Sunday, August 10, 2008

Olympics: Basketball and Phelps

I love watching the Olympics as I get to watch sports that I would never find anyplace else. Right now, as I write, I’m checking out the USA-China water polo game. This morning, I also caught the USA-China basketball game, where the USA’s so-called “Redeem Team” crushed China 101-70.

Seeing that score, you would think that the USA team dominated the game on every level. That could not be farther from the truth however. China, especially early on in the game, was raining down three’s. The USA’s perimeter defense was just awful. It felt as though everyone on the Chinese starting five was consistently hitting from outside the arc (even Yao Ming dropped one) in the first half and nearing the close of the second half, the game was tied.


However, clearly the saving grace of the USA team was Lebron James. He had three huge blocks in the game, one including when he grabbed Liu Wei’s lay-up attempt in mid-air. Lebron James was simply a defensive mastermind in this game as the man he was holding, Yi Jianlian, went four-for-thirteen shooting.

Offensively, Dwayne Wade was the star, as he did not miss a shot the entire game. He was 7-for-7 shooting and perfect from the free throw line. However, his teammates did not follow in his example in regards to foul shooting. The USA team went 18-for-25 from the free throw line, which in this Olympics, is just unacceptable. The USA team also could not hit their three’s, going 7-for-24 in the game. China is not the biggest test for the USA team either, and had they played this sloppy against Spain or Greece, the result might be different.

I can’t have a post about the Olympics without talking about what swimmer Michael Phelps did last night. Phelps is going for a mind-boggling eight gold medals, and he got the first one last night in the 400m Individual Medley. He didn’t just get the gold medal in this event; he also broke another world record, posting a time of 4 minutes 3.84 seconds. The previous record was 4 minutes 5.24 seconds, also set by Michael Phelps.

Photo: Getty Images

Seriously, this guy is just insane. Every stroke he has looks perfect; he never breathes at the wrong time and his entries into the water are just flawless. The NBC announcer said that his weak point may be the breaststroke, and that might be when other swimmers could catch up to him. Upon watching the competition however, he was gaining more ground on the competitors during that leg of the race. He simply looked unstoppable.

I don’t know if he has the stamina to get eight gold medals but no one in the Olympics has shown that they are even close to his swimming ability. Watch for Phelps on Wednesday though, as he has to do three events in one day, one of which includes the 4 x 200 freestyle relay, which will test the USA swim team altogether.

11 comments:

shawn said...

Dude - can't mention the Michael Phelps phenomenon without bringing to light this hilarious ad voiced by Morgan Freeman. No word as to whether Freeman was sitting in a chair sipping tea while reading it.

Richard R. said...

That's it. It's decided. When I die, I want Morgan Freeman to say my eulogy. He's so cool.

Will said...

@Shawn: Hilarious!

@Richard: You either have really high expectations for the scientific world making leaps in lengthening human life expectancy, or you don't have very high hopes for yourself...

It's funny that you just posted this, as I just posted something about Phelps on Will and Beyond. Had to make an edit on it once I saw Shawn's comment.

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