Wednesday, August 20

Though we are moved by and celebrate those who accomplish so much at the Olympic Games - Michael Phelps, Nastia Liukin, Shawn Johnson, and the rest - I am also moved by those who work so hard but come up short:

* Alicia Sacramone of the US Women's Gymnastics team, who fell on her last two events of the team finals and then finished fourth in the vault final.

* Four years ago, in Athens, Matt Emmons was leading the pistol shooting competition when, on this last shot, he aimed and hit the wrong target. This year he was again leading going into his last shot. But instead of shooting at the wrong target, somehow his gun went off before the was finished aiming and he again lost.

* Sanya Richards in the track and field 400 meters, who has been the best runner in the world for the past four years and yet finished third.

* Lolo Jones, whom I have watched run many times when she was at LSU and has been the best 100 meter hurdler in the world this year. You may have heard her story on the broadcasts - growing up homeless and living in the basement of a church and then in foster homes. She had dominated the preliminary rounds at the Olympics and was leading the final until she hit the ninth of the ten hurdles and fell back to seventh place. How could you not feel for her when you saw the look of agony on her face as she knelt on the track.

* And, finally, our friend Wallace Spearmon. Born and raised in Fayetteville and the son of a former Razorback All-American. To finish third in the men's 200 meters and then have the medal taken from you must be worse than not winning one at all.

NBC could do a great segment on the heartbreak of the Olympics.


As big a star as Michael Phelps has been, in my mind (and maybe it's because I'm a track and field fan) Usain Bolt has been just as incredible. His easy wins in both the 100 and 200 meter dashes - both in world record times - were incredible. In the 200 meters, he broke a record that many thought wouldn't be broken for another 20 years (no one had gotten within .30 seconds of it) and beat the rest of the field by over a half a second. Most track athletes don't reach their prime until their late 20's. Bolt is just 21.


Even for all of the work that China has done, and for all the effort they have made to improve their image, the nature of China's totalitarian government still shows through. Of course, there was their move in the Opening Ceremonies to have a "cute" girl lip sync the song rather than have the "uglier" (and more talented) girl sing.

Here is an article from the New York Times on their move to "re-educate" two elderly women whose homes were taken to build the Olympic development.

For all of the difficulties our country faces, we are so blessed to have the freedoms that we enjoy and often take for granted.

No comments: