’t say that for certain, but I cannot imagine a situation other than injury that would keep Phelps away from the 2012 games. Continue reading “The Greatest Olympian”