The 2008 Olympics in Beijing have come and gone. It was a great Olympics to watch with many storylines. It was the most exciting Olympics I’ve seen in the last 20 years or so. Here are my top 5 stories of this year’s Olympics in Beijing.
Is there anything bigger than what Michael Phelps did in this Olympics? 8 gold medals, 8 olympic records, 7 world records. There have been some close races, but Michael Phelps winning the butterfly by a fingernail was incredible. Add to that the remarkable 4x100m team relay that saw Lezak pull out the victory for the U.S. and I’m left with one thing. Simply unbelievable.
Usain Bolt put on a running exhibition in Men’s track and field, becoming the fastest man on earth when he recorded a world record in each of the three events that he entered. He’s certainly as great in his events as Phelps is in his. He may be flamboyant but he backs it up with world record times in effortless fashion. From a little island in the Caribbean, this guy stepped up big.
Another swimming story that is just great. This middle-ager still competing against teenagers is incredible and managing to get not just one medal, but multiple medals is a testament to her discipline. She barely missed a gold, but three silvers is pretty good and she’s just 41, has a child and took 6 years off. She was in her first Olympics before Phelps was even born. As far as I can find out, she’s the only female over 40 to win a medal in swimming at the Olympics. Most of us in her age group end up 50 pounds heavier in the doctor’s office with metabolic syndrome.
Chinese Women’s Gymnastics Age Debate
This has gotten a lot of print and the calls for investigations have been made and the IOC is responding, at least on the face of it. Every situation has its colorful person and I’d have to say Bela Karolyi has been quite colorful in his interviews and opinions about the situation. Perhaps the saddest part of the story is the effect it is having on the competitors, especially those little Chinese girls and their families.
You can read here about this remarkable competitor. When everyone’s arguing about the competitive advantage of 13 or 14 year old girls compared to 16 and 17 year old girls, this 33 year old mother of a 9 year old managed to outdo all but one of her competition, winning the silver medal in the vault. Mercy! The lady won a gold years ago, before some of those girls were even born.
So there are my top 5 stories of the Olympics. London’s up next and it will be hard to follow in the steps of this, perhaps the all-time best Olympics as a whole.