The Olympics, The US Team and Kazakhstan

August 11, 2016

 This Olympics seems a little different to me. Maybe it’s just because a four-year span creates a whole new storyline that seems fresh.   What I have seen so far is the dominance of swimming and gymnastics by the American teams which seems unparalleled. The usual competition from the Russians and the Chinese is not very strong which doesn’t diminish their efforts, but it shows just how powerful the US squads are performing. Certainly, the men’s basketball teams will conquer the world and track and field will have its share of medalist, but we might win kayaking too. We never win kayaking for crying out loud. I have been watching the Olympics since 1972 and have never seen the USA have so many great athletes all at once.  

Michael Phelps, the greatest Olympian of all time continues to push new boundaries that are fueled by the slightest bit of competition from others. Here’s is a man that has a gear that only a few athletes possess. He still has the desire to train constantly, for years on end, day after day. As I watched the 200m butterfly gold medal race, it was jaw dropping to see him lead the race from start to finish. Has there ever been an athlete to dominate a sport for so long? The list is short.

The woman’s gymnastics team is a storyline that few of us understand. Yes, they won the team competition but not only won it but was so better skilled and deep that was it never a question if they would win. By now everybody has the heard of Simone Biles the fire plug of a gymnast who is the reigning world champion. Along with Gabby Douglass, Madison Kocian and rest of the young ladies they appear to be so well trained and prepared it feels US woman’s gymnastic s has reached its pinnacle. After decades trying to catch up to the Russians and eastern bloc nations, they are now the ones that other countries will chase. It will be entertaining to see all of them compete in the individual events which will be another medal haul.

Another observation I have seen is how many parents and families have traveled to Brazil despite the warning of impending doom. It appears that every medal winner has their family in the stands rooting them on. I am a sentimental fool and love the crowd shot with the parents living on edge of their seat as their child performs. I just want the child to have their great Olympic moment, so the parents won’t have a coronary event on television.

I am ready for next week and the track and field events, my personal favorite. But I must admit I like watching most of the events, even rowing. I also find myself rooting for other countries because it wouldn’t be a competition if America won everything. I noticed that Kazakhstan won a medal in swimming. The guy that won that medal is now a national hero in that country, never having to pay for a drink the rest of his life. His name is Dmitriy Balandin, you will forget his name, but he will have a statue built in his honor.

This week has been great to watch not just because I love sports but also because a day without Trump and Hillary is a good day. Everybody needs a break from that over the top coverage and all of the attention on what one person said. Now if Michael Phelps declared he was running for president after the Olympics, he would probably win. The guy is unstoppable.