The second Saturday of the 2012 London Summer Olympics is upon us, which means we have just about one week left until the majority of American sports fans again stop caring about water polo, badminton and indoor volleyball. The US have, as expected, done quite well in the medal count during the first half of these Games. That fact certainly hasn't prevented many, many people in this country from having multiple complaints about the 2012 Olympics.
2012 London Summer Olympics halfway review: NBC
Neither the complaints about NBC showing events via tape-delay nor the "#NBCFail" hashtag have gone anywhere, and apparently neither have the viewers. TV ratings continue to be roughly ten percent higher than for the 2008 Summer Olympics, thanks in part, according to USA Today and others, to viewers knowing ahead of time that Americans had won gold earlier in the day and thus wanting to see those competitions. As many individuals in this country continue to whine about tape-delayed Olympic coverage while still changing the channel to NBC at 8:00 pm local time, I have rather enjoyed the TV coverage of these games. I am, as I type this sentence, watching USA take on Russia in volleyball live and living color. Earlier this week, the Olympics were on six different stations all at the same time. I even got to see Michael Phelps swim live thanks to the glory of the Internet. Truth be told, I've even struggled keeping up with all that's been televised.
2012 London Summer Olympics halfway review: Americans love feuds
This sort of thing cracks me up every two years whenever an Olympics takes place. I don't know nor do I care if Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte are actually "rivals." What I do know is that many people in this country split themselves up into camps of "Team Phelps" and "Team Lochte," and some even expressed their joy via websites such as Twitter and Facebook whenever the "other guy" didn't win. Some American fans were actively rooting for an American athlete to fail.
That makes sense.
Perhaps I'm just idealistic, but I always thought the Olympics were about putting such petty discussions aside for 17 days. Sure, everybody can have his or her favorite. Whatever happened to the "my favorite guy didn't win, but at least an American won" mentality? I'm confident that plenty of people still think that way. I just don't follow them on social networking websites.
2012 London Summer Olympics halfway review: The highlight?
I'm not the first to point this fact out, but it needs to be said. Men's Tennis in the 2012 Olympics has been awesome. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Milos Raonic played to an epic 25-23 tiebreak earlier this week, only to have their match outdone by a historic semifinal involving Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro. Federer and Del Potro produced "can't miss television" for over four hours on Friday, and Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic followed with a quality match of their own. Those results set up Great Britain's Murray facing off against Federer at the All England Club, where Federer defeated Murray just four weeks ago.
2012 London Summer Olympics halfway review: Shame
Unless you tuned into CNBC's Olympic coverage during the week, you have missed out on the true travesty of these Games up to this point. Boxing in the Olympics being "shady" is nothing new, of course, but these competitions have been 100 percent overshadowed by incompetence and/or fixed fights if certain individuals are correct. TV commentators Bob Papa and Teddy Atlas have not been shy about their feelings regarding controversial decisions while on the air, and I applaud them for coming out and saying what all of us watching have been thinking.
It's not just the fact that at least three American boxers were, in my opinion, robbed of wins during the 2012 Olympics (thankfully one such result was correctly overturned after the fact) that has me so upset about what I witnessed over the past week. The International Boxing Association practically admitted that something had gone terribly wrong when the organization sent one referee home early. I'll be blunt: Either eliminate the problem(s), or just remove boxing from the Olympics.
2012 London Summer Olympics halfway review: A plea
Women's gymnastics competitions have thus far been dominated by the US. Such success has brought unavoidable comparisons of the current US squad to the "Magnificent Seven" of the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. That 1996 squad will always be special for many reasons, and I have no problem with that team being discussed on national TV broadcasts during any Olympics. I just have one request:
Please stop pretending that Kerri Strug "won gold" with her memorable vault 16 summers ago.
Strug undeniably deserves all of the praise and credit she has received in the past decade and a half for the toughness, bravery and dedication she showed in that particular moment. The truth is that neither I nor most people reading this could have pulled off what she accomplished on that summer night. With that said, it's not a secret that the US Women would have still won gold had Strug elected to not vault a second time. We knew that roughly an hour or so after the seven champions received their gold medals.
I only bring this up because Strug's moment doesn't need any embellishment. Performing this vault on one leg is hardly something any doctor would recommend doing. An injured Strug selflessly gave for her teammates in an ultimate example of a phrase that's too casually thrown around every two years; the "Olympic spirit." Sometimes, the truth is enough of a great story. This is one such case.