Monthly Archives: August 2008

Best and Worst of the Olympics

They’re over. I’m sad. But I thought I would write a little about the things that were impressing versus that which made me cringe.

The Chinese Audience hosted a FANTASTIC OLYMPICS in my opinion. First off, the designs were astounding. From the Bird’s Nest to the Water Cube, the architecture was fabulous. The gymnastics venue was also wonderfully decorated inside. I am specifically talking about the colorful borders that ran through the arena; it looked GREAT on high definition TV!

On that note, the Chinese were a truly fabulous audience. They packed the arena and cheered so loudly for everyone! I was very impressed when the booed Jonathan Horton‘s high bar score during finals; they thought he should have beat their own countryman, Zou Kai! Great audience!

My personal pick for the team with the overall best leotards went to Russia. Hands down.

The above leo is what I would have loved to see on the USA. But EVERY Russian leotard I saw throughout the entire Olympic Games was GREAT.

Awesome that we saw astounding history in Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt! I am awating Phelps’ blood test because I think it will come back stating that he has part dolphin genes!

For gymnastics, the most beautiful display of sportsmanship winners were Shawn Johnson and Fabian Hambuechen. Fabian was SO upset with his personal performance during the high bar final! But of course that didn’t stop him from warmly congratulating the winners. Same thing with Shawn. Love them.

Who I already predict to be on the 2012 Olympic Teams: Fabian Hambuechen, Zou Kai, Kohei Uchimura, Ksenia Semenova.

There were some diappointing moments with the scoring. I won’t comment on a lot of it because it makes me angry.

The two athletes that that made me the saddest were definitely Cheng Fei and Anna Pavlova. Cheng Fei’s disappointing EF showings on VT and FX. Pavlova for not receiving a medal, and she should have had Cheng’s beam bronze. Now that I think about it, Alicia Sacramone made me quite sad as well. I am so sad she didn’t come away with an individual medal! That vault bronze I thought should have been hers. The rest of the judging that really angered me I won’t go into.

I disliked the way NBC presented some of the gymnastics. First off, starting it at 10 or 11 (Eastern time) at night was not good. I hate that it just HAD to be live to get those ratings in. I also did not like that we saw ONE routine from the bronze winning Romanian team.

A couple of posts ago we went into what REALLY aggrivated me the most. There is no reason to reiterate. Let’s just say there are a few people who I no longer have any respect for anymore.

I am trying to get the “what could have been” thoughts out of my head had Chellsie Memmel competed all four events. Sigh. I heard she is planning to continue though! Good deal. At least she has an Olympic Medal.

Dasha Joura not competing at her best also makes my heart break. Maybe 2012???

One more note about the hosting of the Chinese: Opening and Closing Ceremonies were AWESOME! Way to go China for putting on a truly spectacular show.

Also, my hat goes off to trck star Bernard Lagat, whom I have blogged about before. Lagat was the 2007 World Champion on both the 1500 and 5000 meter runs. A bronze in Sydney, a silver in Athens, I really wanted that gold for him!!!! I heard he had a foot injury. That is really sad. I don’t know the time span and age ranges for runners. Will he be able to compete realistically in 2012? If anyone knows the answer to that please comment and let me know!

That is it for now, if I think of more things I will add them to this post.

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Someone Hacked Into This Blog

On the most recent post “The IOC Will Investigate He Kexin’s Actual Age”  someone, somehow wrote words on the post:

“All the good work China did to put on these Olympics could be forgotten because of an unnecessary, arrogant move by the government. Why risk everything to put a 14-year old in the competition when they could have replaced her with an of-age 16-year old gymnast? Sure, He is a better gymnast than the Chinese gymnasts who were eligible to compete, but with the judges they had at the Olympics, would it really have mattered?”

Thank you to reader ISIS for pointing out a sentence from that and questioning it BECAUSE I WOULD HAVE NEVER REALIZED THIS.  The paragraph above I DID NOT WRITE.

Ummmmm, who would do something like this?  AND HOW?  NO ONE would be able to figure out my password, and I don’t know how hackers hack.

Real question, whose life has that little in it that they take someone’s blog (that no offense to us die hard fans and my writing) of some simple subject like gymnasts and hack into it to include their opinion?

THAT IS WEIRD!  And sad.

So as soon as this post is published, I am deleting what happened on the previous post.

Sorry.   That is so weird!  I hope changing my password will fix this problem.

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The IOC Will Investigate He Kexin’s Actual Age

Did I call this or what?

IOC orders investigation into He Kexin’s age

The International Olympic Committee has ordered an investigation into the age of Chinese gymnast He Kexin, The Times of London reports. Faced with almost insurmountable evidence which suggests that He is two years younger than the birth date listed on her Chinese passport, the IOC has launched an inquiry that could result in the stripping of He’s gold medals.

This news comes on the heels of another Times report that details the findings of a New York computer security expert who found official Chinese documents that list He’s age as 14 years and 220 days. Mike Walker used a Chinese search engine’s cache feature to find He’s actual date of birth on spreadsheets from a Chinese government website. The spreadsheets were taken down off the site recently and He’s name had been removed.

Assuming the IOC is committed to a real investigation and not some dog and pony show, the revelation that the Chinese government covered up the ages of gymnasts could end up being the defining moment of these Games for the host country. Officials wanted the Olympics to be a coming out party for a new China. But while the Games have been a huge success, there is a legitimate possibility that China’s legacy from Beijing ’08 will be that of a massive government cover-up, not the magical Opening Ceremony or the transformation of Beijing or anything else positive.

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2008 Olympics: SHAWN GETS HER GOLD!

Ahhhhh, finally!  I am so happy for Shawn Johnson winning a gold medal on what I think is her best event: beam.  Truly a great moment.  I love that kid.

I love Cheng Fei so much, but I believe the bronze medal rightfully belonged to Anna Pavlova.  I am very disappointed for Pavlova; along with Nastia Liukin she had qualified to the most individual finals.

Also, another big shout out to Jonathan Horton!!!!  What an AMAZING routine to win a silver medal.  I actually thought he should have won the gold!  I admit that I know less about MAG though.  I am curious to see what everyone else thinks because it seemed that even the Chinese thought that he should have won!

Poor Fabian Hambuechen.  I am so sad for him!  But I am glad he still got a medal.  And what a great sport he is!  Truly the best in the field of those who are gracious.  But I am thinking that Fabian is going to be one of the front runners this next quad.  You will get your moment with hard work Fabian!  Look how long Yang Wei waited, and what a payoff he got these Games!

Kai Zou ends up being the most sucessful of the Chinese Men.  Without injury, I would already call him being on the team in 2012.  He is so powerful on China’s weakest events, he’s got gold medals for both of them too.

Wow do I hope Horton continues.  He and Sasha Artemev both.  They have plenty of years left in my opinion.  And I hope beyond hope they continue in the sport.

Also congratulations to Li Xiaopeng!  He is such a wonderful competitor.  If he had his second vault….China might have swept every gold medal!  Not that 7 out of 8 is bad…

Anyhow, it has been a wonderful Games.  I will soon do a post talking about the various things that were awesome in my opinion, for instance, how awesome I believed the Chinese crowd was!

Sniff, sniff.  It’s over.  Sadness.  I can’t believe I have to wait another four years….

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2008 Olympics: Event Finals Plus a Few Rants

Okay. So I thought I wasn’t “going to go there,” but I am. I am truly disgusted.

As some of you may have read, I long ago called that the age controversy was going to be the scandal of the Games. It was. I also stated that I REFUSED to let that spoil the Olympics, something that I would be damned to let ruin the excitement of this long awaited event. In fact, I have been a little sad because with the Olympics ending soon, I feel like a small child who waited all year for their birthday or Christmas and is so sad when the wait finally ends! (hahahaha, yes I am a dork). But I did a good job, I have not let the age scandal affect me at all.

But never did I think the attitudes of the Americans would end up as the thing I want to forget these Olympic Games.

I was extremely dismayed after the Women’s Team Final. Marta Karolyi‘s comments to the press infuriated me. Complaining about Alicia Sacramone‘s long wait on the podium for beam. Blaming everything in her path. Funny, she didn’t blame the fact that USA basically competed with half a team. And uhhhh, whose fault is that Marta? The hardcore fans have been complaining for months about the insanely demanding selection process, which injured many people in it’s path, keeping key athletes off the team entirely, not to mention during the actual Olympics. But Marta doesn’t want to say that. Regardless of the age scandal or anything else, take a lesson from Shawn Johnson; just be happy with what you did do. Accept defeat, be happy that you gave it your all. It’s amazing enough to be able to call yourself an Olympian, and even better to say you are a medalist.

Then we have these constant interviews with Bela Karolyi in which he does the same complaining.

Funny that no one seems to admit where we did get gifted scores? Tim Daggett pointed out that during the All-Around, Nastia Liukin was credited for a connection on beam she shouldn’t have received, and how Shawn’s vault was extremely questionable and probably shouldn’t have received credit. But uhhhh, you didn’t hear the Karolyis mention that one.

Again readers, keep in mind that I am not here to dispute any results. At all. Even if I should be. The entire point of this post is to demonstrate the ugly attitude here, and how BAD it is making the Americans look. That is not what I want our athletes to remember 20 years from now. I want Shawn to remember how consistent she performed, how she medalled on every event she entered (couting my eggs too soon here, don’t know about beam yet). Nastia should remember that she has the most coveted title in the world for gymnasts.

But last night’s uneven bar final did it for me. The shock, the fuss, the obvious disappointment over the tie break.

NEWS FLASH!!!! The tie breaker is a known process. Funny last night night we didn’t see France’s Thomas Bouhail toss a fit because the same tie-breaking procedure gave him the silver and Leszek Blanik the gold. Funny that four years ago, when Marian Dragulescu lost the gold to Kyle Shewfelt, we saw nothing but grace. We saw people happy for their results, and even better than that, to be happy for someone else.

I have never complained about Marta, Nastia, or Valeri Liukin. But I am now. Because I could seriously vomit. I am NOT DISPUTING THE RESULTS, I AM NOT SAYING THAT LIUKIN SHOULD OR SHOULD NOT HAVE WON.

But what a way to remember the uneven bar final, which was the event final I was most excited about as I thought it contained within it the biggest showdown (next to the AA of course!).

Nastia, Marta, and Valeri stood to the side going over stuff and being disappointed over the “loss.” I yelled out loud when Valeri was still going over it with Marta. Uhh, Valeri? Your daughter is standing on the Olympic Podium being awarded, maybe you should, I don’t know, WATCH HER INSTEAD OF POUT?

This tie-breaking procedure maybe new to WAG, but it is certainly not new. And when I know myself (a person not involved with the sport directly) that this Olympics the tie-breakers would be in place here, why do these people act surprised? Because they are pissed they don’t have another gold. Yes, you know what? That would suck, I would be disappointed if it were me too. But that public display of children whining was horrible.

Marta, why didn’t you whine when Shawn and Nastia tied beam scores in prelims? Oh, because that tie was okay, right? It didn’t affect medal placements, so I guess that made it okay? Nastia and Valeri, what about you guys? You didn’t wonder about the tie-breaker then? If I understand what they do when A and B scores are tied, I cannot imagine how they wouldn’t know.

Before everyone starts commenting on how it was unfair because He Kexin is too young, or two gold medals should be awarded, please be reminded that again, I am not posting to comment on that situation. Do I think the Chinese have gotten overscored on several events? YES. Do I think if there is a tie, two gold medals should be awarded? Yes. But again, that is not my point.

I am just disgusted with a lot of the attitudes going on right now.

And before everyone starts saying how this ISN’T whining. Please remember the Paul Hamm and Yang Tae Young controversy in Athens. You didn’t see the Americans complaining then. Because the mistake ended up in our favor.

Some of the scoring and scandals going on in these Games SUCK. But when so many other countries despise us, way to do it again USA. I don’t see every other country on the floor complaining.

I am truly embarrassed.

On another note, Marian stuck his vault again! Then fell on the next. I cried. I was also sad for Jordan Jotchev. Sigh. I wish Jordan didn’t exit the arena.

Please do well in the high bar final, Fabian Hambuchen. Please. I also hope Jonathon Horton has the routine of a lifetime, both of these athletes deserve it.

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2008 Olympics: Heartbreaks! Event Finals, Night One

So I accidentally saw too many of the results online before I got to watch the broadcast.  I WILL NOT let that happen the next two nights!  I will be banning myself from going online tomorrow until after the broadcast.

My heart broke wide open with the results way too many times tonight…

Cheng Fei–  I cried.  I did.  To hold every major title in the last three years and blow it the night it counts!  Floor was even worse, and oh how I cried for Cheng.  She should have had 3 golds these Games, and walked away with the only individual medal of a bronze.

Alicia Sacramone–  I WISH SHE WOULD HAVE HAD THE AMANAR!  Another person who has medalled at every event she has entered on vault.  Sigh.  I wonder if she hadn’t been up first….would she have won the bronze?

Three cheers for Oksana Chusovitina!  The highest AA placement ever for her, and during her fifth Olympics.  But more importantly, AN INDIVIDUAL SILVER MEDAL FOR HER!  How glorious!  I am soooo happy for her!  One of the best things to happen.

Shawn Johnson…..when will you earn your gold?  It might not happen.  But I will tell you this, if the Olympics awarded medals in the categories of consistency, maturity, graciousness, and heart….well then Shawn would have gold medals in all of those!  I am rooting for her heavily during beam finals.  It won’t be easy with Nastia Liukin slated to compete right after her.  Her comments in the news are just amazing.  I also think had she and Izbasa switched places in the lineup, so would the medals!

But I have no qualms with Sandra Izbasa winning the gold.  I really like her.  I just wish she didn’t have two full-ins in her routine.  Her reaction was adorable.  Way to go Romania for winning a gold!

Oh, Anna Pavlova!!!!  What is it with Russia and taking a zero on vault?  Then there was her floor routine, which is one of my favorites this Games.  That routine is just gorgeous.  I can only hope her beam routine goes very well for her so that she won’t end the Olympics on a low point.

One of the best things tonight was the fact that NBC showed ALL EIGHT ROUTINES IN FLOOR FINALS!  Now THAT is awesome.

I feel bad for Sasha Artemev.  If he had hit, he would have medalled, no doubt.  A great composition, my favorite of all the pommel workers.

Diego Hypolito also made me cry.  I feel so bad for him.  He is young, so I really hopes he stays around another quad and blows everyone away in 2012.

Marian Dragulescu also made me sad.  I am rooting SO HARD for him in vault finals tomorrow.

I wish Jordan Jotchev hadn’t drawn so soon, I want him to get a gold medal darn it.

Congrats to Xiao Qin. I felt soooo bad for him in Athens.  He was one I really wanted with the gold.

That is all for now.

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2008 Olympics: Nastia Wins the Gold

I am emotionally drained. This has been without a doubt, the most stressful, emotional, TV event I think I have ever watched. Though I haven’t ever prepped so much for single TV event ever.

Nastia Liukin is the All Around Olympic Champion. Shawn Johnson with silver. Yang Yilin wins bronze.

My opinions of Nastia are known well in the posts of this blog, but my heart was tugged as I watched her pour tears I have waited all Olympic Games to see. I am happy for her. I am. She has overcome so much to win this crown.

But I am devastated for Shawn. I wanted this title so very bad for her. She looked upset. What a release it must be for these two girls. So much for this one night. I paced, I yelled, I clapped. It has been pure craziness.

Undoubtedly one of the most adrenaline-filled competitions ever.

Random thoughts about what I saw-

Anna Pavolva wins the award for most beautiful routine (at least out of those shown on NBC). Wow. I was wowed. And it made me feel old-school (floor routine-wise). The commentators got it right this time; you could feel the passion of that routine.

-I love Ksenia Senenova! Although her takeoff on floor passes is kinda weird looking, I thought her score was too low! But I don’t know her A-score offhand, must have been low-

-I rate Shawn’s beam routines like this: Prelims #1, TF #2, AA #3. But her scores were: Prelims last, TF 1st, AA 2nd. Hmmmm.

-I thought Steliana Nistor’s score for floor was too low. A 8.6 B-score? I thought it was better than that.

-Why didn’t we get to see Pavlova’s beam routine? Grrrrrr.

-Ksenia Semenova, please become the new power of the Russian Program!

-I am staying up to see the Nastia and Shawn interview.

-What will it be like with Nastia and Shawn sleeping in the same room tonight? Catfight!! Just kidding.

-I was scared Shawn might win 3rd going into the last rotation.

-I started thinking about Chellsie Memmel during the medal ceremony. I don’t know why. I believe it was because I was really focused on how much pressure and work goes into being a top elite gymnast. It SUCKS that she broke her foot. At nothing less, she should have been able to contribute more to the Olympic team. Poor girl.

-I REALLY hope Shawn can get the gold on beam. I want her with at least one gold. Dammit.

What a truly crazy night.

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2008 Olympics: Yang Wei is Golden but Other Dreams Shattered

Oh the heartbreaks and surprises tonight!

As expected, Yang Wei won the gold. I am so happy for him. What a truly glorious thing. He won by 2.6 points.

The real news is with the heartbreaks that happened among those in the silver and bronze medal race. Less than a point separated places 2 through 10. This meet I watched alone. Here are the moments that my heart broke wide open:

Fabian Hambuchen was by far the biggest heartbreak for me. A hit high bar routine would have given him the silver medal. I yelled “NOOOO” a couple of times, mostly over this awesome young man. One thing that really gets me about Fabian is his absolutely wonderful demeanor to his competitors. Always congradulating them. I love it. How I wanted a silver medal for this guy. My only hope is that he clinches the gold in the high bar final.

Hiroyuki Tomita also broke my heart with that scary rings fall. (Another out loud yell). After all he has done, it would have been so nice to see him medal! An upsetting fourth place finish, just .175 out of the bronze position, and .225 out of the silver! Without that scary rings fall he would surely have been second. That sucks.

Jonathon Horton didn’t have the greatest performances, but after watching him during the Team Finals, I really wanted him with that bronze medal.

Sasha Artemev was great! He has really grown on me and now I am root, root, rooting for him to get a medal on the pommel horse!

Who is Benoit Caranobe? Why he is the Olympic Bronze Medalist! I had NO idea who he was before tonight, my knowledge of statistic for MAG is NOTHING compared to what I know about WAG. But his tears of joy moved me so much. Biggest surprise of the evening.

I hope Fabian is in London 2012. Tim Daggett also provided me with an education of who Kohei Urchimura is. The silver medalist I guess will be a power for years to come for team Japan.

Yang Tae-Young also provided more heartbreaking moments.

I don’t think a healthy Paul Hamm would have beat Yang Wei tonight.

NBC, I am mad you didn’t show me the medal ceremony, it had better be online! –Oh wow, they are playing it, they did this about 30 seconds after I typed this sentence. I take it back NBC.

It struck me tonight how moved I let complete strangers whom I will never know personally affect me so much. I guess that is what having our heroes means to us.

Ooh I am watching the medal ceremony, Caranobe is kinda hot! I love Yang Wei’s antics. Not only does he deserve to do them, but so much more exciting than the usual.

Tomorrow night is the real night for me. It is the night I have waited four years to know the outcome of. Of course I want Shawn Johnson to win. Badly. But I am thinking it is going to be Nastia Liukin. I hope I am wrong.

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2008 Olympics: An Unexpected Team Final

Woooooow, craziness last night!

Of course the biggest surprise came with the fact that Alicia Sacramone made two major errors. I really think that China would have won regardless, but you never know. If those mistakes did not exist, China may have had the pressure get to them and maybe made a couple of errors themselves. But I hope there aren’t a whole bunch of ignorant gymnastics viewers out there blaming Alicia. She is one of the biggest heart and souls of the American program.

Gee Marta, maybe we would have done a lot better if we didn’t have half a team. Maybe we should lighten up on the selection procedure. This procedure is responsible to all the athletes we lost before and during the Olympic Games. I strongly think that after Nationals, Trials should have been held when the selection camp was. I don’t know, I am not an expert, but that sounds better than girls who are trying to stay in peak form for 3 months.

I really wanted Chellsie Memmel to be able to call herself and Olympic Gold Medalist. And has everyone heard the latest? The girl knew she was competing with a broken bone! There is no one tougher than Chellsie!

How wonderful it was to see Cheng Fei give the last performance of the night, putting the final hold on the gold medal. I love that she got to have that. I strongly think she is very likely to win two more golds on vault and floor. I am not surprised China won, and I am happy for them.

Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin put in some very solid, feel proud about it performances. Congrats to them. I thought the congratulating amongst the two teams was very sweet.

Also, they looked pretty darn happy at the end! You didn’t lose the gold team USA! You WON a silver! And I really think that they viewed it that way too. Good for them.

Romania in third? What the hell happened to Russia? Congrats to the Romanians though!

Men’s All-Around tonight! I want Yang Wei, Jonathon Horton, Hiroyuki Tomita, and Fabian Hambuchen to have the performances of a lifetime! Good luck to the men!

Off topic, but my blog a couple of days ago celebrated it’s 50,000th hit! It has BLOWN UP during the Olympics, hitting more than 4,000 hits a day over its’s usual average! Thanks to all you readers out there!

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2008 Olympics: And the Men’s Team Final was BEAUTIFUL

Last night was an exceptional competition capturing what is so very wonderful about the Olympic Games. As expected, China captured the gold. They cried, I cried, it was spectacular. Yang Wei turned in some beautiful performances, I can’t wait to see him go after the other gold medal that is rightfully his.

The USA turned in what was pretty much a gold medal performance for them. Jonathan Horton in particular was absolutely marvelous. I am now rooting for him to snag the bronze medal in the All Around.

I love that this team can not only call themselves Olympians, but Olympic Medalists as well. They so deserve it. Watching their passion was truly moving to me.

I have yet to do the math that would determine the possibility of a silver medal, had they not counted a couple of mistakes at the end.

Regardless, the USA men treated that bronze medal like a gold, and that is so awesome there aren’t really words for it.

And how I loved Sasha Artemev‘s excellent performance.

I am mad I cannot put in pictures on this post to reflect the beauty.

Tonight, tonight! Will the Chinese Women’s team get the first team gold medal in history? Will the US come back from their errors to steal the gold? WE DON’T KNOW! But it will sure be fun watching it! Like I have stated before, the US team needs to count no errors in order to win this one. If China falters, US can only afford the tinest of mistakes.

Here’s to the Olympic Games, and all of us who have waited to long to see this battle go down.

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