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A Smiley Smiley Week
The Olympics are over, we have a new national heroine in the glorious Kelly Holmes, and a few surprise heroes in Amir Khan and the mens' sprint relay team, who exceeded all expectations by beating the Yanks by 1/100 of a second. **Takes time out to gloat at several**
My nomination for biggest surprise goes to the 10m synchronised diving, which made for absolutely riveting TV. It's one of those sports which you don't have to be terribly good at to point out what's gone wrong (or right) and as such has joined my Top 10 TV viewing sports, edging out European cup football.
I wish I had space in this column to mention all our Athens medal-winners: I don't care how sickly-sentimental it sounds, to me they're all heroes. Read all about them for yourself here.
Elsewhere, I will take credit for knowing something about at least one sport, as a Jon Lewis-inspired Gloucester rolled over Worcester in the C&G trophy final for the second year running. Bernhard Langer has picked his Ryder Cup team (note to self: make sure you do a joint report with several on the Ryder Cup), but I have a feeling it won't be Europe's year. Langer is a very fine golfer, but not inspirational enough as a captain, whereas the American team, particularly Phil Mickelson, are currently running riot all over the PGA Tour venues. Expect an American victory. You heard it here first.
Several A/K/A Random's 'sporting blues'
Thanks heavens that's over (but will never die!)
That is referring, of course, to the Olympic media marathon, where, no matter which way I went, there were MORE Olympics, even after the Athens flame was extinguished. Appeals, lawsuits, lawyers and judges. OH MY, it truly has been an Oz-like atmosphere for 'pirates, poets, pawns and a king' as Sinatra often sang. Zillions of gigabytes into the void later (can some of these be placed in Room 101, PLEASE, Greebs?!) we have international success stories out the great wazoo, plus the obligatory whines, grumps and drug tests.
Quick joke - David Letterman, late-night teevee host:'Bad news for American gold-medal women's volleyball team : they flunked the performance-enhancing bikini bodywaxing test.'
A Level 10-qualified American gymnastics judge (Olympics judges are Level 15 and above) has pointed out in a public medium the difficulty in ranking A) every skill performed, B) the value it receives AND what specific things your deductions were based on, plus C) was that leap a full 180 degrees? and D) knowledge of grips and techniques, full stances and improper form.
The judges do this in seconds, not relying on a slo-mo, stop-start, five-camera-angle perspective, but what their own eyes receive and recall in split seconds, within feet of the athletes and coaches.
Only then, when their scores are posted, do the judges have a chance to judge themselves. Some admit mistakes are made, on every level from club teams to college and beyond, and point to established systems of challenging scores and start values, rather than 'pandering' to the worldwide media and 'public opinion' as many do from their comfy lounge chairs, beverage in hand, several time zones away.
I'm not totally defending the judges (and I am on a rant against umpires in Major League Baseball on another Forum) but the lady doth make a point - they don't have slo-mo instant stop-and-start replay from four different angles to second-guess their immediate opinions/ judgements/ratings.
In other Olympic news, go see any of the major media.
Buried deep in the sports pages is the note that Willamstad, Curaco defeated Conejo Valley of California, USA in the Little League Baseball World Series championship 5-2. Teams from Curaco reached the international finals the previous three years, but lost each time to a team from Japan, and this marks the first Little League title for the tiny isle in the Netherlands Antilles, and the first for ANY team from the Caribbean.
Yeah, they played pro baseball, pre-season pro football and high-school AmFoot's season kicked off over here and there's a movement to get Dawn Staley, gold-medal women's basketball player, selected as coach in 2008 -of the MEN's team!
This'll have to stand as another Several, a/k/a Random AmSport Blues report and, as always, all questions and comments will be gleefully attacked and ridiculed (and maybe answered, somehow) at the earliest possible opportunity. (Ours, not yours.)
Over and out.