Upset of the Olympics! USA Soni Gold, New World Record!! Women’s 200M Breaststroke!!

The announcers started off by saying that this would be “all Jones”.  Leisel Jones from Australia was expected to break the world record and take home the Gold!  Rebecca Soni was lined up in the adjacent lane.

Jones took the lead and maintained it to the first turn, but it was still a tight pack.  At the first turn, it was Jones.  Soni made an incredible turn, keeping it close, but Jones was still in the lead.  The announcers suggested Soni ride along with Jones “as long as she can”.

It seemed to slip their view that now the ladies were tied at the second turn and both were ahead of the world record!

At the turn, Soni and Jones  both turned perfectly and left the field well behind.  This was down to a duel and these two both had incredible heart.

Jones took the lead and had 6 Golds already trying to make it a 7th, but Soni stole the lead away going into the final turn.  The announcers finally caught on, screeching, “This could be the upset of the Olympic Games!”.  Uh yeah!!

Soni had a slight lead, but Jones tightened up and could not keep up the World record pace, while Soni actually got stronger.  This was not to be number 7 for Jones.  She took the Silver and faced Soni GOLD!!!!  A New World Record  at 2:20.22 for Soni!!! Told ya CDs were over-rated!

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Photo Credits: Al Bello / Phil Walter / Jonathan Ferrey / Getty Images / NBC

USA Nastia Liukin Takes GOLD in Women’s Gymnastics All-Around Final; Shawn Johnson Gets Silver!!

Nastia Liukin was preparing for her first event, checking her gloves and focusing on the vault. Nastia was born in Moscow and brings Russian excellence to the US Gymnastics squad. Suddenly, she broke into the run towards the vault and burst off the board into a perfect jump sticking the landing with perfection. No step, no movement, just her hands reaching to the sky in victory.

Nastia’s father kissed her and she calmly returned to her backpack. Last year, Nastia missed nearly an entire year due to an ankle injury and could not have completed this vault all that time. Luck plays a huge part in the Olympics. It is once every four years, and you can be healthy and strong 3 out of 4 and if the fourth is the year of the Olympic games, you may never see a chance to participate again.

First score. 15.025.

Shawn’s turn on the vault. Shawn is stalkier and shorter than Nastia and has similar features to Mary Lou Rhetton. Strong legs, staunch body, and surprising strength. The vault was great, but a strong step forward on the landing may impact her score. Her left shoulder on the vault was not facing completely forward and her balance was off on the landing.

In the day of computers, all the judges have notebooks and examine every move repeatedly. There are cell phone conversations, consultations and considerable planning that goes into delivering the score, unlike so many years ago when the judges had to make their call based on purely what they saw during the actual exercise.

Shawn’s First Score: 15.875. Shawn looked angry at herself after the vault and was not happy with the score, but she was still .850 points ahead of Nastia on the way to the Uneven Parallel Bars.

Nothing could be “Nastia” for her opponents than Liukin on the uneven parallel bars. This is her event. The routine was difficult and sharp. She stepped big on the landing, but it shouldn’t hurt the score much given the incredible difficulty of the exercise. 16.650 on a difficulty of 7.700.

This is not Shawn’s strength, which is not to say she is not superb. She had some weaknesses on the hand stands but the dismount and landing stuck solid. No steps. The difficulty, however, was not comparable to Nastia’s. Score: 15.275 primarily because of a much lower difficulty rating of 6.3.

Nastia was now solidly in the lead after two events.

Shawn was first on the balance beam. Her flips across the beam were perfect. But a slight slip on a difficult reverse flip with a twist. The rest of the routine was beautiful and she had a nice dismount, but lost 1/10 on a step as she hit the mat. Score: 16.050.

Nastia raised the bar! She lifted herself up and performed several flips all landing without fault. Nastia needed a 15.975 to take the lead. Not a slip, not a bobble. And a dismount nailed, feet side by side, no step, no movement at all. Score: 16.125. Nastia still leads and beats Shawn on the beam!

The floor exercise would be the key, but with Nastia in the lead it would be hers to lose.

Nastia was in an ugly pink leotard, Shawn in the red of the team. We are not sure about the choice of color, but we are sure of the performance. Nastia was leading and the girl to beat for Gold.

Shawn was trailing Nastia by .600 at the floor exercise. Not impossible to overcome and Nastia had stepped out of bounds in her prior performance. So, perhaps, it could be that Shawn could come back. But with that lead, it was looking like the pink Nastia was the flower to bloom.

Nastia only needed a 14.75 to take the lead. She started perched to the side and made some of her signature ballet style moves. On her first set of flips and twists she nailed the landing just inside the line, not stepping out like in her prior performance. She then killed her next sequence and nailed the landing again. The entire audience was cheering, it sounded as though she had even won over the home crowd. More ballerina perfection and then a final move into a perfect hit and pose for the crowd. This was as perfect as we have seen in this Olympics on floor. Score: 15.525 and a solid lead!

This would be nearly impossible for Shawn. She put on her beautiful smile, but needed a 16.125 to take Gold. This was not possible, and Shawn knew it. Nastia already had the Gold, it was just a waiting game. Shawn’s start was incredible and one started to think about 16.125 not being all that impossible after all. She does not do the ballerina moves like Nastia and this artistic touch seems preferred by the judges. Shawn gets down to it, executing strong moves with little fluff. Another fantastic move, could this be happening, could she possibly deliver that Golden score? Her moves were powerful and clean. There were ooohs and ahhs from the audience and another incredible performance.

Could it be? Could the impossible Shawn overcome the Pink Nastia? She performed with all her heart and soul, but it would not be enough. Score: 15.525, an unexpectedly low score from a set of judges that have been particularly hard on Shawn in this competition. It would get her the Silver.

Nastia Liukin beat out Shawn Johnson of the US for the Gold, and Shawn gets another Silver!  Shawn only lost by .600 of a point.  Yan Yilin of China only lost by .675 and took the Bronze.

Nastia hugged her father, took her bow in Pink and Shawn and Nastia hugged. They posed for pics and Nastia went back and hugged her dad again. And then, as with most 16 year olds, sought out her cell phone.

US 1-2, and legitimate too!! Thank you for that wonderful performance.

Photo credits: Kazuhiro Nogi / Julian Finney / Getty images /NBC

US Women’s Beach Volleyball Gold Champs May-Treanor/Walsh Waffled by Belgians? Gibb/Rosenthal Play: A Horror Show

Going into this match, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh had won 104 straight matches.  Staggering.  But that was about to be challenged.

May-Treanor/Walsh were to play Belgians Mouha and Van Breedam.  The Belgians are big girls.  Mouha weighs in at 195 pounds and is 6’4″ tall, and may qualify for an NFL Linebacker position after the Olympics.

This wasn’t to be the May-Treanor/Walsh Waltz this time.  These big gals from Belgium showed the skinny Americans that bringing a little beef to the party can be welcome when it comes time to cook.

Mouha/Van Breedam kept the match close and then opened up a 3 point lead at 15-12.  Then, the unthinkable, 16-12 on a block by Mouha.  The US gals have not had to face a blocker as big as Mouha.  Shoot, there are no blockers as big as Mouha!!

The play started getting more intense as the teams traded points and the Belgians worked to a 19-17 lead. May-Treanor/Walsh were clearly in trouble, and Van Breedam made an impossible save and then placed a mean cut shot from right to left across the net and left the Americans bewildered.  20-17 Triple-Set Point Belgium.  Could this be the end of the US Run?

The Belgians had a chance to finish it and Misty pulled the serve out of the sand, but the Americans couldn’t put it away.  Mouha got off a weak spike and the Misty was able to volley it and put it in the sand taking away one set point.  18-20 Double Set Point Belgium.  And Mouha!

Mouha again delivered a weak spike and Misty set it up for Kerri.  But Kerri passed it back to Misty and she took the kill.  19-20.  Set Point Belgium.

There had to be Misty in the Belgians eyes, because the US played a beautiful serve and volley and Misty put it away once again to tie the score.  Belgium had missed 3 chances to take the set.

The Belgians put on a fantastic volley to take the lead 21-20 as Misty went at least 10 feet out of bounds to retrieve one volley, showing that the US Gals still had major heart.  That heart paid off once again.  It was set point Belgium, but they could not deliver and Walsh spiked it past them to bring the score to 21-21.

But it was Mouha’s turn for a kill and it was 22-21.  Set Point Belgium AGAIN and Mouha looked to be striking some fear into the Americans.  Misty wasn’t going to give Mouha the chance, taking a soft touch shot for the line and placing it perfectly to bring the set to 22-22.

A brutal Belgian spike scooped up inches above the sand by Misty sent the ball into the air and all Walsh could do was get it over the net.  The Belgians set up again, and it was looking to be another Belgian Set Point.  But NO, Kerri blocked the shot and the US took the lead for their own set point!!!  Unbeleivable.  Mouha was on her knees and it was like she was looking for the ball in the sand.

The Belgians choked on the next point and the match went to the US team.  This broke the big women’s backs.  24-22, Set 1, US!

We don’t want to play down how well the US played the second set, but they started off with a 5-1 run and never looked back.  Misty and Kerrie went up 20-10 and and finished it with a touch shot by Walsh leaving Mouha face first in the sand.  US 21-10!  The bigger they come, the harder they fall!! Straight Sets again.  That makes it 105 straight Matches without a single loss!!

Gibb/Rosenthal USA Beach Volleyball A Horror Show

The Japanese were working hard, and Gibb and Rosenthal didn’t even look warmed up at 19-12.  The US won a rather uninspiring first set US 21-15.

Japan didn’t let up and kept it close in the second set, but the US still seemed in control.  Then, the Japanese team started a run and were able to pull out the second set 21-19.

The teams played to a 13-13 tie, and now, it was scary.  The first to score two consecutive points would win.  14-13, match point Japan.  14-14.  15-14 match point Japan.  15-15.  Oh my.  Then, it looked like it would be 16-15 Japan, but Gibb pulled off a miraculous block and it was 17-16 match point US.

Was it to be????

16-16.    Back where we started.

Japan blunders!!  A serve out of bounds!!  17-16 US!!  Gibb blocks a weak spike by the Japanese and Gibb takes them out for good.  18-16.

Don’t scare us like that guys!!

Photo credits: Thomas Coex /Joe Clamar / Getty Images / NBC

US Greeces the Wheels, Unstoppable after Wiping the Floor With Greece and Slipping Right On By!

By Evan Roessle, Guest Writer

Having lost to this same Greek team four years ago in Athens, the US team was determined to redeem itself and come away victorious.

As the United States basketball team prepared for their third game in the summer Olympics, you could sense the tension.  Would the US dominance in the games come to an abrupt end as it did in 2004, or would the improved level of competition put a road-block in the US team’s pursuit of a Gold medal?

In 2004, the US lost to Greece in the Bronze medal competition, and the fear was they would they just choke under the pressure, and their desire to return home to their cushy multi-million dollar contracts.

As the game began, the teams volleyed for dominance, each team in turn rotating between establishing its offensive and defensive strategies.  The volleying made it difficult to establish if either team had the advantage.

Jason Kidd started for the United States at point guard, and picked up three fouls in the first two minutes, creating a dire situation, leaving coach K to possibly have to resort to his reserves.  Chris Paul and Deron Williams were ready though, and both have more talent than most of the US competitition, so it wasn’t all that difficult of a problem.

Greece took an early lead, and with the US trailing 13-9 in the first quarter, Dwayne Wade entered the game. From there, Wade led the US team increasing both the intensity on offense and defense, reversing the trend and taking the US lead to 17 at half time.

In the first half, Wade, and Chris Bosh had the largest impacts providing tough D! Several steals for Wade and a couple of blocks for Bosh helped the US establish a lead Greece would be staring at for the rest of the game.

In the second half, the United States controlled the tempo, maintaining their twenty-point lead.  Aggressive defense and assistance from a Greek team that was not prepared to come from behind led to a final score of 92-69.

The United States proved that it is not the same team it was four years ago, and the Greeks were an easy target.  The team that lost to Greece in 2004 can now anticipate and prepare for their next competitor, Spain.   Experts believe Spain will be their toughest competition, having a mixture of NBA and European players.  The Spanish team has talent, and may be able to hang around with the United States team, but our bet is on a US GOLD rush and Spanish SILVER!!

Photo Credits: Nicolas Asfouri / Filippo Monteforte / Jeff Gross / Getty Images / NBC

US Men’s Beach Volleyball, a Power-Hausser as Dalhausser/Rogers Trash Argentina

Dalhausser/Rogers played Baracetti/Conde of Argentina.  The Argentinian team defeated the Latvian team that beat Dalhausser/Rogers in their opening match.

Dalhausser/Rogers opened the lead early, and continued to open it up.  Argentina was forced to call a time out after the US Team went up 15-9 following an uncontested spike by Rogers as the Argentinians just stood and watched.  The Argentinians were beginning to look more like spectators than participants, just watching the ball go past.

The timeout didn’t change anything.  Rogers, despite being the shorter American, was delivering winner after winner.  Another score delivered by Rogers and it was 19-11.  No one can come back against Dalhausser/Rogers in that situation.

Set over on a Dalhausser spike.  21-12.

The US team did not look as sharp in the second set, giving Argentinia numerous chances.  But the Argentinians never led in the set, despite blunders such as serves straight into the net by Dalhausser.

Dalhausser helped the US pull away with an Ace while all the Argentinians could do was stare, 14-10 .  Dalhausser at 16-10 made a super human move.   He went up to block but the ball went past, he fell backwards and placed the ball up for Rogers, who set up the spike.  Dalhausser actually got up in the air fast enough to deliver the winning spike.

It was déjà vu in the second set at 19-11.  And bye bye Argentina, 21-13.


Photo Credit: Thoma Coex / Getty Images

US Men’s 4x200M Freestyle Relay Team Destroys Competition and World Record, 11 GOLDS FOR PHELPS!!

Michael Phelps started for the US, and, as usual, surged to the front.  He took the first turn ½ body length in front and was extending his lead as he got to the second.  Phelps touched well ahead of the world record and no one was close.

Phelps continued to extend his lead to what appeared to be 2 full body lengths for Ryan Lochte who, at the first turn, had a 2 ½ second lead over Russia, the next nearest contender.  Lochte reached the second turn still well ahead of the world record, and again, not one other racer in the pool was beating the world record.  His lead at the end of the 2nd leg, about 2 body lengths.  He widened it on the turn.  By the third turn, Lochte was three body lengths in front and the US was destroying the World Record.  Lochte , a 3 time world champion wasn’t going to give up an inch.

Lochte handed off the baton (figuratively of course) at over 3 seconds ahead of world record pace.  Ricky Berens took over and by the end of the first lap, was so far out in front, it looked like he could have stopped for a Margarita on the side of the pool and still won.  Berens was already stroking home as other competitors were just making the turn.

Peter VanderKaay (PBK) entered the pool at 3.65 seconds ahead of the World Record.  If Jaws was not in the water hungry for Americans, this was over.  Again, at the turn, PBK was so far ahead of the pack that the rest of the swimmers could not even flip at the turn before he was clearly driving away.

As PBK turned home, no one was close, and not only did the US team beat the world record, they beat 7 minutes!! The time was 6:58.56 destroying the world record by 5 full seconds and everyone else in the pool by 5.14 seconds.  Unheard of!!  The camera had to go to super wide angle just to get everyone competing in the picture for the last lap.  This was such dominance, that no one could have believed it unless they actually saw it.

That now is 11 total Golds for Phelps!!  One more, and he will not only have the most Golds ever in history in the Olympics but the most medals period.

Photo Credits: Nick Laham / Paul Gilham / Getty Images

China “Cheats” Their Way To Olympic Gold In Women’s Gymnastics. USA Silvers.

America was about to compete against the Chinese “Women’s” Gymnastics Team.  After a brilliant vault, Deng Linlin of China returned to the sidelines to be greeted and congratulated by her teammates.

The American team was nearby, and what was absolutely apparent was that the American team all looked 16.  Most of the Chinese team barely came up to the American Girls’ shoulders, and looked to be between 13 and 14 with the exception of Deng Linlin who looked all of 11 years old.

The minimum age requirement for women to be considered eligible for Olympics competition in gymnastics is 16, and somehow almost all the Chinese girls have passports that confirm they are exactly 16.  These, of course, were printed by the Chinese Government.   The International Olympic Committee has chosen to trust China to be honest in this competition despite how obvious the violation is.

The USA Team Competes

First Vault by an American was Bridget Sloan.  She jumped a perfect vault, and although a little off center on the landing, stuck it well within the line.  Her total score 15.200.

Shawn Johnson vaulted next, leaping and tumbling perfectly in the air.  The difficulty on Shawn’s vault was greater, and as she landed, her legs crossed.  Despite the slip, her score for this incredible jump was 16.0.

Alicia Sacramone was next.  Her vault was nearly perfect except for a small hop at the end.  That would cost her 1/10 of a point.  But the difficulty was high and she totaled 15.675, placing the team ahead of China, but both China and the US were trailing Russia.

Chelsie Memmel, a world champion on the uneven parallel bars took the floor.  Because of an injury, Chelsie would only compete in this event.  Therefore, the bars would be everything for her and her only contribution to the team.  This would be her last Olympic exercise, and she was near perfection.  Her landing motionless.  Her score, 15.725!

Shawn Johnson was quick and smooth in her performance and did a dismount that is among the hardest in the competition.  She nailed it without so much as a ripple.  Her score, 15.350.  This was disappointing after that great dismount.  It was difficult to explain this low score.

Nastia Liuken is stellar on the bars, and she executed a routine that is incredibly difficult.  Every move was perfect.  She fell on her last dismount in the qualifying round.  Not this time.  Score, 16.900, as close to 17 as we have seen.  As she stood awaiting her score, Nastia stood behind Deng Linlin.  Deng barely reaches the bottom of Nastia’s neck.

The next challenge for the Americans was the balance beam.  Alicia Sacramone fell off the beam.  And her look was total disgust.  She fell just jumping on the beam and lost 8/10 of a point to start.  Her dismount was amazing, but it would be negated by the poor beginning.  Score 15.100.

Liukin had to save the day and started well, but lost her balance half way through.  Despite the slight slip, her dismount was perfect, and it needed to be.  15.975.

Shawn Johnson finished up on the beam, beginning with three backflips executed perfectly.  She hit every move and then landed with only a slight step on an incredibly difficult dismount.  Score, 16.175.

After the beam, the separation between China in first and the US in second was only one point despite the “Sacramone”ous fall.  If Alicia had not slipped on the beam, the US would likely be ahead.

The Americans’ Sacramone began the floor event and could not shake the nerves.  She fell backwards, landing on her behind, after a double forward flip, losing 8/10 of a point.  The upset from her prior fall was probably just too much for her to handle, and you know she was devastated.  That fall likely gave China the gold, barring disaster.  She was brilliant in the rest of the exercise, until she stepped out to lose another 1/10 of a point.  Everything that could go wrong did.  She knew she had just lost the gold for her teammates even after all the years of practice, and at 20 this is likely her last Olympics.  She was afraid to look as the score posted at 14.125, a score the rest of the team could not hope to make up.

Nastia Liukin was next and stepped out on her first move, losing 1/10 of a point.  The exercise was beautiful, so hopefully, she could score well, but it likely wouldn’t matter after the disaster in the first exercise.

Shawn Johnson is the World Champion.  But even perfection could not win this for the Americans if it were not accompanied by disaster for the Chinese (such as their true age being revealed maybe)?  Even Shawn stepped out on the first pass.  1/10 point gone.  The entire team was rattled by Sacramone’s heartbreaking performance.  Alicia was holding tears inside, and the other girls felt it.  Shawn did well, but NBC decided a commercial was more important than displaying her score.

Why This Competition Was Unfair Before the Olympics Even Started

Bela Karolyi, the former coach of Olympic gold  medalists Nadia Comaneci and Mary Lou Retton, was interviewed before the Chinese performed, and said, “This young Chinese team (is) using 14-15 year olds, all kids, they have no pressure…”.  When asked if he believed the Chinese team was cheating, he said “that is obviously documented.  Half the Chinese team is underage.”

Karolyi followed the event with the statement, “I have to comment the Chinese Team, (are) good kids; nothing to say about that.  Too bad they are underage and should not be legally accepted…”

In other words, it is too bad that we allow the Chinese to cheat right under our nose and do nothing about it.  The Chinese Girl’s Olympic Team Gets the Gold.

And so we leave you.  The US did not execute their best game, but they also could not choose from the same range of talent the Chinese could.  The age limit should either not exist or be universally enforced.  Anything else is clearly unfair to our athletes.

We have a related follow up story on this one over at: Communism Does Not Upset us, Chinese Cheats Do! How NASDAQ Assists China As They Cheat the US in Olympics and In Business

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Photo Credits: Lluis Gene / Al Bello / Getty Images

Michael Phelps Agitated Even As He Beats Spitz’ Record. Takes GOLD in 200M Butterfly!!

Michael Phelps
was about to take away Mark Spitz record as the most decorated Gold medalist in history. Spitz’ record has held for 36 years! And it would take a miracle swimmer like Phelps to do it.

Phelps was ahead at the first turn and in perfect form, but the turn was not crisp and allowed Burmester of New Zealand to take the lead, but that lead didn’t last long. By the end of 100 Meters, Phelps had returned to the front of the pack.

Phelps was chasing the world record at the final turn. And Burmester from New Zealand was somewhat close, but no one could touch Michael as he made Olympic History with a new World Record and the Gold!

Phelps actually appeared disappointed despite making history taking his 10th career Olympic Gold medal. Why? Because Michael wanted to break 1:52, and he did not make it. A World Record was not enough for Phelps!!

Phelps is now only one medal away from tying Spitz for total medals. In less than one hour, Michael would have his chance to do it.

Photo Credit: Itsuo Inouye / Getty Images