As of about 10 minutes ago, China is lapping the world with 35 gold medals – the US is second with 19. The US is slightly ahead in overall medals, 65 to China’s 61.
Apart from their five impressive golds in gymnastics and diving, the Chinese have accomplished the remarkable and clever achievement of dominating “sports” that no one knows are part of the Olympics, outside of the Olympics are only played in backyards and bars, and are never televised under any circumstances. These include table tennis, badminton, air pistol, jarts, mens bocci, throat tromnet, rock skipping and caps.
It is disappointing the US has floundered in track and field so far. No places in the womens’ marathon or 100 meter, or mens’ 1500 meter – all of which we were expected to at least have a decent showing in. But the good thing about track and field is it is still a pure meritocracy and “judges” have no role in determining the winners, so the highlight events of the next week should have less of a WTF factor (N. Korean lands on her knees and still wins gold, at the expense of Alicia Sacramone, among numerous ripoffs dealt by the judges this Olympics).
Supposedly after tonight’s pea-shooting finale the Chinese will have practically no presence the final week of the games so maybe we’ll catch up a bit.
Olympic “boxing” is not a sport so much as a showcase for incompetence, because the people who do the judging are at best morons but more likely simply corrupt. Professional boxing is no crowning example of rectitude, but the BS at the Olympics is at a whole ‘nother level.
Kids, if you are interested in boxing, just plan to skip the Olympics and go straight from Golden Gloves to pro, because competing at the Olympics will waste your time and teach you unhelpful lessons.
I have caught snippets of a couple dozen bouts and I can tell you the judging is execrable. In bout after bout, guys are doing excellent work, landing lots of punches, and getting no credit for landing any punches, and consequently losers are winning and vice versa.
During a bout the other day the idiot of a referee stopped the guys literally after every single engagement with some nonsensical correction. It was “punch punch punch – stop. punch punch punch – stop” for four rounds.
It’s Alice in Wonderland stuff. Not every bout is surreally awful, but so many are that the whole section of the Games should be canceled, shut down, and replaced with more sensible activities like perhaps synchronized potato gun shooting.
1) Anyone watching the mens gymnastics? The US really is rising to the occasion. This is pretty cool to watch (two events to go).
2) Speaking of men, men’s synchronized diving was quite possibly the gayest thing I have ever seen in a “sport” venue and the Americans were the gayest of the gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it seems like if they want to add events why not just add more individual diving events from different heights rather than men in skimpy bathing suits giggling on the platform and then taking a shower together. Aesthetically speaking, certain sports are more appropriate for women, if you ask me. Two men on a platform should be doing a cannonball contest in cut-off jeans with stogies in their mouths and beers in their hands, nothing less.
3) NBC is doing a great job with this entire project. Much as I hate the MSM, this has to be one of the crowning achievements in broadcasting history. They just said that, on all the various channels and the Web, NBC is presenting more hours of programming this year than in every Summer Olympics since 1960 combined. The event coverage is substantive with just the right amount of human interest rather than the overwrought, soupy, weepy vignettes in broadcasts of Olympics past.
4) Key sponsors: McDonalds, Coke, Budweiser. Three brands I have never had a lick of passion for or loyalty to, and that won’t change after these Games. But they do nice commercials.
5) Much as I still plan to root against the Chinese throughout, just on principle, I cannot build up a head of animus for the kewpie-doll cute Chinese “womens” gymnastics team because for gods sake these little girls are like figurines; and frankly the Chinese mens team is a study in drama, tragedy and general emotional turmoil and their coach’s facial expression is like he must be downing a bottle of Maalox every hour. I want the US men to come through, but you have to feel for the Chinese gymnasts and the unbelievable expectations placed on them. They don’t seem like a particularly happy bunch.
UPDATE: On the third event, Jonathan Horton for the US is tearing up the floor exercise. The Chinese just body-slammed the field on the vault, the Japanese were solid on the parallel bars, but the US is hanging in there despite a few bobbles. After losing two key athletes to injury right before the Games, the US was not supposed to do anything, but they are now poised for silver going into the last event – pommel horse. Two of the three on this event were not even supposed to be on the US team a month before the Olympics. This Artemev kid supposedly can either fly like an eagle or fall like a rock and he is going last.
UPDATE II: Well, after the first two US men got basically pummeled on the pommel, Artemev just did an electrifying performance. Wow! The best they can probably get is bronze, but that would be a huge tour de force for this team.
UPDATE III: Cool, the US hung on for bronze, and China definitely deserved the gold. The first was not supposed to happen, the second was absolutely supposed to but was highly in doubt nonetheless.
Incredible race. 46 second flat split in the final leg. French trash talkers go down. Ha ha ha.
UPDATE: There won’t be any news links or photos for a while, but suffice it to say the US just accomplished one of its best coups of the games. This was a huge win. I can’t wait for the news and photos to come out.
AND HEY, THE CHINESE ACTUALLY LET THE THE ENTIRE US NATIONAL ANTHEM PLAY!
UPDATE III: And here is the official news coverage.