After 16 days of competition, some of it unforgettable, some of it we’d like to forget, the 2012 Summer Olympics in London are over. The games will be remembered for the huge success of the hosts Great Britain, and some controversies that had people shaking their heads. With that, cue up Sergio Leone’s iconic music, I present The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Usain Bolt is something special. Words can’t describe what the Jamaican sprinter has accomplished. Bolt did something no one else has done in Olympic history: Repeat as Olympic Champion in the 100 metre, 200 metre and the 4×100 metre relay. Although he fell short of breaking is own world records in the 100 and 200 metre races, Bolt’s furious anchor leg helped Jamaica break the world record in the 4×100 relay. He proclaimed himself to be a living legend, and I am not one to argue with him. He is the fastest human being this planet has ever seen, and I hope he goes for the three-peat in Rio De Janeiro in 2016.
Michael Phelps can safely say he’s done it all at the Olympics. Granted he didn’t win 8 gold medals in these games like he did in Beijing 4 years ago, but Phelps will go down as the most decorated Olympian of all time. 22 medals including 18 gold is pretty good if I do say so myself. In London, Phelps won 4 gold medals and 2 silvers. And he doesn’t even train that hard. I hope Phelps doesn’t swim in Rio, so he can say he retired on top. But he’s a competitor so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the pool, 4 years from now.
Men’s Volleyball doesn’t get a lot of attention at the Olympics. It doesn’t have the sex appeal of Woman’s Beach Volleyball, and it has never captured the North American TV audience outside of the Olympics. But the competition at these Olympics was spectacular, and provided some of the most thrilling drama at these games. The gold medal match between Brazil and Russia demonstrated why I love sports so much. An enthralling match, in which Russia lost the first two sets, before roaring back, winning the final three sets to win the gold medal. The athleticism and power of these athletes is incredible to watch. I would love to see this sport grow in the future.
Christine Sinclair is the finest soccer player Canada has produced in the last 20 years, and she showcased her talents big time in London. The striker was simply unstoppable for Canada, leading the women’s soccer tournament with six goals, including a hat-trick against the USA in the semifinals. Sinclair was the best player in the tournament, leading Canada to a bronze medal, the first soccer medal for Canada since 1904. You will hear more from this talented lady in the 2015 Women’s World Cup. I can assure you of that.
There was no better day for British Athletics than Saturday August 4, 2012. That day produced three gold medals for Britain within one hour of each other.
The first was Jessica Ennis in the heptathlon, as she blew away the field in the final event of the competition, the 800 metres. Ennis was the face of the London games, and she will be catapulted into superstardom in her homeland.
Greg Rutherford won gold in the men’s long jump, the first gold medal for Britain in this event since 1964.
Finally Mo Farah ended a glorious day for Britain, winning the 10,000 metres with British luminaries Sir Paul McCartney and the Royal Family looking on. Britain hasn’t had much to celebrate in the sporting world, but on that night, the British got their taste of Olympic glory. Farah also won gold in the men’s 5,000 metre race, becoming the first British runner to accomplish the 5,000 10,000 double at the Olympics.
Once again, controversy reared its head at the Olympics. Never more so than the semifinal match in woman’s soccer match between Canada and the USA. While both teams performed brilliantly, the game was marred by some very questionable calls by the Norwegian referee that FIFA assigned to the match, despite her lack of experience. It showed. With Canada up 3-2, keeper Erin McLeod was called for delay of game for holding onto the ball longer than the six seconds required. I have watched soccer for 30 years and played the sport for 10 years, and I’ve never seen that call made. The USA were rewarded with a free kick inside the 18 yard box. On the ensuing free kick, Canada was charged with a hand ball and a penalty was given to the USA. The Americans converted the penalty, and went on to win the match 4-3 in extra time. The Canadians were furious with the referee but nothing could be done about it. Simply put, Canada was robbed.
North Korea and South Korea don’t have the greatest relationship. That’s a given. So it should be easy to tell those countries flags apart. Tell that to the scoreboard operator at Hampden Park in Glasgow. As North Korea were entering the pitch for their first match in the women’s soccer tournament, the “genius” running the scoreboard put up a South Korean flag beside the players names. The North Koreans were rightfully upset and walked off the pitch. They did return after the error was fixed. British Prime Minister David Cameron called it “an honest mistake.” No, dropping a plate and breaking it by accident is an honest mistake. There is a significant difference between North Korea and South Korea. Next time, do a little homework on the subject.
Greece are the founders of the Olympic movement. The first games were held in Athens in 1896. You would think Greece would put up a solid showing at the Olympics. Think again. Greece had a horrible Olympics, winning 2 bronze medals over 16 days. For a country that invented the Olympics, Greece should be coming home with more than 2 bronze medals. Granted, Greece has bigger problems right now, with the economy being in disarray. However, 2 bronze medals isn’t good enough. A very disappointing Olympics for Greece.
Can someone explain why Equestrian dressage is in the Olympics? Please? I understand the show jumping and have no problem with that sport. But dressage? Really? This is a fashion show for horses and that’s it. The horses trot around like me after a few too many Crown Royals on a Friday night in this event. This is in while baseball and rugby aren’t? Wake up IOC!
While I respect the talents of Hope Solo and Abby Wombach, their boorish behaviour really bothered me throughout the Olympics. Yes both are extremely gifted players who helped the USA win gold in women’s soccer. But their arrogance and attitude did nothing to win me over. Solo criticizing former teammate and now broadcaster Brandi Chastain for not being supportive enough, even though Chastain was giving fair and constructive criticism on the US defence. Then Solo, telling the world that Christine Sinclair isn’t that good, “we made her look good.” Oh really? Wombach for her part helped the Norwegian referee by counting off the seconds Erin McLeod had the ball, calling it gamesmanship. Later she refused to give the Canadians credit for their performance, calling it lucky and they didn’t deserve to win because of a lack of fitness. These two are the biggest villains of London 2o12, and karma will strike down both of them very soon.
NBC’s coverage was ugly to say the least. While most of the world could watch the games live, the good folks at the Peacock network decided to stick with their tired and true formula of showing all events in prime time on tape delay. Yeah that formula works, in 1972. However, in today’s information age, where live streaming and social media rule the roost, NBC’s coverage was outdated and slow. Only the gold medal game in men’s basketball was shown live on NBC. Instead of showing live events during the day, NBC was airing Days Of Our Lives and seedy talk shows on their local affiliates. Not even the opening and closing ceremonies were shown live. And NBC’s streaming was in poor quality. Bob Costas and company must rethink their game plan for future Olympics. NBC were the laughingstock of the media world of these games.
CTV aired the Summer Olympics for the first time since 1992 and it was mixed to say the least. At least they showed everything live on their various networks. And James Duthie and Jennifer Hedger did a fine job hosting Olympic daytime. However, there were issues. The nauseating “I Believe” song that irritated a nation at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, returned to the chagrin of many Canadians. Yet CTV continued to play the song ad nauseam. Memo to CTV: Everybody hates that song! Stop playing it! I believe in the power of the mute button when I hear that horrendous song. It makes Norwegian death metal sound pleasant by comparison.
Brian Williams must retire. Now! Captain wristwatch as I like to call him, (I don’t care what time it is in Uganda Brian) as seen his better days. Williams was competent when he was with CBC and did solid work at the Olympics in Los Angeles, Seoul, Atlanta and Sydney. He should have retired after Sydney. Williams is an aging blowhard who is stuck in the past. His syrupy interview with Prince William and Prince Harry made him look like a sap. Worse yet, Williams tried so hard to make Missy Franklin Canadian, because she lived in Nova Scotia for a brief time. It was a move by a desperate Canadian broadcaster who needed something to talk about. It came across as amateurish, and weak. Time for someone to tell Brian to go home and hang up the mic.
I mentioned Greece earlier, but I should mention this ugliness. Triple jumper Paraskevi Papachristou was kicked off the Greek Olympic team, just prior to the Olympics, for sending out a racist tweet. When will people learn that racism won’t be tolerated at all? Boggles the mind.
So now the Olympics are over. Always sad to see an Olympics draw to a conclusion. Looking forward to Sochi in 2014 and Rio De Janeiro in 2016.
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