2012 Olympics: One week in

4 Aug

So I’m back from yet another accidental blog hiatus.  Keep me inspired to write with your comments and feedback!

The 2012 Olympics are upon us and I’ve found myself more interested in them than usual.  This is for many reasons, some of which I’ll tell you about here.

“The Rock” at Plymouth-Canton Educational Park in Canton, Mich. is painted gold in honor of hometown hero Allison Schmitt. (Photo courtesy of Plymouth-Canton Patch)

Allison Schmitt: A major part of my renewed interested this year is the presence of my personal hometown hero, swimmer Allison Schmitt.  Allison and I graduated from the same high school (Canton High School in Michigan), and I graduated with her older sister Kirsten in 2004.  And after graduation, Allison continued her schooling and training at the University of Georgia — here in Athens, my home for the past six years.

Allison has done amazingly well this year, as well have her teammates.  Allison herself has two golds, one silver and one bronze at this year’s Games.  Added to her bronze from Beijing in 2008, it gives Allison an Olympic career with five medals.

Our hometown community has united behind Allison’s quest for Olympic glory.  This article from the Plymouth and Canton Observer shows how the Olympics have caused the community to rally behind good news in an often-troubled economic climate of late.

Allison has also been credited with rejuvenating legendary swimmer Michael Phelps, her training partner, as he prepared for his final Olympics.

Phelps:  Speaking of Michael, he’s competing in his final Games, and as of now has 21 total medals — an all-time record.  The 2012 Games are Michael’s last of four (though he did not medal in Sydney in 2000).  Like Allison, seeing Phelps’ winning smile coming out of the water has been fun to watch.

Michael is so well-respected in the Olympic community that, when he passed former Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina in the all-time medal count, she wanted to present him with his medal, but the spoilsports from the IOC poo-pooed that idea.

The Fab Five:  The women’s gymnastics team has been full of storylines in this year’s Olympics, first with the sadness (and, frankly, crap) of Jordan Wieber being excluded from the finals of the all-around competition because of a new rule limiting each country to two competitors in the event; and ending with the U.S. team’s win in the team final, the team’s first gold since the Magnificent Seven in 1996, limping to victory on Kerri Strug’s bum leg, and Gabby Douglas’s all-around triumph.

What’s notable about the team final to me is the performance of McKayla Maroney, a 16-year-old from California.  McKayla had but one task in the team final — the vault.  She earned a 16.233 and started the event off with a bang and helped the U.S. to a comfortable victory.

Tom Daley

Gratuitous scantily-clad British swimmer Tom Daley, 18. (Courtesy: HuffPo via Getty Images)

Gratuitous scantily-clad men:  The first week has been rife with swimming, diving and gymnastics, which for a gay man means — SCANTILY CLAD MEN!  It’s been an enjoyable experience from that respect, to say the least.

So we move into other events in week 2, and I’ll post more thoughts as we go forward…hmm, and marvel at my lack of interest in men’s basketball, usually a major event for me each summer.  I’ll explore THAT phenomenon another day.

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One Response to “2012 Olympics: One week in”

  1. Jaguwar August 4, 2012 at 1:49 am #

    LOL @ the gratuitously, scantily clad men. I’m fascinated to realize you see more of them than I do. Dear ole Tom up there is surely the most scantily clad one I’ve seen. Whew!

    You know what I’ve noticed is a lack of coverage of the ring events. What’s up with that, NBC??? Or did I miss that too?

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