In 1972, Mark Spitz, at 22 took center stage in the Olympics. There are few sports that allow an athlete the possibility of turning multiple gold medals; swimming is the only event that would allow anyone to set the record Mark did. He won an astonishing 7 Gold Medals. Three of his medals came in relays. All were world records.
His record stood for 36 years, and it took a miraculous Olympics for the US swim team combined with one of the most amazing swimming athletes of all time to break that record.
Michael Phelps won 8 Gold Medals to pass Spitz for a new record. Michael, as was the case with Spitz, had to turn to teammates in three relay events to win!! One of them was a shocker in the 4x100M Freestyle Relay.
We have many of these shining moments highlighted on our website. And guess what? Every event, every single event was a new world record!! Every one!!! Michael had passed Spitz in total world records in a single Olympics as well.
Here is a table of the results:
It is not fair to compare the times one on one, other than to show how far athletes have come setting world records over the last 36 years. But it is phenomenal the amount of skill, preparation and luck that went into both records. Michael won the 4×100 Meter Freestyle as a team member and that team barely pulled it out against the French Braggart Bernard thanks to a leg by Michael’s hero of the Olympics Jason Lezak. Michael also won the 100 Meter Individual Butterfly by 1/100 of a second, winning by a finger nail!
Who is the best?
We can’t say. Both are great. Let’s see how long Michael holds onto his record!!
Two teams in the 4×100 Meter did the unacceptable, the unthinkable, the unimaginable. They dropped the baton. If you are slow to take the baton, you may lose a step. But if you drop it, you are disqualified, and someone should have explained this to the team before they stepped on the track!
Fortunately, the American’s learned from their experience. This time, the baton was not going to be a problem. Hopefully, never again would it be a problem for the US in the Olympics. You can come from behind, as Sanya Richards demonstrated, but you cannot recover from the baton hitting the dirt.
The US Women’s team consisted of Mary Wineberg, Allyson Felix , Monique Henderson and Sanya Richards. Sanya had to overtake Russia’s Anastasia Kapachinskaya to win the Gold and it was an exciting race to watch.
The Men’s team LaShawn Merritt, Angelo Taylor, David Neville and Jeremy Wariner broke the Olympic record winning Gold. Wariner looked much happier after this race than after losing to Merriitt in the 400 meter men’s individual event.
The men were very careful to not drop the baton this time. And that care did not make a difference in their winning time. How important is the pass? We hear it in every relay. And someone forgot to tell these guys; they had to learn the hard way.
The Spanish outplayed the US for the first quarter, and with an array of players that are all paid millions, the US was trailing by 5 early, their biggest deficit of the Olympics. This was an injured Spanish team, and they were still beating the so-called Redeem Team.
Chris Paul, for the US, fortunately was strong driving to the basket, drawing fouls and sinking the basket, for 3-point plays.
Wade entered the game and exerted some obvious hustle, and the announcer noted “the team seems to play their best ball when he is on the court.” So maybe the US could show why they get paid millions to sink hoops.
Why can’t they just bring the championship NBA Team the Celtics to clean up this Spanish motley crew? If they could humiliate the Lakers, certainly they could make mincemeat out of a few Spaniards.
But the overly tattooed US Team looked kind of silly overall against a team that should have been a relatively easy target. At the end of the first quarter, Wade made a steal, but looked like a spaz going to the basket, throwing the ball away.
The US led after the first quarter, but not by much, and these are the best the US can offer?
Lucky for the US, as the game entered the second period, the Spanish team was missing free throws. Kobe sank a three to put the US up by ten. He is not getting enough credit in these games for his leadership. He sinks it when he has to and he is doing it from everywhere on the court. If he played like this against the Celtics, they would still have lost, just by not as much.
Dwight Howard of the US made a stupid foul. He let Gasol get by him and instead of just letting the shot go, he grabbed Gasol like a rag doll, and received an “Un-sportsman-like foul”. What excuse does a pro team up by 10 have for acting out like this?
Gasol missed both shots. Howard got lucky. And the Spanish, had they practiced their free throws, may have been in this game more.
Kobe traveled getting two on a fast break, but the ref missed it and he got the basket giving another break to the US.
Spain started getting sloppy, and the referees seemed to start getting much lighter on the foul calls, letting the US team take advantage of their aggressive play, leading to a 13 point lead. But Spain sunk a three to bring it from within 10.
An easy strip of the US by Rubio and a weak foul by the US led to Rubio sinking two free throws and reducing the US lead to 8.
On the ensuing play, Anthony got stuffed and Spain stole the ball. The US had to resort to a foul to keep Spain from getting within 6 easily. The US team looked like they were dancing with the Spanish players, grabbing them in ways the referees should never have allowed.
Kobe, our hero of this Olympics, took a weak shot by Spain and a fast break pass to sink an easy basket. Kobe was smooth.
But with the squeak of the sneakers, Spain snuck in another basket to keep it within 8.
Offensive foul US on a sadly missed layup led to the Spain throwing in 2 free throws to come within 6.
Now the weirdest play of the game. A quadruple steal. Spain steals from the US, who steals from Spain, who steals it back form the US and Wade finally steals it again from Spain. James went to the basket and sunk it and drew the foul. Spain blew a chance to come within 4. James missed, but Wade stole the ball again and sunk it for a 10 point US lead and Spain called for mercy with a time out.
At the half, it was within 9 for Spain, and the overpaid “redeem team” was looking vulnerable.
Spain immediately pulled within 6 and this was looking like a real play-off game. Something the US certainly did not expect after blowing out this same Spanish team by 40 points earlier in the Olympics.
The US looked like they had little heart. Maybe it was because there was no bonus paycheck in this game, but they threw it to Spain. The US countered with a steal, just to have Spain nab it back on their end of the court. Spain went for a three and missed.
The rest of the game was pretty much the same. The US did not give up their lead, but they didn’t expand it either. US Gets Gold by 11, 118-107.
The “Redeem Team” gets the Gold, but we are thinking after this kind of play, the teams they play for may want to renegotiate their contracts to save a few mill.
The US has not lost a match, or a set, in 107 straight matches. No one can even fathom that number. It is like trying to understand the Universe. Billions of Stars, Hundreds of Billions of planets in our own Galaxy, hundreds of millions of life years away. And we drive 70 miles an hour on the freeway and get speeding tickets. Now add to that that these ladies are 460-18 since 2004. We are talking astronomical numbers.
These women have accomplished something nearly as difficult to realize. All the best teams in the world, from every country, out of 6 billion people, every combination of 2 women that are above average to excellent in beach volleyball in the world have tried to beat these beautiful ladies. And you know what? They can’t.
Misty says, “I am good, Kerri is good, but together we are GOLDEN!!” Misty understands the primary definition of the word “team”. It has a selfishness and pride in each other that is required to win. It is like a successful marriage where the partners understand that they are a team and it is them against the world. When you cannot take pride in your partner’s victories, when you start thinking of yourself above the team, you lose!
This article will be long. The reason? This match deserves strong coverage. It deserves nearly a point-by-point call of each event. We will also provide a video, but please, read the emotion this game sparked. Our hearts were in our throats through every point. Our effort went into every word. And these spectacular champions are as much in every emotion we express in our words as can possibly be reflected from watching this game.
The first set, in the monsoon rains, was difficult. Blocking was the most difficult aspect, because blocking a slippery ball is much harder than blocking a dry ball. The wet ball does not stick to the arms, it slides through. And that made Kerri’s job that much more difficult. Misty will block on occasion, but blocking is Kerri’s specialty, so this had to be Misty’s match.
Misty’s mother died recently and she has spread her mother’s ashes throughout the world into the sands of her games. She has also added a tattoo to her shoulder in honor of her mother. Misty has undying love and commitment. The reason she cannot be beaten is because there is no one and nothing that can beat her. Sounds like the same thing, but it isn’t. Think about it.
Kerri/Walsh were scary in the first set.
In the second set, they took an early lead 3-0. But this Chinese team was tough. There was never any doubt that anything less than a 20-0 lead was over with Tian/Wang.
Sure enough, bit by bit, the Chinese tenacious play had come back to even. How could it be? Could Kerri and Misty be wearing down. Certainly, it could happen. These Chinese are butch and strong. And they are mutants. The tallest player is only ½ inch shorter than Kerri. So this isn’t a matter of height. It is a matter of talent.
It seemed like May-Treanor-Walsh had a chance to win easily by spreading the lead to 6-3. But we already told you, these Chinese Girls have beaten the US team before. And they have the sense of searching for blood. They also have some tricks, but we will point that out later.
One thing you constantly notice about Kerri and Misty is how much they appreciate each other in the matches. They can get completely outmatched and embarrassed on a point, and still, they stand up, brush themselves off, and greet each other, even on the lost point for their incredible effort. They recognize that every point is difficult, and as a team, they earn everything, even the misses.
It is hard to understand congratulating someone for a point lost. But it is all in the knowledge that both you and your partner did your very best to not let it be a point for the other side. Neither of you let the other down. It was just a point. It happens. That makes a team, and in this case the best Olympic Beach Volleyball team in history.
The Asians needed a timeout. So Tian tends to fake injury. At this juncture, down 2, the Chinese needed to slow the momentum. This has been played before. It is cheap, and has never been played by the greats, but it does get played by the losers. It sometimes works to deflect the true winners momentum, but in reality, it is a cheap tactic. The Chinese had used a similar tactic in …
In the last set, May-Treanor leads 18-17. Tian has this forward spin to take serves. Misty bounces it up. Kerri spike, but the Chinese do not go down easy. And in the next volley, Misty cannot get the spike off and Tian gets off a mean block feeding it back in Misty’s face.
At Set Point 20-18, Misty Served. The Chinese team makes a weak return and Misty returns it for an easy placement shot in the middle of the sand.
Kerri was the most valuable player in 2004. This year it was Misty. An that shows something that all teams should take notice of. That is what a team is. Both are great. 108 matches without a defeat!!
FIRST POST, 21 August 2008, 2:00am
Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh beat the #1 ranked Chinese team for Gold!!! Not just Gold, their second consecutive Olympic Gold!!! The first women’s team to ever get back-to-back Golds in the Olympics.
These ladies had to play in a torrential downpour against a very strong Chinese team and won their 108th match in a row. Think about that number. Olympic Gold is difficult, downright near impossible, but winning 108 matches in a row in World and Olympic competition? That is insane!!!!!!
We will be back with a video and a complete play by play. We will not let you, our readers down, on this. Please come back. You WILL get the absolute best coverage of this historical and super human event!!!
Misty, we love you!! Kerri, we adore you!! Just being on the same sand is an honor to any team.
GO USA!!! GO USA!!! GO USA!!!
In our poll, we have asked our readers if they feel that China’s Women’s Gymnastics squad should be stripped of their Gold medals. In similar polls, we have asked if they feel Gold medals and various judging calls clearly favored the Chinese in what appeared to be cheats or set-ups. Finally, we have asked if they consider that China Cheats by allowing girls that are significantly under age.
We have had an overwhelming response and the results may surprise you. Approximately 85-90% of respondents believe that China does cheat and should be denied their medals. They believe that introducing significantly under age girls into the Olympics is a violation of Olympic rules and should deny China the right to compete.
While we originally favored not penalizing the Chinese teams that did cheat, we have changed that view. Had it been America that cheated, the world would have called us a disgrace and gladly disqualified our teams. But America does not cheat. China cheats. And the world allows it. We are at a loss for words why some say they hate an honest America when in even something as simple as Olympics Competition, China demonstrates clear dishonesty and does not garner the same hostility?
Perhaps media control and protected borders shield a nation from the eventual destruction that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the ultimate collapse of the USSR. But in the long run, people tend to hate success. Jealousy is why other nations hate the US. Fear that their lifestyles and freedoms will be more popular, thus breeding dissent from others in their own nations that similarly desire those freedoms, as would any human being.
Totalitarianism works for a while, but it usually fails, because it typically does not consider the rights of the individual. Making slaves out of children to make them Olympic Athletes, tearing them from their families and forcing them into training, only to discard them along the way if things don’t work out is child abuse.
Our Constitution, written by some of the most brilliant men in the last millennium, makes the US great, and if it applied to the entire world, all nations and all people would benefit.
China cheated before…
While it appears that some Chinese people may have been ‘in the dark’ about the minimum age rule in Olympic gymnastics, the same cannot be said about China’s women’s gymnastic team. Yang Yun, who was a double bronze winning Chinese gymnast in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, was originally listed as 16 years of age but later admitted on state television that she was only 14 when she competed.
The IOC, which was as spineless eight years ago as it is now, shrugged its shoulders and Yang was permitted to keep her medal. Eight years later in Beijing, it appears that Team China has managed to ‘pull off the same trick’ once again and this time it could carry away gold.
The US Team had three racers in the Men’s 400 Meter Hurdles finals for the medals. All three rose to the occasion. It was US 1-2-3, and there would be no judges to spoil this event.
Angelo Taylor put the field away for Gold. Angelo won the gold in Sydney eight yeras ago and again now in Beijing, proving he is the best anywhere in the world. Kerron Clement took the Silver!! And Breshawn Jackson with the Bronze. All American Heroes!!! Jackson said it all, “The US is behind us 100%, and it is an honor just to represent America.” You honored us today Breshawn. All three of you.