The Olympics are over, and I admit to being sad. The last 16 days have caused me numerous sleepless nights and allowed me to endure more badminton than I ever believed imaginable, but throughout it all, I have been entertained. Whether it was cheering on the USA, laughing at Bela Karolyi, mocking Bob Costas, realizing Kenny Rice was still alive or believing I could play Team Handball, the Olympics has been all that and a bag of chips. But now, like the Louisville football program, the Olympics are over and all we are left with are the memories. Here below are MY top 10 moments….not necessarily the best moments for history, but the ones I will remember:
(1): Nothing I have seen has impressed me quite like the two performances by Usain Bolt. Sheer athleticism is mesmerizing to me when it is at its peak. And Bolt may have revolutionized what it means to be a sprinter. His 100 meter dash was absurd….breaking the world record while celebrating the last 15 meters. But his 200 meter dash is one for history. Beating the unbreakable Micheal Johnson mark while running into a strong headwind. Bolt’s picture, so far ahead of the field in both races, is the one I will remember most.
(2): For excitement, nothing beat the swimming 4×100 meter relay. While working towards a hearing with Johnny “The” Bruce, we stopped to watch the Americans versus the evil Frenchies and were treated to a race that had the two of us yelling like it was the Final Four. The final leg by Jason Lezak will go down as a “Do you Believe in Miracles” type moment. When we name Phelps the best ever, remember that without Lezak, it doesnt happen.
(3): The moment that I think will have the greatest impact in history may have been the sight of the Chinese drummers on Opening Night of the games. As I watched 2008 drummers moving in synchronization, with fake smiles and haunting chants, the creepiness and intimidation of the scene was overwhelming. I told a friend that it seemed like one of those transforming moments where a nation announces to the world that it is here to stay. My favorite “wrong side of the political aisle” commentator George Will noticed the moment and compared it to totalitarianism disguised as art. Whatever it was, I bet it is remembered as a symbolic moment as we go forward in world events.
(4): Few things can make me stay up until 5 am, but the US gold medal basketball game against Spain was one of them. In one of the best pure basketball games that I have ever seen from the top players in the world, the US won 118-107. Both teams displayed unbelievable offensive ability and played the game with a passion that you would not expect out of a host of multi-millionaires. It was basketball at its best and I was hooked. Seeing guys like Kobe, LeBron, Carmelo and our own Tayshaun break down at the sight of the US flag was a sight to behold and a special Olympic moment.
(5): If you cant be moved by the US gold medal volleyball win, then I dont know what does it for you. The coach’s father-in-law was murdered at the beginning of the games, but the USA, not favored to medal, rallied around their coach and won a gold over World Champion Brazil. The sight of the coach, overcome with emotion at the end gave me a lump in the throat.
(6): I have been fascinated by the story of US shooter Matt Emmons for four years. In 2004 in Athens, all he needed to do to win gold was hit the target on his last shot and he accidentally aimed at the wrong one, falling from gold to 7th. In his sadness afterwards, he was consoled by a Hungarian shooter who later became his wife. Fast forward for years….his wife wins gold and he is set to redeem himself. Last shot comes, and his trigger finger slips and he shoots poorly….moving from first to fourth. Two Olympics, two heartbreaks. Unbelieveable.
(7): Bela! Over the last week of the Games, NBC made a great decision….get rid of Chris Collinsworth (who shouldnt have been there to begin with) and bring in Bela at every moment. His moustache is great but is only outweighed by his absurd commentary. Bela, Bela, Bela!!!!
(8): Cant forget my love for May and Walsh on the beach. Women’s beach volleyball is just silly, because it is really just a skin show for the fans at home. Nowhere was this more true than the finals, when May and Walsh both wore white bikinis in the rain as they won the gold medal. Plus we had the sight of our President patting Walsh on her rear after she requested the smack. Aww volleyball.
(9): 3 am….on the phone with Mosley….watching the 20 km race walk. There is no sillier sport on Earth and no more bizarre thing to watch LIVE in its entirety. But it sure is funny and the dual commentary was possibly the most entertainment I have had in a long time.
(10): The Bomani Jones rant (both on the phone and later on my show) about the Olympics. I cant do it justice, but it included a diatribe on why Bob Costas sucks (“he always talks about what cute “costumes” the teams from Africa have on…..those aint “costumes”…those are their CLOTHES! I tell you what is a costume….a bunch of NBA brothas wearing a white beret, blue sports coat and white pants….that is a costume!”), his disinterest in swimming and why Lance Armstrong had to be doping. As good as it gets.
So there you go….a great Olympics in the book. Now we move to football and all the Lou Holtz we can take. Bring it on!