During NBC’s prime time Olympic coverage tonight, it was hard to look past Bob Costas’ sudden decision to throw on a pair of trendy lenses. And then there was the additional challenge of trying to take Ryan Seacrest’s special segments seriously (he actually hasn’t done a bad job…but it’s still bizarre to see him talking about sports). Seacrest brought up an interesting point though, highlighting the contributions and enthralling performances of many female American athletes during the London Olympics. As Seacrest was finishing his point, the song “Ladies Night” hummed in the background. His point was a valid one though. These games were built up around the rivalry between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. The two were supposed to steal the headlines, an epic battle of the ages. Although Phelps ended his Olympics on a good note, and Lochte had his moments as well– the headlines have been dominated by the girls of summer. Missy Franklin burst on to scene and became one of the most recognizable, successful and likable faces of the Olympics. The Fab Five/Fierce Five/gold medalist gymnasts/whatever you want to call them took over right where Franklin and the rest of her swimming teammates left off, taking the podium and the spotlight during the second week of the Olympics. And then a few familiar faces stole the show late. Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings ended their string of dominance in beach volleyball with a resounding win last night. And a group of resilient soccer players who stole our hearts and attention last summer, our hearts breaking right along side theirs when they fell to Japan in the World Cup finals, made a comeback for the ages. Just a year after the gut wrenching loss, the USA women’s soccer team put together a thrilling ride on their way to the gold medal earlier this afternoon.
Take nothing away from the Phelps/Lochte showdown, or any of the other incredible performances by American athletes in this Olympics thus far. But the female athletes across the board have given us plenty to root for these past few weeks. And they have all seemingly done so with class and dignity. Not all brilliant athletes are likable. We are enjoying an era of likable and talented female athletes representing the United States.
Hats Berets off to the ladies on a job well done in London.
And now on to some notes from the day…
– Let me start off by saying that Manteo Mitchell is incredible. And had Drew not given him a nice tribute earlier today on the blog, the news and views tonight would have certainly been dedicated to him. If you haven’t heard his story yet, click here.
– I woke up this morning and thought to myself, “You know who I haven’t heard much from lately? Jeff Goodman.” And as if on cue, what would have normally been a rather dull Thursday turned into Jeff Goodman Day. The excitement was supposed to center around his article that came out this morning to attempt to unearth some further information on the mystery that is World Wide Wes. As it turns out, we learned nothing new or earth-shattering about World Wide Wes. Instead, we learned a little something about Jeff Goodman. Jeff Goodman alleged that John Calipari tried to get him fired from one of his reporting jobs. The admission does bring into question just how unbiased one could be about someone who tried to get them fired. So…you’re saying Jeff Goodman might not be unbiased when it comes to John Calipari? For the second time today, nothing earth-shattering here. Move along folks, nothing new to see here.
– While we are on the topic of CBS articles… tomorrow CBSSports.com poses another deep question: “Who is perceived to be the biggest cheater in the game?” I don’t want anyone to go all #NBCFail on me for throwing out any spoiler alerts, but I think you can guess how that one might play out. My vote is for Rick Pitino, but my perceived intent of the question might be slightly off…
– All of the CBSSports.com articles as of late have been based on conversations with approximately 100 college basketball coaches who have been given the opportunity to remain anonymous. While the questions being posed are interesting, I’m not sure how much weight can be placed upon the answers considering the anonymity. Part of me thinks coaches would be more candid than usual, giving information we might not otherwise hear. And part of me could see personal agendas being furthered by the ability to hide behind the anonymity. The moral of the story? Read them with a grain of salt.
– Pat Forde tweeted that the most interesting thing he has seen in London so far is World Wide Wes in a Team USA sweat suit. Clearly Forde leads an exciting life. In other news, Pat Forde still plays “Draw Something” and just changed his MySpace profile song to “I Gotta Feeling.”
– I’m sorry, but I’m bothered by Forde’s tweet enough to use another bullet point for it. Forde was in the Olympic swimming arena to see Michael Phelps make history. He saw Missy Franklin win her first gold. He watched a 15 year-old Katie Ledecky win gold in world record fashion, setting a blistering pace. In the words of Gregg Doyel, Pat Forde, “SHADDDUP!”
– John Calipari told WKYT something similar to a comment he made last week regarding Harrow. Calipari continues to hint at Ryan Harrow having some competition for the starting point guard position. Archie Goodwin’s name has been thrown in as a possible candidate to help with point guard duties as well.
– Doug Gottlieb said today that he will forever believe that UNC was the best team at the end of last season. Hey Doug, I’ll forever enjoy looking at this in Rupp Arena…
– The UK Football team had another day of practice, and therefore Joker Phillips met again to give the media some insight following the practice. A few highlights…
– Phillips can’t say enough great things about wide receiver Demarco Robinson. He speaks as highly about him as any player on the team. Phillips seems to have a belief that Robinson could be the “big play-making receiver” that Kentucky has missed since the departure of Randall Cobb.
– ______ _____will be the starting quarterback when Kentucky steps on the field against Louisville on September 2nd. We still don’t know, and we probably won’t for a while. Phillips on the QB competition: “It’s way too early. We’re still installing.” Phillips wants to see how all 4 QB candidates “move the team. I’m talking about getting the ball in the end zone.” Phillips will look for more answers on the subject during the team’s scrimmage Saturday.
– One nice change from last season following the first week of practice is that there have been no significant injuries. Knock on every piece of wood in your line of vision right now. Do it. No, seriously. Do it.
– In a non-UK related football note, Missouri announced that they have officially sold out their season tickets. Approximately 46,500 have been sold, a first for the program. #SECEffect #UnlessYouDontMakeABowlGame
– Anything less than a gold medal for Anthony Davis and his Team USA basketball team would be considered a huge disappointment. That’s not being harsh or placing too much pressure on them– that’s what the team expects of themselves. The collection of arguably some of the best very best basketball talent in the world all on one court for the same team results in an expectation of nothing less than the best. Team USA is two wins away from the ultimate prize. Tomorrow they will take on Argentina, a team they faced in the preliminary rounds, with a spot in the gold medal game on the line. Argentina features a few big names themselves, including Manu Ginobli, Luis Scola and Andres Nocioni. After staying in the game throughout the first half, Team USA pulled away 126-97 in the contest with Argentina on Monday, behind a stellar performance from Kevin Durant. The semifinal game will tip-off at 4:00 p.m. ET on the Olympic Basketball Channel (aka NBC Sports Network).
“It’s not going to be easy,” Durant said. “We have to come out there and play hard from the beginning.”
– John Calipari spent his evening taking in the Patriots pre-season game with his son, Brad. The man doesn’t stop moving…
– Speaking of pre-season football, former Wildcat and new Broncos TE Jacob Tamme was on the receiving end of Peyton Manning’s first completed pass in a Broncos uniform. Tamme could be in a good position to have a great season for the Broncos with a familiar arm throwing his way.
– Randall Cobb also continued his successful ways for the Green Bay Packers by scoring a touchdown (finished with 4 catches for 58 yards) in their pre-season opener. Somewhere in Nashville Tyler Thompson just smiled. Tim Masthay also had a nice night, averaging 44-yards on 8 punts, with a long of 62.
– And finally, in the major NBA news of the night…I think Drew Franklin put it best: