Olympic Trials

July 06, 2012 | Tom Federline

It’s hot. If you can’t be in a pool, in the bay or in the ocean, you might as well be reading my blog in air conditioning. I wish I was in a pool, heck I can even smell the chlorine. The pool thoughts reminded me of the Olympic trials which were on last week. Hope you caught some of the coverage on NBC and NBCSN. The focus was on swimming, gymnastics and track and field. I thoroughly enjoyed coming home from work and catching extended highlights prior to prime time coverage later in the evening. It was hot, I had to work, it was hot, limited outside activity, it was hot and the Orioles are not………..so bring on the Summer Olympics 2012. 

It was actually a refreshing surprise, to witness the formulation of the US Olympic Team. Watching these athletes compete at such a high level and watching their dreams being realized or crushed due to a matter of tenths of a second or tenths of a point, really gripped me. Making the team or winning the event is nothing new to me or to any of us. Maybe it was because I was cheering for ”all of them”, instead of  routing “only for the Americans” or “only for the ones who don’t look like they are on steroids”. Maybe it was because the top two or three spots got to go. Maybe it was the drama and the realization that the culmination of years of training was unfolded in the matter of minutes or seconds. What ever it was, congrats Team USA, ya got me hooked.

There were some new terms thrown at me, like “qualifying standards” and “A or B levels”. Bottom line the athlete could win the event but NOT make the team if they did not meet Olympic standards. BOOOOOOO, Olympic committee, with a goofball rule like that, there would have never been an Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards or an initial Jamaican bobsled team. You train, you win, you are the best in your country for an Olympic event, your country (or sponsors) have footed the bill to get you to the Olympics, guess what? You have earned the right to go. The US almost didn’t have a discuss thrower. Every country should have a discuss thrower. The cool thing is, the guy qualified on his last throw, surpassing the Olympic minimum of 65 meters (that’s 213.5 feet for us Americans). He was like 6 inches short prior to his last throw. This guy can throw a “saucer” over 200′ and some wimpy selection committee judge is not going to let this athlete compete? WRONG. You go Lance Brooks. Following are names that stood out to me, during the trials:

Track and Field – Amy Acuff (yes, this is her 5th Olympics -high jump), Allison Felix (sprints), Ashton Eaton (Decathlon), Wallace Spearmon (200m),  and Matthew Centrowitz (1500m – Broadneck High). I had the pleasure of watching Matt Centrowitz run a few years back, thanks to my step-nephew who was particpating in high school track (at a top level I might add). The young  lad could run like a deer, seemingly effortless with gears no one else had.

Womens (Girls) Gymnastics – Jordan Weiber (all around - 16 years old), Aly Raisman (Floor and vault – 18 years old).  Most of them are 16 – do they even have a drivers license? The minimum age is 16. Sixteen? Mens Gymnastics – John Orozco (all around - 19 yrs old) and Jonathan Horton (rings, horizontal bar – 26 years old). The women have a bulls-eye on them and are expected to medal. The guys are underdogs and that’s a nice spot to be in.

Swimming - The United States is just strong. Women – Missy Franklin and Allison Schmitt, you are going to hear those names almost as much as these next two . Men – Ryan Lochte and some guy named Phelps. There is quite a wake building, concerning the Lochte/Phelps potential duals in the pool. Hope that all pans out. The swimming events are going to be where it’s at. It amazes me how those swimmers/dolphins can cut through the water like they do. I finally bought a pair of fins for in the ocean (body surfing and boarding). 1 – they work. 2 – it was so cool to swim with those things on. Now I know how those top swimmers feel when cutting through the water – a cool sensation.

I am currently not up on all the sports the Olympics have to offer. We all soon will be. I am a fan of the more obscure sports, pentathlon, archery, rowing and of course synchronized swimming. I am sure there are Marylanders that have made the team also. So offer your thoughts and info. that I haven’t touched on. It’s all good.

I’m looking forward to July 27 – August 10th. We need some feelgood stories. We need a break in the heat. We need minimal bad press, i.e “roids”. We need the Wide World of Sport. It’s hot. It’s so hot, It’s “Hotter than Hell’ – KISS. Hopefully the US  Team can stoke the fire. U-S-A…. U-S-A…..U-S-A.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

Comments on Facebook

2 Comments For This Post

  1. JC Says:

    Dan:
    I too was sucked in to the drama of watching the lifelong dreams of these athletes being realized (or crushed) by the smallest of margains.
    Brought back fond childhood memories of the great Jim McKay saying, “the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat” Nastia Luikin’s fall from the uneven bars could have replaced the famous ski-jumpers fall for the “agony of defeat”.

    As for local and obscure sport interest, you’ll probably need to tune in to MSNBC3 at 4:00 AM to watch Suzanne Stettinius compete for the US in the Modern Pentathlon. Suzanne is a 24 year old farm girl from Parkton, Hereford High grad. As for the sport, perfect for her farm upbringing, 5 events in one day, Shooting, Equestrian riding, Cross Country Running, Fencing, and Swimming. I can only guess at the training and committment necessary for one sport much less five at once.

    I too am looking forward to watching the Olympics and getting out of the heat.

  2. Fedman Says:

    JC,
    There is NO replacement for the ski-jumpers “agony of defeat”. Nastia had a Nasty fall from an 8′ high bar onto a well-padded catch basin floor. I would still be laying there with a broken neck and cursing myself for swinging on a horizontall bar.
    Yugoslavian ski jumpers name……Vinko Bogataj – event was on 3/21/1970 – only received a “mild” concussion. It was his last jump of the day, prior to that he had flown 410′.
    Nasty fall Luikin had a tough realization that she was now over-the-hill, at the age of 22.
    Will keep an eye out for the Parkton gal and Pentathlon deal. I believe there is a Kayaker from Rockville also in the runnning for a medal. I heard he trains with great white sharks chasing him.
    Thanks fot the feedback. Keep ‘em rolling.

    PEACE

Leave a Reply