Were the Super Friends the Inspiration for Team USA?
Watching the USA Olympic basketball team has been an exercise in dejà vu. There’s something so familiar about how this group operates. My son thought I was reminded of the original ’92 Dream Team.
But today I realized what this team reminds me of: the Super Friends. I grew up watching them in the Seventies and Eighties.
Kobe is the Batman of this team: He’s now the mature one. He picks his spots and relies as much on basketball IQ as on his remarkable physical shape. Like Batman, he’s been injured a few times, so he has to be careful.
LeBron is basketball’s Superman right now. There is nothing on the court that seems unattainable for him. He’s playing all five positions, hitting threes, playing great defense, and mastering both ends of the alley-oop.
The only question left is: Which Olympic country is preparing a basketball Legion of Doom?
They Put the Bad in Badminton
Four women’s doubles teams, two from South Korea and one each from China and Indonesia, were disqualified from Olympic badminton on Wednesday for throwing their matches in order to better their odds of playing weaker opponents in later rounds. The Chinese players are world champs Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli. In an ugly match on Tuesday, they clearly played poorly against their South Korean opponents, who were also trying to lose. Both teams drew loud boos from the crowd. The same disgraceful behavior occurred an hour later between the other South Korean team and the Indonesian team.
Watch the Chinese–Korean match here, courtesy of Business Insider.
Just hours ago, Yu Yang announced she has decided to quit the sport. From the Associated Press:
A comment on a verified account for Yu Yang on the Tencent microblogging service late Wednesday read: “This is my last game. Farewell Badminton World Federation. Farewell my dear badminton.”
Yu went on state television in China to apologize “to all the badminton fans and friends over yesterday’s game, because we did not comply with the Olympic spirit, and did not deliver a match with our true level to the audience, the fans and the friends.”
This scandal comes just days after Chinese swimmer, Ye Shiwen, drew suspicions that she is doping.
Judging the Olympic Boxing Judges
So, just like professional boxing, then?
Olympic judges and referees came under fire on Wednesday with one fighter accusing them of “a fix”, another successfully appealing a loss and even boxing great Lennox Lewis questioning some of their calls.
Iran’s Ali Mazaheri cried foul when the heavyweight was disqualified after being warned three times for persistent holding against Cuban Jose Larduet Gomez despite leading by two points going into the second round.
“It was a fix. I could have got a bronze easily if it hadn’t been for that,” an irate Mazaheri, who walked out of the ring before the decision was officially announced, told reporters through a translator.
“In my previous fights I had done really well. It was a set up.”
The International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) responded to Mazaheri’s allegations in an email to Reuters, saying: “The Iranian boxer received three warnings during his bout.
“According to Rule 12.2.1 of the AIBA Technical & Competition Rules, ‘only three warnings may be given to the same boxer in one contest. The third warning brings automatic disqualification’.”
Two bouts earlier, Japan’s bantamweight Satoshi Shimizu, trailing by seven points going into the last round against Magomed Abdulhamidov, knocked the Azerbaijani down six times, the first of which he struggled to get up from.
The judges scored the round 10–10, handing Shimizu two extra points for a warning against Abdulhamidov, who propped himself up against the top rope as the referee raised his hand in victory.
Where’s Don King when you need him?
China’s Win-at-all-Costs Mentality on Display
LONDON — Chinese diver Wu Minxia’s celebrations at winning a third Olympic gold medal were cut short after her family revealed the details of a devastating secret they had kept for several years.
Wu’s parents decided to withhold news of both the death of her grandparents and of her mother’s long battle with breast cancer until after she won the 3-meter springboard in London so as to not interfere with her diving career.
“It was essential to tell this white lie,” said her father Wu Yuming.
The story of Wu’s family secret has generated huge discussion in China, where the pursuit of success has been chased by the government-backed sports national sports program with unshakeable zeal over the past two decades.
Now there seems to be a backlash against the win-at-all-costs mentality after the revelations about Wu followed fierce criticism from a national newspaper when a 17-year-old weightlifter failed to medal.
Gymnastics: American Women Secure Gold with Hava Nagila
This has to make all the right people in London and the Middle East angry:
American Jewish gymnast Aly Raisman has helped propel her team to a gold medal at London 2012.
The 18-year-old from Massachusetts, who performed her floor routine to the tune Hava Nagila, appeared last in the US line up in the team competition.
As she left the floor, bringing her team its first win outside of US soil, she appeared to be holding back tears of joy.
“It’s an amazing feeling to win gold,” she told the JC. “The best feeling in the world, and it shows that all the hard work has paid off.
“It’s a huge honour to be the first Jewish gold medallist of the 2012 Games.
“I’m so excited and it definitely gives me a boost of confidence. It’s crazy and I cannot believe it.”
Team captain Raisman saved the best until last, with a stunning display in the floor exercise, with the crowd clapping to her favourite song, Hava Nagila. This followed a superb display on the beam.
“I was very happy with my performances,” she commented. “I wanted Team USA to finish on a high and it was a huge honour to be the final athlete. I went up to do the best I could.”
The rest here.
London Wasn’t Ready, Cont.
Boris Johnson, last heard from taking Mitt Romney to task for daring to question London’s readiness for the Olympics, is pictured below – stuck on a zipline during the “London Live” event in Victoria Park:
Mitt was right.
Olympics Scandal Watch: Badminton!
This story would be funnier if steroids were involved:
Badminton pairs expelled from London 2012 Olympics after ‘match-fixing’ scandal All eight badminton players accused of attempting to throw their matches in the women’s doubles on Tuesday night have been disqualified from the London Olympics, Telegraph Sport can disclose.
The eight players from four teams in the women’s doubles competition have been thrown out following an inquiry by the Badminton World Federation in London on Wednesday morning.
The expelled players include Chinese World Champions Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang, who were accused by other players of attempting to throw their ‘dead rubber’ in order to avoid playing China’s No 2 ranked pair before the gold-medal match.
The Chinese actions appear to have triggered a response from pairs from South Korea and Indonesia, who in turn tried to lose to subvert the Chinese plan.
Sicne the announcement, Indonesia and South Korea have announced they will appeal the decision though China have yet to say if they will or not.
The issue is a major embarrassment to the sport and the Olympics, and prompted strong action from the BWF, which has seen a high number of games affected by withdrawals from matches between Chinese players and pairs in the last year.
The rest here.
Brits Admit Ticket Mess in London; Mitt Vindicated?
Prime Minister David Cameron says he shares British frustration at seeing empty seats in London Olympics venues but he believes organizers will soon improve the situation.
The empty-seats problem has lingered beyond the first weekend of competition, taking some shine off Friday’s opening ceremony, which was hailed with lavish praise from most British. Locals have been outraged at the television images of empty stands, since many had spent months trying — and failing — to buy Olympic tickets online.
“We can do better,” Cameron acknowledged Monday, after games organizers explained their range of tactics to fill the gaps with ordinary sports fans.
Organizers needed to “make sure more people get to see more games and also that there are fewer empty seats,” Cameron told broadcaster ITV in an interview.
Speaking after a meeting of his government’s Olympics panel, Cameron expressed confidence that the London organizing committee was “on track” to meet his challenge. Military personnel, local students and teachers have all been offered Olympic tickets to get more fans immediately into the arenas.
And this from the Telegraph:
A fresh ticketing row has enveloped London 2012 Olympic organisers as angry parents of athletes are turned away at Games venues.
This is all well and good, but how about an apology to Mitt Romney next? Sorry Dems: Mitt was correct in his criticism of London.
Olympic Thunderdome: Hope Solo vs. Brandi Chastain
Los Angeles Times:
LONDON — Hope Solo is the best women’s goalkeeper in the world. Yet she continues to make more news with her words than with her play.
Shortly after shutting out Colombia in the U.S. soccer team’s second group-play game at the London Olympics, Solo took to Twitter to blast NBC TV analyst Brandi Chastain, who played 192 games for the national team and converted the penalty kick that gave the U.S. the 1999 World Cup title in a shootout win over China.
“Its 2 bad we cant have commentators who better represents the team&knows more about the game,” she wrote. Then, three minutes later, she added: “Lay off commentating about defending and gking until you get more educated. The game has changed from a decade ago.”
It’s believed that Solo was upset over comments Chastain made about U.S. defender Rachel Buehler, who she said was playing too carelessly.
Then after praising her teammates for their play, Solo went after Chastain again in two rapid-fire tweets.
“Its important 2 our fans 2 enjoy the spirit of the olympics.Its not possible when sum1 on air is saying that a player is the worst defender!,” she wrote before adding. “I feel bad 4 our fans that have 2 push mute…. @brandichastain should be helping 2 grow the sport.”
U.S. Coach Pia Sundhage was asked after the U.S. team’s first Olympic match Wednesday whether she had cautioned her players about pitfalls of social media posting following the expulsion of a Greek athlete for posting racist comments on Twitter.
The rest here.
Mitt Was Correct: London Isn’t Ready
New York Magazine:
Culture secretary rings Olympic opening bell for reporter, bell falls apart, nearly hits someone. We think all of Great Britain owes Mitt Romney an apology.
This picture is making the rounds on social media in response to the London Olympics organizers refusing a moment of silence to honor the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches who died at the hands of Palestinian terrorists during the Munich Olympics in 1972.
Piers Morgan Defends Romney over London Comment
Piers Morgan gets the gold for his defense of Mitt Romney’s
accurate description of London “gaffe”:
CNN host Piers Morgan appeared on his network with Brooke Baldwin on Thursday where he talked about his interview with Mitt and Ann Romney. Prior to playing clips of the interview, Morgan was asked about Romney’s comments to NBC where he wondered if London was up to the security challenges that the Olympics will pose. The comments drew sharp criticism from some members of the British press corps. But Morgan shocked when he defended Romney’s comments saying that the presumptive Republican nominee was “absolutely right” to question whether the U.K. was ready for the Olympics.
The rest here.
A Greek Tragedy
Greek high jumper Dimitris Chondrokoukis has reportedly failed a doping test and has withdrawn from the Olympics.
First Olympic Controversy
Greece’s Voula Papachristou has been sent home for a racist tweet:
A Greek triple jumper has been expelled from the Olympics after she posted a racist joke on Twitter. . . .
Her offending message – which was referring to reports of mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus in her home country – read: ‘With so many Africans in Greece, at least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat home made food!’
First Olympic Win for the U.S.
While the “Opening Ceremonies” are Friday, the Games are underway — and the U.S. ladies’ soccer team beat France yesterday. overcoming a two-goal deficit with four unanswered goals.
First Olympic Faux Pas
The Norks got angry when the Olympics accidentally displayed the flag of South Korea during the North Korea–Colombia women’s soccer match yesterday.
Why do we allow a country that is starving its people like North Korea does to even participate in the games?
Sen. Reid: U.S. Should ‘Burn’ Made-in-China Olympics Clothing
Smart move, Senator.
Maybe in retaliation, Chinese gamblers should choose a different destination than Vegas for their tourism dollars?
Women Outnumber Men on U.S. Olympic team
Title IX has won the day:
During this, the summer of the 40th anniversary of Title IX, American women have reached another milestone in sports: For the first time, they outnumber men on the U.S. Olympic team.
The U.S. Olympic Committee released its roster for the London Olympics on Tuesday. There were 269 women and 261 men.
CEO Scott Blackmun called it a “true testament to the impact of Title IX,” the 1972 law that increased opportunities for women in sports across America.
Paging Jonah Goldberg’s better half . . .