Tag Archives: 2012 Summer Olympics

A Cure for Post-Olympic Blues

Today I’m feeling blue.  I’ve got Post-Olympicitis.  My symptoms are restlessness, sadness, heavy sighing, fatigue, and lack of motivation to carry out normal activities.

Singing “The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow” isn’t helping.  But thankfully there are wonderful folks at BBC, including Newsday presenter Julian Keane who was incredibly thoughtful to share a video with me via Twitter.  It not only reminds us of the phenomenal job done by British athletes, but a reminder to also keep looking forward. Yes, ever forward!

Before I share the video, I want to take a moment to extend my gratitude to BBC for the support and kindness it showed this blog over the past two weeks.  I write this blog because I love the Olympics, and because it’s a means for sharing my  passion with others.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think someone would want to  hear my thoughts via mainstream media, much less BBC, the most highly regarded agency in broadcasting!  The producers and presenters for both BBC Newsday and BBC World  Have Your Say couldn’t have been nicer or more gracious; and for little ole me who was shaking with nerves about being on live radio, their gestures were more appreciated than they’ll ever know.

Now, enjoy this video which features some of Great Britain’s Olympians lip-syncing to Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.”

Faster, Higher, Stronger.

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But Wait! The Drama of London Isn’t Quite Over!

The cauldron’s been extinguished.  Athletes have packed up and departed the athlete village.  Some of the venues are being dismantled.   Yet the drama of the Olympics continues!

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Final Days in London: “Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow”

So long, London! (Photo from London 2012 Website)

I’ve never been good at goodbyes, and being the terribly sentimental person that I am makes them all the more difficult.  When I was younger, I remember crying as the flame was extinguished in Calgary, Seoul, and other games.   I didn’t want the games to end.

These games revived me.   They brought back the purest and rawest emotions that I remember having as a child.  And it felt so good.  Until the end when it was time to bid the 2012 Olympics farewell.

In the opening ceremony, LOCOG Chairman Sebastian Coe said of the Games, “There is a truth to sport, a purity, a drama, an intensity, a spirit that makes it irresistible to take part in and irresistible to watch.”  While the games between 2000 and 2008 are not to be admonished, London was special, unique.  For this fanatic, these games brought back to  the Olympics the “purity”, “intensity”, and “spirit”  that as a young child, I had found in the Olympics.

I once remarked that the Olympics were, as the late Bud Greenspan said, “Never Neverland.”  It is more than this.  It is more than just the unity of cultures from across the globe.  They are about what Chairman Coe also said in that opening ceremony speech:

“In every Olympic sport there is all that matters in life.  Humans stretched to the limit of their abilities, inspired by what they can achieve, driven by their talent to work harder than they can believe possible, living for the moment but making an indelible mark upon history.”

Just as it did in 1908 and 1948, London again welcomed the world for two weeks of glorious sport and competition, making the game more memorable than others.  Thousands of athletes came to London and made their own indelible mark upon history.   And just as I once was so many years ago, I found myself crying during the opening and closing ceremonies, in absolute awe of the strength, athleticism, and courage displayed by thousands of athletes.  And while these games were also “irresistible to watch”, they also gave me a sense of hope.  For the female Saudi athletes daring to compete, those athletes representing a war-torn country, or a competitor overcoming personal tragedy to attend these games, they all gave us hope.  They reminded us that it is not without pain, tears, courage, and determination that we achieve our goals.

Yes, Chairman Coe, Great Britain “did it right.”  We did see the very best of Britain, and for that we are all eternally grateful.  And as you said, these games have inspired a generation.

That feeling of extreme sadness I had as a child when the Olympic flame is extinguished….I had it again tonight.  I don’t want these games to end.  While the flame may have been extinguished, we will carry the memories of 2012 with us always, using them as a source of inspiration, whether we are young or old, athlete or fan.  Let us begin to count the days until Sochi and Rio, remembering, as the London Games reminded us, to always strive for Faster, Higher, Stronger.

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“And the Fanatic Goes to….”

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s that time again.  As we prepare to conclude the 2012 Summer Olympics, it’s time to reflect on these two weeks and bestow more honor on some of those who participated in these games.

There’s no red carpet pre-awards show, so let’s just get right to the awards.  I’ve got a closing ceremony to go watch!

Olympian with the best celebrity doppelgänger:

Alexander Vinokourov, Cycling: Could be a brother for Conan O’Brien!

Perhaps Vinokourov isn’t Ukrainian, or O’Brien isn’t Irish?!

Best Opening Ceremony Uniform:

Netherlands, who just barely beat out Belize for the best costume.  The v-neck sweaters with accompanying orange and blue was a bright and cheerful splash  of color to the fairly predictable array of costume, while remaining loyal to country colors.

Worst Exhibit of Sportsmanship:

Julie Jacobson/Associated Press Images

McKayla Maroney, who was none to happy with a silver medal, and was none too shy about displaying her dissatisfaction.

Best Sportsmanship:

Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

Grenada’s Kirani James not only won a gold medal, but won my vote for best sportsman, as he not only congratulated his fellow winners, but found it important to swap bibs with fellow competitor Oscar Pistorius.

Best Venue:

Eton Dorney, Venue for Rowing Canoe/Kayak Sprint

Best Come-From-Behind Victory:

Photo: Rob Schumacher, USA TODAY Sports

It’s one thing to come from behind and win.  It’s another thing to almost miss making the cut for the semi-finals, only doing fair in those rounds, and then storming back in the finals.  That’s just what David Boudia did in the men’s 10-Meter Platform, making him yet another American diver in the history books along with the late Mark Lenzi, and Greg Louganis.

Most Inspirational Athlete:

Photo: Associated Press

Oscar Pistorius, South African Runner

Most Exciting Win:

Three-Way Tie Between Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford, and Mo Farah

Best Fans:

Whether in the velodrome, at Greenwich park, along the Box Hill route, or inside Olympic Stadium, Great Britain can definitely be dubbed “Our Greatest Fans,” as they made the Olympics all the more enjoyable, showing true patriotism and loyalty.  Thank you, Great Britain!

Faster, Higher, Stronger.

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Days 12 & 13 in London: Is Usain Bolt the Greatest Ever?

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” – Sir Isaac Newton

Usain Bolt believes he’s the greatest. (Photo from skysports.com)

Although the Olympics have almost concluded, it wasn’t until we were over halfway through these games that we were treated to the appearance of Usain Bolt.  The Jamaican sprinter began the quest to repeat his performance from four years ago in Beijing, winning gold in both the 100 and 200 meters.  Mission was accomplished; and in addition to these two gold, he also helped his team win a gold medal in the 4×100 meters relay.   Once Bolt’s first race concluded, I had resigned myself to believing that yes, Usain Bolt is the real deal, and it’s just not possible that his lightning fast speed is anything but real.  I could finally relax and like this guy.  Along with millions of others, I needed to just sit back and enjoy watching him.  This merely lasted for a few days before I was turned off following his win in the 200 meters.  As he crossed the finish line, he did a few push-ups as if to say, “I’m not even tired.”  He then told the media that he was “now a legend” and “the greatest athlete to live.”

Yams may be part of the Jamaican diet, but apparently humble pie is not.

Bolt’s statement had me thinking:  Is he the greatest athlete ever?  Is he the greatest Olympian?

No.

We can say without question that Usain Bolt is the greatest sprinter in our time.  He has beaten all of his competition and set new world and Olympic records.  Many consider Michael Phelps to be another contender for this

Jim Thorpe (Photo from http://www.cmgwordwide.com)

title.  While I believe that Phelps is more deserving of the title than Bolt, he is not my choice either.  The title of world’s greatest athlete has, and still does, belong to Jim Thorpe.

When I think of who can be called the greatest Olympian ever or who we can say is the greatest athlete ever to live, I’m looking for someone who proved themselves over many years in various disciplines, events, or sports.    At the 1912 Olympics, American Jim Thorpe competed–and won gold–in not just one event, but two:  pentathlon and decathlon.  And because pentathlon and decathlon are both combined events combining multiple track and field events, Jim Thorpe wasn’t just proficient at sprinting and middle distance running.  He also excelled at the shot put, javelin, discus, long jump, high jump, pole vault, and hurdles.  Think about this.  How can we compare one race by Usain Bolt (two if we count both the 100 and 200 meters) to a grueling schedule of multiple disciplines over several days?

We must also take into account that 100 years ago, when  Jim Thorpe won his two Olympic gold medals, his conditions for training and competing were quite different from those of Bolt’s.  There was no aerodynamic clothing, or non-slip track surface.  Athletes like Thorpe competed on grass, dirt, and cinder ash, wearing heavy cotton clothing; leather cleats with metal spikes!  There were no juicer machines, sports nutritionists, or corporate sponsors.  Nor were there state-of-the art gyms with special weights and resistance training.  What could Jim Thorpe have done with training conditions of today as well as modern technology?

Thorpe wasn’t just a multi-event Olympic gold medalist.  He also excelled at baseball, football, and basketball, and he was good enough to play professionally in all three of these sports.

While it might not technically be a qualification for the title of either greatest Olympian or athlete, Thorpe possessed one other quality which makes him all the more deserving in my book:  humility.  It is giants like Jim Thorpe whose shoulders Usain Bolt has stood on to reach his achievements.  And most of those predecessors, like Thorpe, did so humbly.

Faster, Higher, Stronger.

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Filed under 2012 London Olympics, Athletics/Track & Field