Final medals for 2016 Rio Olympiad

I watch very little television these days.  Besides having better things to do with my life, there are several reasons, among which are the fact that the prime-time sitcoms and shows have become so inane, raunchy and uninteresting.  Another reason is that there’s very little left worth watching on free TV.  Nearly all the sports, save the NFL, have moved to Pay TV, which I refuse to pay for and set up.  I just have a very hard time paying for something I used to get free, particularly when Pay TV is just as larded up with commercials as free TV (When I was younger and cable (only) channels first came out they were commercial-free!)  Also, when was the last time you saw a good movie or miniseries made for TV?  I believe TV has indeed become a “vast wasteland.” There is one time though that I do take in some serious TV watching, and that is the Olympics!  I know many of you youngsters won’t grasp this, but for me, it’s always been like binge-watching the classic “ABC’s Wide World of Sports” (ABC’s WWOS crew USED to cover the Olympics and always did an excellent job).  NBC’s Rio coverage did take a lot of criticism, but in my opinion, they did a pretty good job of covering it.  They covered all the main sports I was interested in and had the right mixture of “puff pieces” interspersed with actual event coverage, interviews and stories with key athletes.  My favorite things to watch are track and field, swimming, beach volleyball and women’s gymnastics, which were all covered very well.  Of course, I would like to see a little Badminton, but I understand why they wouldn’t bother with that, however, it’d been nice to have seen a little more soccer and basketball in place of some of the volleyball and water polo.  My only other complaint is the fact that they spent half their time playing the same half-dozen sappy, cheesy commercials ad nauseam.  Olympic commercials should be like super-bowl commercials, considering what advertisers have to pay for Olympic airtime, especially if they’re going to run over and over again!  Despite this, I can understand that NBC didn’t have much choice considering the billion$ they had to pay for the rights to broadcast the games, so I can’t really fault NBC for the mass-commercialization necessary to do the broadcast.  Unlike past olympiads, I forwent awarding medals for commercials, since none of them were particularly interesting, with honorable mention to AT&T for the lone exception of the internet service commercial with the frustrated guy who’s internet service is down desparately firing a flair gun out the window while yelling to the sky “WE’RE OVER HERE, INTERNET!”  So, overall I give NBC a silver medal for their quality and professional Olympic coverage, especially for us old farts with slow, crappy U.S. internet services for whom trying to stream things from the internet is just not nearly as good as watching on the ol’ big screen high-def. TV!

I thought Rio and Brazil did a bronze medal job of hosting the games, especially for a second/third world country in rather dire economic straits (except for the inability to timely provide a clean diving well).  I thought the games went very smoothly except for the requisite “ugly Americans” episode at a local Rio gas station.  There were very few controversies involving the competitions, officiating, and judging (except for boxing), which I felt were professional and well done.  One thing I would consider changing would be the false start rules in track.  I understand the reason for DQ-ing a false starter is to prevent repeated false starts which can result for pulled muscle injuries for athletes, but I think that an immediate DQ after four years of full-time hard work is just a little harsh.  My proposal would be to assess something like a one meter penalty in the runner’s starting position, maybe, or adding a time penalty based on a percentage of the world-record time for the particular event.  This would also work in swimming and would strongly discourage false starting, but still allow an athlete to participate.  It should also more than compensate for any possible advantage the athlete would have gained from the false start while still preventing the need to do repeat starts and completely crush an athlete’s dream for what often is just an inadvertent flinch.

Pierre de Coubertin MedalNikki Hamblin (New Zealand) encourages Abbey D’Agostino
“Nikki Hamblin (New Zealand) encourages Abbey D’Agostino”
Photo (2016) by -unknown-
I really felt for American 5k runner Abbey D’Agostino and New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin who tripped over each other in a qualifying heat.  I was planning to award them the Pierre de Coubertin medal myself, but the IOC did the right and awesome thing beating me to it!  They also qualified both through to the final, but D’Agostino was unable to compete in the final due to the torn ACL injury she sustained in the collision.  Read more!

I felt really bad for, but also angry with the US. 4×100 sprint relay team.  This is like the third or fourth Olympics in a row they have failed to turn in a valid time in this race!  We used to OWN this event!  WHY can’t they practice teamwork in handing off the baton a little more during four years of training?  On the other hand, I thought the DQ this time was simply a little ticky-tack.  I know that “inconclusive replays” generally can not overturn “the call on the field”, but when the call involves the question of whether or not a rule was violated (as opposed to whether a score or other athletic goal was achieved), the rule of “innocent until proven guilty” should prevail and (as in this case), since the replay was inconclusive that the hand-off actually took place “outside the zone” the call should’ve been overturned and the hand-off allowed as legal.  To be DQ’d, the replay should’ve had to shown conclusively that it was illegal, especially since it could’ve had zero impact on the race time or upon any other team. 

I was very impressed with the US team’s improved performance in distance running (being a miler and distance runner myself back in the day)!  To see Matthew Centromites win Gold in the Mile (1500m) was really sweet with a time of 3′:50.0″, and then to also see Ashton Eaton become the “worlds greatest athlete” by running away with the gold in the Decathlon!  Then Evan Joger and Paul Chelino took silver in the steeple chase and 5k respectively and Galen Rupp grabbed the bronze in the Marathon finally overcoming the long history of Kenyan dominance in distance running.  In addition we dominated the relays (the men’s 4×100 excepted) by piling up even more gold.  US women dominated the sprints and also won field events and the triathlon too!

Overall, it was an outstanding Olympics for the U.S. AND Texas too!  The U.S. swept the “Medaling Events” taking gold in both “Gold Medaling” and “Overall Medaling” with 46 gold, 37 silver, 38 bronze, 121 total medals.  In “Overall Medaling”, China took silver with 26 gold, 18, silver, 26 bronze, 70 total, and Great Britain took bronze with 27 gold, 23 silver, 17 bronze, 67 total.  In “Gold Medaling”, Great Britain took silver with 27 and our “Republic of Texas” – YES! – Texas, our TEXAS tied with China, the most populous nation on Earth for bronze with 26 gold medals!  The home team of Brazil fared well for their size with 7 gold, 6 silver, and 6 bronze for nineteen medals, including the coveted men’s soccer and both team and beach volleyball medals.  It was also cool to see the tiny country of Fiji win gold in 7-man Rugby too!  Overall 54 countries had at least one gold medal athlete or team to celebrate and 78 had athletes or teams bring home at least one Olympic medal!  America’s Matt Kuchar took bronze in Olympic Golf.  It was sad to see Jordan Spieth awol fearing Zika though.  I bet he wishes now that he’d shown up and played! 

Mutley with Medals
(©) Hanna Barbera
And now the event y’all been waiting for, per tradition, it’s time for me to award the final three Olympic medals for this Olympiad to several very distinguished and deserving athletes:

Oksana Chuchovitina, 2016 Olympic Vault
by (© 2016) FIG Channel via marca
1) The “Iron Medal” (for sheer grit, determination, exceptional effort, overcoming long odds, good bull, etc.) goes to Forty-one-year-old Uzbekistan gymnast Oksana Chusovitina! She made history by qualifying for her SEVENTH Olympics in gymnastics, as the oldest qualifying female gymnist. She also attempted the “Produnova”, which many have deemed the “Vault of Death” due to it’s risk and difficulty. She clinched the medal by landing it in perfect tumbling fashon unscathed!

Shaunae Miller Dives for Olympic Gold
Photo by (© 2016) Adrian Davis, Getty Images
Honorable mentions go to Mike Phelps for being able to continue to own the Olympic Swimming Podium for 5 olympiads spanning over 16 years winning 5 golds and 2 silvers at the ripe old age (for a swimmer) of 31 (28, 23 gold lifetime) and now having more medals than Mutley; and Shaunae Miller (Bahammas, women’s 400m) literally diving for gold to edge out favored Allyson Felix (US) at the line sacraficing the skin on her hands, elboes and knees showing literally “true grit” on the track!

Wooden Medal
by (©) Clara & Macy
DQ (Dairy Queen) Grill and Chill
“DQ (Dairy Queen) Grill and Chill”
Photo by (©) Bryanna LeBron,
Confessions Of A DQ Employee
2) The “Wooden Medal” (for underwhelming underperformance, bad luck, lack of preparation, embarassment, bad bull, bad juju, and otherwise snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, etc.) goes equally to Ryan Lockne, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen (US Swimming) and to the US 4×100 sprint relay team of Justin Gatlin, Rodgers, Tyson Gay and anchor Trayvon Bromell. The swimmers for lying and making general arses of themselves, in their OOP (out of pool) antics. The relay team gets it for ongoing total lack of preparation in baton-passing, since this is the 3rd Olympics they have foobarred. I caught up with them at a nearby DQ chilling out while wolfing down “Blizzards” (ice cream) and “Hungerbusters” (burgers), to award them their well-earned medals! They said that that had become a post-meet tradition for them.

Hope Solo and Chewbacca
“Hope Solo and Chewbacca”
by (© 2016) me; from:
Hope Solo photo by (© 2016) AP Photo/Eugenio Savio
Chewbacca photo by (© 2010) Christian Liendo
3) The “Plastic Medal” (for sore losers, and other unsportsmanlike and embarassing behavior): Co-winners: Hope Solo (US Soccer) for calling the Lady Swedes “Cowards” b/c they found a strategy for beating her team and Islam El Shehaby (Egyptian Judoka wrestler) for refusing to shake his Isralite opponant’s hand after losing a match to him. A big hairy dude going by the name of “Chewbacca” agreed to present Hope Solo with her medal while Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani gladly stepped forward to present El Shehaby with his honors! The two shook hands afterwards in a show of unity, good will and (Muslim) brotherhood.

Congratulations to these fine Olympic athletes for accomplishing what few athletes ever do:  winning an Olympic medal!  H. Solo and Chewbacca were kind enough to pose for me after the ceremony! Chewbacca insisted on posing, but Solo tried at the last moment to block my shot with her free hand, but was too late!


Feel Free to Comment (Name/Email/Website optional):

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: