15 Thoughts Heading Into The Olympics

Posted: July 22, 2012 in Uncategorized
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-This will be the first Olympics without baseball since 1988 and the first without softball since 1992. I still don’t understand why either sport was eliminated. Because Europe doesn’t care about them? Boo freaking hoo. The rest of the world doesn’t care about team handball, but that gets to stay. Enough countries play baseball to make it worth keeping, and the Olympics were softball’s biggest stage. Anti-American bias, I say.

-But no worries, everyone — they’re bringing back women’s team epee fencing, which was left out of the 2008 Games. I’m sure you’re all as thrilled about this as I am.

-While we’re on stupid sports, have you ever actually looked at the complete list of Olympic events? It’s absurd. I get as pumped for the Olympics as anyone, but there are a ton of events I just cannot imagine ever watching. For instance, there are five canoeing events, 11 kayaking events, 14 rowing events and 10 sailing events. Look, I’m all for a day out on the water, but do we really need all 40 of these events? Also, there’s no women’s canoeing for some reason. Are women not capable of handling a canoe?

-There are also four archery events, five badminton events, six equestrian events, 10 fencing events (including the aforementioned women’s team epee), 14 judo events, 15 shooting events, four table tennis events, eight taekwondo events and 15 weightlifting events. You can’t make this stuff up. And they’re all apparently more essential than baseball and softball.

-Now that all that is off my chest, let’s get to the stuff I’m actually excited for. The opening ceremony for starters. I’m not expecting this year’s to match what Beijing did four years ago, because that just wouldn’t be fair. I still expect it to be great, though. Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle is coordinating it, and British pop and rock music will apparently be a big part, which is good considering that music is one of the few things the British do well. Oh, and Paul McCartney is performing.

-The U.S. should once again dominate both the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. Spain is really the only challenger on the men’s side. I can’t see anyone challenging the women’s team. Since Americans like basketball and are good at it, it’s probably only a matter of time before it goes the way of baseball and softball.

-The U.S. men’s soccer team isn’t in the Games because it somehow lost to Canada and tied El Salvador during qualifying. The women’s team will be there, though, and it has a very good shot at winning gold and avenging its World Cup loss to Japan last year.

-The American women are always great in gymnastics, too, and this year should be no different. Learn the names Jordyn Wieber and Gabby Douglas, because they’re going to own. Aly Raisman — a 17-year-old from Needham, Mass. — is also on the team. Her specialty is the floor exercise.

-Swimming — Americans are good at that as well. Michael Phelps is back, although he won’t be gunning for eight gold medals again (he’s only competing in seven events). Fellow American Ryan Lochte will rival him in some of those events, and should end up with a few golds of his own. The women are strong, too, with Missy Franklin and Rebecca Soni having the best chance to win multiple golds. As always, the Americans will be serious contenders in all the team relay events too.

-Track is always a great watch as well. Jamaicans Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake will probably dominate the 100 and 200 on the men’s side, but American LaShawn Merrit is the favorite in the 400. On the women’s side, Carmelita Jeter (no relation to Derek), Allyson Felix and Sanya Richards-Ross could give the U.S. a golden trifecta in the 100, 200 and 400. Like their swimming counterparts, the Americans will be formidable in all the relay events.

-The tennis will take place at Wimbledon, which is pretty cool. I can only assume that Serena Williams will steamroll the field just like she did earlier this month. She and Venus will win women’s doubles, and the Bryan brothers will win men’s doubles. Andy Murray still won’t become a British national hero.

-Speaking of the British, the over/under on gold medals for the host nation is 21.5 right now. I’ll take the under. Most of them will come in boxing, kayaking, rowing and cycling. No one outside of Britain will really care. The over/under for American golds is 38.5, by the way. Naturally, I’m taking the over.

-The under-the-radar American team to watch is women’s water polo. It’s actually a pretty fun sport to watch, and the Americans are serious contenders. They’ve medaled in each of the last three Olympics, but have yet to win a gold.

-If you’re looking for the funniest names in the Olympics, look no further than the trampoline competition, where China has a gymnast named Dong Dong and Canada has one named Karen Cockburn.

-More on names — Jamaica has a runner named Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who I can only assume will be disqualified after testing positive for high levels of hyphen.

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