Sorry for the delay in posting until 11:30… Blame NBC. I didn’t want to be the one to spoil the result for you.
When it comes to the Summer Olympics, two sports tend to steal a great deal of the spotlight and popularity: swimming and gymnastics. Not everyone gets into the drama of the two sports, but the common Olympic viewer seems to be drawn to them every four years. For two sports that will once again take the back seat to so many others for the next 3 years and 11 months– right now is their time to shine.
Gymnastics has always been fascinating to me, if for no other reason than for the “fleeting” nature of the sport. In sports such as swimming, basketball, soccer, etc., the reign of a particular athlete can span a great deal of time. In gymnastics, it’s rare to see an athlete compete in multiple Olympic games. It happens. But not very often. The window of opportunity for the athletes is so slim, pouring even more pressure onto the already pressure-packed environment. Every Olympic athlete only gets the opportunity once every 4 years. That in and of itself makes the moment huge. But for many gymnasts, it’s a one-shot deal. The window is small. Just ask the American women’s all-around champion from the 2008 games in Beijing. Nastia Liukin went from the top of her sport to falling (literally) on her face in the Olympic trials a few weeks ago, seeing her dreams slip with her hands from the uneven bars. The chance at glory is fleeting. The margin for error with judges critiquing literally every move and twitch of the muscle is so miniscule. The difference between a champion and a disaster is often one slip of the hand, or one step of the foot.
Gabby Douglas of the United States came onto the scene of women’s gymnastics quickly. Watching her compete in the Olympic trials was an indication for many that a star had been born, and the best was yet to come. The expectations and attention were placed on one of her teammates, Jordyn Wieber, heading into the games. With each apparatus and each passing minute once the games began though, the realization became crystal clear– the moment was going to belong to Gabby Douglas. Her window of opportunity opened. She didn’t flinch. Perhaps aided by the fact that others carried the weight of the United States’ hopes on their shoulders, she calmly stepped in and stole the show. Douglas joined the ranks of only a few memorable American female gymnasts of the past, by winning the most prestigious event in her sport, the gold medal in the all-around competition. Douglas can add that to the gold medal that she already helped her nearly flawless United States team win in the team competition a few nights before. P.S. Did anyone else notice the Russian gymnast who appeared to be on the verge of tears for the entire competition tonight? P.S.S. Who already knew that Gabby Douglas won the gold medal by noon? Ugh, me too. I don’t care what anyone says. I know I could just avoid social media and the internet for days at a time. But in reality, it’s the fools I’m friends with on Facebook who have decided to stop updating me on the progress of their fetus and instead have become CNN reporters trying to break news, who have played the role of “spoiler” for me. P.S.S.S. (is that a thing?) Ryan Lochte’s Mom came out with a bit of a shocker this morning when she told the media that her son “goes out on one-night stands.” She said what? Yep. She said that. And just a few weeks ago, Lochte alluded to the debauchery of the Olympic Village and how he was happy to be single this time around. Lochte’s Mom’s comments + Lochte’s final race in the books x a week left in the Olympic Village= things I can’t say on KSR because my Mom reads…
And now on to some UK-related news…
– Perhaps the biggest news of the day was also the most confusing news of the day. The morning started on a sour note when Rod Strickland’s name began to blow up the world of social media. The story sounded really bad at first. In fact, the Herald Leader falsely reported that Rod Strickland was arrested near UK’s campus for a DUI. The story quickly changed as we learned that Strickland was instead pulled over for failure to use a signal, prompting a scanning of his information to reveal that he was driving on a suspended license from a former DUI. And then the story changed again. And again. And then again. By late afternoon, it turns out that all of the hoopla was fairly unnecessary. Strickland’s license is no longer suspended and essentially what felt like a big story this morning wound up being a non-factor. Keep an eye out for an article in Sports Illustrated next week by Pete Thamel on whether or not World Wide Wes was a third-party involved in the improper installation of the turn signal used by Rod Strickland.
– For as great as social media can be (unless you are trying to avoid hearing the results of the Olympics until the prime time coverage on NBC at 8 p.m.), the Strickland story is a prime example of how the ability to quickly relay information, and the race to quickly relay information, can result in some serious bad information being spread to the masses. The exchange and availability of information, passing from hand to hand with such incredible speed, can often be a double-edged sword. We know instantly when Terrence Jones decides to stay for his sophomore season because he announces via Twitter, but we also can be victim to unfortunate misinformation such as Strickland’s arrest falsely being labeled as the result of a DUI.
– Tomorrow something changes in the Bluegrass. Football season replaces summer. I know, I know. We are still exactly one month away from the official kickoff of the season in Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, but starting tomorrow it all starts to feel a little more real. The UK Football Media Day takes place tomorrow morning at Commonwealth Stadium. The KSR crew will be there, with Matt coming to you live from the field, featuring a 1-on-1 interview with Joker Phillips at 11:30 a.m. Nick Roush and I will be meandering around to various players to bring you some interesting quotes and tidbits (let’s be honest, we will hopefully spend the most time talking with Bookie). I will be bringing you live updates when Joker Phillips takes the mic starting around 9 a.m. tomorrow
Some things to look for tomorrow with the Media Day activities:
1. Will Joker Phillips continue on the seemingly new approach he has taken over the course of the past week– making an effort to reach out and connect with fans, attempting to inspire and speak passionately to rally support around his players?
2. Will there be a company line on the low season ticket sales? Will that be the topic of conversation brought up most often by the media?
3. Unlike last year, the UK quarterbacks will be available tomorrow. Soak up what you can now though, because none of the quarterbacks will be available again until a starter is named.
4. As usual, the UK freshmen will be available for interview tomorrow, but not again until they play.
– Also coming your way this weekend is the UK Fan Day in Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Gates open at 5 p.m. and by all accounts the event is a great way to spend the day, especially if you happen to have children. An open practice will start at 6 p.m. and players will be made available for an autograph session following the practice. As if all of that wasn’t enough, fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. And.. Admission is FREE. Come out and support the Wildcats and bring the kids for a good time.
– In some news that comes as no surprise here at KickerU/PunterU, UK kicker commit Austin MacGinnis is ranked as the #15 kicker nationally by ESPN.com. And 247Sports (the same group who ranked Mamadou N’diaye as a top 10 player) have MacGinnis ranked as the #3 kicker nationally. YES!
– “The boys are back in town, the boys are back in town!” John Calipari’s Pro Camp has once again brought some of our favorite former Wildcats back to Lexington. Today, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Darius Miller and Doron Lamb headlined the event. According to all reports, the three seemed giddy to be back together again. The three also had very positive remarks about the future of Kentucky basketball next season. Lamb said he believes that Kentucky will have a chance to make a run at another national title. Miller noted that every season at Kentucky, the fans have high expectations for contending for a national title. He also stated that he believes the newest batch of players have what it takes to fill the shoes left by the departing players. Make room for one more Wildcat in Lexington tonight…
– Another former player, Anthony Davis, made a big splash today in Team USA’s drubbing of Nigeria. Had Carmelo Anthony not gone off for 37 points (breaking the US Olympic scoring record, in just 14 minutes of play mind you), had Team USA not scored 156 points (breaking an Olympic team scoring record), had Team USA not hit 29 three pointers (yes, another record), Davis’ splash might have caused a few more waves. Instead, his Olympic blooper moment mostly flew under the radar. He was the cause of a series of great pictures featuring many of the members of Team USA laughing hysterically on the bench at the “little brother” of the team. Some debate still lingers on whether or not a prank was played on the youngster as the announcers originally suspected. A halftime report brought to light the fact that Davis actually forgot to put on his jersey under his warm-ups. Either way, Davis erupted into laughter and so did his super star teammates. Davis got to see quite a bit of clock, even starting the second half, as Team USA’s lead swelled to epic proportions. Davis finished the game with 9 points and 6 rebounds (according to ESPN.com), or 10 points and 6 rebounds (according to “CheckYoStats” from the KSR comment section). I’ll let you be the judge. We can all agree on this, for the millionth time in the past month: ANTHONY DAVIS IS LIVING THE DREAM.
– I know Nigeria is the Morehouse of the Olympics, but is it safe to say that Team USA is starting to hit form? If this team hits 3 pointers at even half the clip they did tonight… I don’t even think the discovery of a 3rd Gasol brother can stop them.
– Carmelo Anthony had glowing words on the contributions of Anthony Davis this evening:
“You can’t ask for anything more from Anthony Davis than what he’s giving us.”
– Zeke Pike, a former Kentucky high school standout quarterback, has officially been dismissed from the Auburn football team. The decision was made as a result of his arrest in June for public intoxication. Honestly, looks like he got out just in time…War Eag…WTF?
– Speaking of fashion statements…I guess Louisville is still doing that whole L1C4 thing…
– In a small recruiting tidbit, Jabari Parker’s (one of the top 2013 recruits) father told ESPN that his son could wait until the spring to commit.
– And finally, I don’t know why this picture of Nerlens Noel makes me laugh so much, but it does.