The 2012 Summer Olympics – My thoughts

Another Olympics has now come and gone and Team U.S.A. has once again made us proud with their efforts taking more medals than any other nation including China, which has several times our population!  Congratulations Team U.S.A. and all the athletes who indeed strove to be the best in the world at what they enjoy doing!  I want to take this opportunity to throw some of my opinions out there.  Again, Way to go, U.S.A!

First of all, I have always felt that there ought to be one more medal given out at the closing ceremonies – the “Iron Medal”, which I feel should be awarded to the athlete who, regardless of any other medals won, showed the most grit and determination, overcame the most adversity and represents the best of the so-called Olympic spirit.  Since they don’t currently award one, I’ll take the opportunity here to award a virtual one!  Four athletes clearly stand out as finalists for this honor for these games:

Manteo Mitchell
Manteo Mitchell  (c)
Oscar Pistorius (400m runner from South Africa) whose persistence and determination got him into these games despite detractors’ efforts to bar him from competing with artificial legs because of a fear that they gave him an advantage.  He proved that he could hold his own with the best able-bodied runners in the world.  He got the most nominations in my unofficial poll of friends!

Michael Phelps (U.S. swimmer) – just sheer awesomeness, determination, drive and grit needed to earn more medals than Muttley (>snicker!<)  >>>>

<<<< Manteo Mitchell (4x400m relay team from the U.S.) – Suffered a broken leg (fibula) mid-race during a qualifying heat in which he was running and still managed to finish the race enabling the U.S. relay team to eventually advance to the final round and take the silver medal, despite excruciating pain.

Liu Xiang (110m hurdler from China) whose terrible luck due to misfortunes with the injury bug caused him to have to limp off the track during his second straight Olympic final.

After careful review, I’ve decided to award this Olympiad’s “Iron Medal” to Manteo Mitchell (story) of the U.S. for enabling his Team U.S.A. relay team to fight their way to a silver medal while enduring extreme pain and giving everything he had, making him a true Iron Man!  Congratulations Mr. Mitchell, you are a true unsung Olympic hero!

The Olympics is all about competition and being the best at what you do.  As the legendary Jim McKay used to always say at the beginning of ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” (intro. video) program (which used to cover the Olympics) – “there’s the Thrill of Victory, and the Agony of Defeat – the human drama of athletic competition.”

“The Thrill of Victory”

Image courtesy (c:2012)  Team U.S.A. broke the world record in the women’s 440 (4x100m) relay, putting an immediate and emphatic end to years of drama over dropped batons and other mishaps involving U.S. women’s 4x100m.
“The Agony of Defeat”

Image courtesy (c:2012) Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY.
Hoosier native Morgan Uceny falls during 1,500-meter final.
My heart aches & breaks for Morgan Uceny, US runner in the Women’s 1500 meter who fell.  So sad, shades of Mary Decker in 1984.  The only thing I don’t understand is WHY, when she fell, did she not bounce back up and at least finish the race?!  She was not hurt.  I know she likely would’ve finished last, but only by maybe 5-10″.  Ive fallen in races (a 5k and a 4×100) and literally bounced right back up each time (and finished w/a shin dripping w/blood in the 5k).  I always felt that finishing was more important than winning.
NBC’s coverage:  Why, NBC, WHY did you have to spend soooooo much time covering Water Polo and virtually NO coverage of Soccer or Basketball?

NBC’s coverage of this Olympiad seemed to at least approach, if not surpass the fifty percent level for commercials.  I’ve often wondered why the quality of Olympic commercials does not seem to approach that of Superbowl commercials.  Lately, when I watch the Superbowl, it’s mostly to watch the commercials and go get a snack during game play!  Anyway, since Olympic commercials seem to repeat themselves often and since the Olympics is all about competition and selecting the best of the best, and since the coverage time for commercial-showing far exceeded coverage of any other event, I decided to award medals for the best Olympic commercials.

Olympic Commercials – Final standings:

Gold:  “Warming Up“, by AT&T, starring Ryan Lochte!
This one is inspiring with Lochte shown swimming across the Pond, which is probably true considering the amount of training one must do to be an Olympic-caliber swimmer.

Silver:  “Measure 2012“, by GE Works.
The song’s the winner here.  I just LOVE this song clip, combined with scenes of athletes training and straining, you just can’t help but get pumped up watching it.  Googling indicates that the song is most likely a custom remix of “End of Line”, by Daft Punk, but I’m not absolutely sure since I found the original and several remixes none of which contained a part that sounded (or moved me) like this clip.  I am linking here to the one that sounded closest to it to me.  The commercial is also narrated by an actual GE engineer.

Bronze:  Galaxy s3 – Olympic Games – Commercial, by Samsung / AT&T.
This one scores with me on just plain cleverness of plot.  Ordinary people are shown relaying an animated GIF image of an Olympic torch wirelessly via their Samsung Galaxy s3 smart-phones down some urban streets with the final runner relaying the image to a giant screen.  I thought it was silly, but for some reason I like it enough that I’ve stayed and watched it each time it ran without tiring of it.

Warming Up“, by AT&T.

Measure 2012“, by GE Works.

Does anyone else remember in the ’80s when McDonald’s did the promo entitled “When the USA wins, YOU WIN!”?  Every Olympics since then, I’ve wished they’d bring that back – you peeled off your game-piece which had an event written on it and if Team U.S.A. won gold in that event, you got a free hamburger, if they won silver – free fries, or bronze – free drink!  I think I had one where we swept and I got a full happy meal free (hey, I was happy! lol).  I think what must have happened is that they did it during the Soviet-boycotted Olympiad of ’84, when we won nearly everything and it must’ve cut into profits!  I thought of this again because I got a similar game-piece today, but this time you have to go to some website and enter some stupid code to sign up for a drawing.  Suffice it to say, I’m NOT impressed!

Meanwhile, I really enjoyed finally watching some Olympic Badminton.  NBC NEVER shows Badminton on TV, so I got on-line and watched the men’s doubles gold medal match between China and Denmark.  You can watch it too:  “NBC Replay: Badminton Men’s Doubles Final” – “An encore presentation of the men’s doubles final between Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng (CHN) (me: Foo/Bar? – lol!) -vs- Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen (DEN).”

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