it's been a while

Beijing post

 

 

The question of the week this time around was: “What Olympic events have you been watching and have you seen a particularly exciting moment at the Beijing games?”

 

Personally, I have a bad case of Olympic fever.

The TV goes on in the morning and whenever I’m home for lunch as well as all evening and I’m looking at something Olympic.

I sat one morning drinking coffee and watching a sport I didn’t even know the name of – it looked roughly like something I’d played in gym class way back when.

I gave a name of its own until about 30 minutes in the announcers finally said I was watching Handball.

Oh.

I liked my name better, though I can’t say what it was in a family publication.

I consider myself a winter Olympics fan first and foremost, but have found the competition and the drama of the summer games equally as compelling.

From the obvious deception on the part of the Chinese women’s gymnastics team to Michael Phelps fingertip win to reach a new high in single games gold medal achievement the Beijing Games have been fantastic.

The differences between the women/girls on the gymnastics teams were pronounced.

Regardless of what the Chinese officials say, I like many around the world, will never believe some member of the Chinese team have reached the 16-year-old threshold for competition.

The advantage?

Lower body mass, from what I’m told. 10-year-olds need less muscle to perform the tasks they need to because they weigh less.

Gymnasts are typically smaller girls – is it Kary Strug? Mary Lou Rhetton, anyone? Tiny girls, but old enough to compete.

It’s one of the places we still have the moral high ground in the world.

We don’t cheat, at least not as a national program, individual might follow that path, but the whole team doesn’t line up for – whatever – steroids, hormones, stimulants; all of the ways athletes cheat.

I read someplace that one of the girls was seen to be missing a tooth.

Apparently, baby teeth are gone by, at the latest, 12-13 years of age.

Hmmmmm.

Fearless editor Darrell Beebe, ever the counterweight – oops, poor word choice – pointed out that the tooth could have been knocked out in the gym.

True.

But the gymnast showed no outward signs of a training accident like bruising or swelling.

But it could have been knocked out long enough ago that the bruising and swelling has gone down.

Hard tellin’ not knowin’ as the saying goes, but given the win-at-all-costs mentality of the communist countries, particularly during the Cold War years, pushes me over the edge to disbelief.

 

Even allowing for a little national pride coloring my judgment I still believe they cheated.

Believe being the keyword there, I’m not a doctor; to borrow line from Bones McCoy.

 

Can’t let any of this overshadow Mr. Phelps though.

 

How rare is it for a talented athlete with astronomical expectations to come through and even excel under those sky-high pressures?

 

I watched, stunned, as by mere fingertips Phelps took – Breaststroke? Butterfly?

I’m not sure; it was his third or fourth gold.

 

But it took a high definition replay several times over to show that he had won – as so many champions do – with a little extra effort. The other swimmer – a Croatian? – cruised to the line and Phelps kept kicking.

That was the difference between Gold and Silver.

 

There’s a lesson in there somewhere.

 

Keep kickin’ Golden Horde. The Fall sports season is coming.

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