Monday, August 18, 2008

Sports: Olympics, Tri-Nations and High School Rugby

The Olympics: Swimming and Track & Field

First up, Michael Phelps won a record 8 gold medals in Beijing, breaking Mark Spitz's record of 7 set in the 1972 Munich Olympics (which were marred by the tragedy of the Black September terrorist assassinations of 11 members of the Israeli weight-lifting team).
Cheering from the pool deck, Michael Phelps won his record eighth gold medal of the Beijing Games on Sunday to become the grandest of Olympic champions.

Jason Lezak held on to the lead Phelps gave him, anchoring the United States to a world record in the 400-meter medley relay against an Australian team that did its best to spoil history.
"The Beijing Olympics has witnessed the greatest Olympian of all time - Michael Phelps of the USA," the announcer said as Phelps posed on the deck with his teammates, yet another gold around his neck.
All three medal-winning teams were under the world record, and 7 of Phelps' 8 medal wins were record-breakers as well.

Congratulations to Phelps and the rest of the US Swim Team!

In Track and Field, it was not so good for American sprinter Tyson Gay who, despite being a former record holder in the 100 meters, didn't make it to the finals. His main competition rival, Usain Bolt of Jamaica, literally cruised to victory, taking the gold and setting a new world record of 9.69 seconds, 0.03 seconds quicker than his previous record.
BEIJING - Usain Bolt capped his stunning rise to stardom with an Olympic 100m title overnight setting a world record in the process.

With world champion Tyson Gay out in the semifinals, the 21-year-old Jamaican seemingly only had Asafa Powell to beat, but when he looked around and realized he was all clear with 30 metres to go, he coasted and still set a world record of 9.69 seconds.

Well behind, Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago took the silver medal in 9.89, and Walter Dix of the United States was third in 9.91.

Powell again crumbled under the pressure of a big competition and finished fifth.

"Usain was spectacular," Powell said. "He was definitely untouchable."
With a third of the race to go, Bolt had the luxury to look right, realize he was in a class all his own, outstretch his arms, and pound his chest as he crossed the line, slicing .03 off the record he set earlier this season.
Congratulations to "The Bolt" for a job well done!

Rugby - All Blacks Win Over Springboks and Reggie's School Beat Long Bay

Each year the national rep teams from New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa - arguably the three best rugby teams in the world - duke it out for the Tri-Nations Cup. Early Sunday morning was a classic battle as the All-Blacks fought their way to a 19-0 win over the 2007 World Cup Champion South Africa Springboks on their home turf in Cape Town. It was the first time in history that the All Blacks have held the 'Boks scoreless at home. Perhaps they had a bit of extra motivation.
New Zealand's medal rush at the Olympics helped inspire the All Blacks to their 19-0 Tri-Nations rugby test win over the Springboks in Cape Town early this morning, coach Graham Henry said.

New Zealand won five medals on "Super Saturday", including golds to defending double sculls champions Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell and shot putter Valerie Vili.

The Evers-Swindells' final was rowed before the test at Newlands, and the All Blacks were able to watch it on television before heading to the ground.
The game started about 1 AM here in NZ, and Mae and I watched it right as she returned home from work. One thing the South Africans are known for is their physicality, and the first half was no exception. They came out hitting hard, but the All Blacks, also known for their own hard-hitting style, also combine that with a lot of flair and skill and seem to always have an edge in fitness that shows itself in the last 20 minutes of a game when other teams tend to fade and fizzle. It was worth staying up until 3 AM to watch these two great teams play a great game.

And while we're on the subject of rugby, our boy Reggie played the final game of his team's season against Long Bay at Long Bay, a school with a lot of South African players. After last week's debacle, Reggie's team won in a hard fought victory with Reg having possibly his best game of the season. He set-up their first try with a nice 30 meter run to about the 5 meter line, ultimately being stopped (but not tackled) while dragging two opposition players on his back and fending off a third from the front with a vicious stiff-arm that sent the guy on his ass - before off-loading to Troy, our #12, who took it in for the score. Reg then sealed the victory with a try of is own, bowling over several would-be tacklers on a nice 5 meter power run, scoring on his feet. That was his 8th try of the season, making him the lead-try scorer for the team this year. His defense was superb, also, with multiple tackles, steals and turn-overs going to his credit.

Oh, and it was also his 15th birthday! Happy Birthday, Reg!



Blogger Oldcatman said...

THE OLYMPICS has never been
"my cup of tea"--$$$$ could best be spent elsewhere in the world.

I suspect the only "pure"
sports any more are those that our children participate in.

3:01 AM GMT+12  
Blogger OINK said...

Is it true that Rugby players have leather balls?

10:40 AM GMT+12  
Blogger Joe Ramen said...

OCM - I'm not really an Olympics person myself, either. Except for a few events like swimming, sprinting, and wrestling (all sports I participated in as a young person) I don't really care, but I appreciate the individual efforts of medalists and record breakers. I know how much dedication and focus it takes to get to that level (even though I never came close to that level myself). The politics of it all does not detract from the achievements of the competitors. Hate the game, not the player!

OINK - I wouldn't know! LOL!

11:59 AM GMT+12  
Blogger OINK said...

Two bumper stickers popular in the US some time ago:


11:36 PM GMT+12  

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