NBA Basketball Column: Scott's Olympic Shots
A Dream Team-Sized Olympic Rant
We have watched more than a week of the 2012 London Olympics and I must say, these are still difficult Games to put into some kind of historical perspective.
They are certainly America’s Olympics. The United States anthem has been played 28 times in England this past week. That’s sort of disconcerting, perhaps, when you figure the Star Spangled Banner is a poem about the U.S. kicking the crap out of England in a war.
These are also China’s Olympics. Which is also disconcerting when you figure that China probably owns as much of Britain as it does the United States.
Now there have been some wonderful stories this year but as yet, there really isn’t anyone who could be called, “the face of the Games,” as Michael Phelps was in Beijing. Even though Phelps won his 18th Olympic gold medal last week. He now has more gold medals than anyone else has medals. Maybe Phelps is still the face of the Games.
For Canada, outside the gold medal trampoline performance of Rosie McLennan, the greatest story the past week has been the outstanding effort of a cyclist named Clara Hughes. In the time-trial, Kristin Armstrong, a 39-year-old American mom, won gold while Hughes, a 39-year-old woman who has battled depression for most of her adult life, finished fifth. Hughes is one of those very rare individuals who have won Olympic medals in both the Summer (cycling) and Winter (speed skating) Games.
But what made Clara’s story even more remarkable is what we learned after the race was over. Seems Hughes fell during training in May and broke a vertebra in her back. She trained and then competed in the Olympics at age 39 with a broken back. Finished fifth. And never told a soul until she was done. Incredible.
Meanwhile, there were have been as many dumb stories as inspiring ones. Maybe that’s the story of these Games: The sheer stupidity of some people – PED users aside. In fact, the stupid list is quite significant
(1) Eight female badminton doubles players were booted from the Games after trying to lose matches on purpose to receive a more favorable place in the tournament.
On the surface, it sounds horrible, athletes losing on purpose. But look a little closer and you realize that the idiots – and they are complete idiots -- who run the Badminton World Federation kicked the teams out because their own Olympic draw was a total farce.
The BWF announced it’s ruling after investigating two teams from South Korea and one each from China and Indonesia. It punished them for “not using one’s best efforts to win a match” and “conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport” in matches last Tuesday night. Bull-pucky.
So what were the athletes doing? They were using strategy to try and win gold medals. The idiots in the BWF had created a draw in which it was more beneficial to lose early and go up the B side to gold than it was to win early and face difficult opponents in the second round on the A side. The North American mainstream media, as it always does, sided with the morons wearing blue blazers, the muttonheads who came up with a horrendous draw, a draw that rewarded losing.
Hurrah! We kicked those nasty athletes out of the Olympics while the aristocratic European in-breds who spend way too much time swilling cognac get off without so much as a slapped wrist.
Good thing justice is blind because in this case the judges are stupid.
(2) Speaking of stupid, why would you take the Olympic Oath and then Tweet to the world that you support far right-wing hate-based political parties?
Ahh, just figured it out. You were already stupid when you pledged allegiance to far-right wing, hate-based political parties.
(3) Before the Olympics began, basketball fans – and more importantly, the basketball media -- got into some pretty heated arguments about which team was better, the 1992 U.S. Dream Team or this year’s team with LeBron and Kobe and Kevin Durant.
I hate trying to compare eras and I don’t believe there will ever be a team as good as the ’92 U.S. team, but until Saturday, you could have made a decent argument for the 2012 team.
On Saturday, however, Team USA proved it’s a very good team, but it isn’t close to the 1992 team when it had to rally late to sneak past Lithuania 99-94.
The Yanks barely shot 44 per cent as a team. Clang!
Sure, they’ll still win gold, but clearly, you can’t compare this group of brick throwers to the 1992 team.
Meanwhile, if the Yanks indeed sent a basketball Dream Team to these Olympics, it was the women.
(4) I feel so badly for the Canadian TV media at times.
For instance, I had to hit the mute button during the cycling road race the moment the two CTV hairspray heads said the word “peloton” for the 100th time. And I didn’t even start counting until the race was at the quarter-pole. Folks, get a Thesaurus and find a synonym. How about using the word, “pack,” once?
Meanwhile, the Canadian media has had a love affair with American swimming phenom Missy Franklin. It gets so sad sometimes that they’ve taken to claiming her as a Canadian swimmer.
OK, she has dual citizenship, we get it, but she swims for the United States. Get over it.
(5) In the old days, IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch (in-bred, cognac-swilling European aristocrat) used to welcome “the youth of the world,” to the Olympic Games. Of course, we used to laugh because we all knew the old Eastern Bloc countries were sending full-time working adult athletes in their 30s.
These days, age has nothing to do with the Olympics and “youth of the world,” is now a misnomer. There are all sorts of full-time professional athletes in the Games and plenty of 30-somethings.
Although, apparently that bit of reality hasn’t reached St. Kitts & Nevis. They sent their 100-metre sprinter Kim Collins home because he was leaving the Athletes Village to meet with his ... wait for it ... wife. Evidently, if you leave the Athletes Village, you have broken team rules. Those team rules are probably good for 15-year-old high school kids, but 36-year-old husbands? Not so much.
The Guardian reported that Collins posted this missive on his Facebook page: “Hours before my 5th 100m olympic race, i now find out i cant run, all because i was in a hotel with my wife/coach. S.K.N.O.C REALLY? Are you freaking kiddin me!!!!!!!!”
On Saturday, he Tweeted: “My fans. I won't lie. Won't be running later tonight. …For those who saw me run in Mexico. That's the last time I represent my country.”
Then he followed up with: "Even men in prison get their wives to visit."
Collins was set to compete in his fifth Olympics and he’d already carried his country’s flag in the Opening Ceremony.
Here’s the message: Don’t make up stupid team rules because those rules inevitably ruin things for everybody - and make the people who made up the rules look like tools.
(6) Which country has the most Olympians? Easy answer: The NCAA.
OK, so the NCAA isn’t a country, but almost every country in the world has at least one athlete who competed at an NCAA school at one time or another during his/her athletic career.
It’s hard to get an exact number of the NCAA athletes in the Games, but all you need to do is go to the Texas A&M website and read about the Aggies’ 21 athletes and two coaches who are competing in London for 15 different countries and you'll get an idea of the importance of the NCAA to the London Olympics.
(7) Best lead to a newspaper story, USA Today: “You think Oscar Pistorius has an unfair advantage? Care to trade places?”
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