Posted by: mrpeatie | August 25, 2008

Week Two Olympic Wrap-Up

The Games of the XXIX Olympiad wrapped-up with last night’s broadcast of the closing ceremonies. Here’s a quick rundown of the good, the bad, and the ugly from week 2 of the competition. You can check out week one’s wrap-up here.

The Good

There was a lot of good stuff this week with the biggest probably being Michael Phelps’ completion of his quest for 8 gold medals and becoming the most decorated Olympic athlete ever. He now has 16 medals, 14 of which are gold.

The US Women’s soccer team entered the tournament without its best defender and leading goal scorer. After an early defeat to Norway, many had written the team off. The ladies quickly found their stride and rattled off 5 straight victories including a 1-0 win over a highly talented and heavily favored Brazilian team in the gold medal match.

Misty May-Treanor and Keri Walsh repeated as champions in beach volleyball. The men’s beach volleyball duo also won gold. The women’s indoor volleyball team took silver and the underdog men’s team won an emotional gold medal after the father-in-law of the team’s coach was involved in a fatal stabbing on the first day of the Olympics.

It was good to see the US Men’s basketball team find the redemption they were seeking. US Men’s Basketball went 8 years without winning any sort of international tournament despite having the most talented players. In this tournament, however, the team found focus, humbleness, and a respect for the competition that had been missing for a while.

It was hard not to be moved by the teary celebration of Henry Cejudo as he made his way around the arena draped in the American flag. He won the gold medal in the 55 kilogram freestyle wrestling competition. He is the son of undocumented Mexican immigrants.

There was plenty more compelling moments. These were just some of the ones I followed and enjoyed watching. Reuters has a Top 10 Olympic Moments list that has some other memorable events.

The Bad

That is one way to argue a call. Photo by Matt Dunham/Associated Press

That is one way to argue a call. Photo by Matt Dunham/Associated Press

The US usually dominates the track and field running events. The 4X100 meter relay is often the flagship team event but both the men’s and women’s teams dropped the batons and didn’t even reach the finals.

China’s biggest and most popular athlete at these games was Liu Xiang. He was the defending gold medal winner in the 110m hurdles and was poised to defend his title. Unfortunately he had to withdraw due to injuries leaving hundreds of millions of adoring Chinese fans in shock.

Beijing’s notorious pollution and was a HUGE concern prior to the games despite some drastic measures to improve air quality. For the most part, the conditions didn’t have a big impact on the games, but almost one third of the cyclists in the 152 mile men’s road race dropped out. They cited stifling conditions and compared it to racing at 10,000 feet. The actual elevation of the course was just over 1000 feet.

For more bad, Forbes.com has a list of Beijing’s biggest losers.

The Ugly

Cuban Taekwando fighter Angel Matos did not agree with referee Chakir Chelbat disqualifying him for taking too long to recover from a foot injury. After realizing the decision wouldn’t be overturned, Angel lost his composure and kicked the ref in the face. Angel is banned for life from Olympic competition.

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