Friday, January 2, 2009

Remembering the 2008 Olympics

While I realize I should be looking forward to 2009 and not backward to 2008, I had to turn back the clocks a few months to recall some motivational memories. Every two years when the summer and winter Olympic Games roll around, I get psyched for the two-plus weeks of competition and literally glue myself to the television to watch all the action. I'm a sucker for the stories about various athletes, plus I love watching the competition in sports that only get this much coverage on national TV during the Games, and follow closely in hopes of picking up tips to improve on the slopes and in the pool (and watch in awe at the speed-racing prowess of the marathoners and triathletes). Then when the closing ceremonies occur, I almost fall into withdrawal wishing the Olympics came around more often, and I still have the 2008 Beijing Games on my mind.

Remember the gold medal win in beach volleyball by both the men's (Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers) and women's (Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh) teams? Or how about Michael Phelps' eight gold medals in the pool? Remember Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson finishing one-two in the gymnastics all-around competition? Or Usain Bolt's lightning speed on the track? I spent those two weeks in August in front of the TV watching events, replays and commentaries unfolding each night in a variety of sports. But some of my favorite memories from those two weeks occurred in the pool.
The swimming venue, the Water Cube, is an amazing architectural site, with equally amazing feats occurring in its pool. The accomplishments by the U.S. swimmers really got me pumped for my own races, motivated me to keep up with my swim training and left me awestruck.

Dara Torres first made news headlines a few months prior when at age 41 she qualified for her fifth Olympics in the sprint freestyle events. Not only was she old enough to be the mother to some of her Olympic teammates, but she was now a mother herself to two-year-old Tessa and was absent from the Games for eight years (at Sydney in 2000, she made another impressive comeback and was also the oldest member on the swim team). And in 2008 she was swimming faster than ever--setting an American record in the 50-meter freestyle and clocking the fastest split in the 100-meter freestyle in relay history. Coming home with some hardware, two silver medals, was nothing to scoff at either. Sounds like she has her eyes on London in 2012 for more waves in the pool, at least according to a story on

Then there's Michael Phelps. What hasn't been said about this guy in 2008? He's spotted in Rosetta Stone commercials, endorsed a variety of products, featured in an in-depth profile on 60 Minutes and more. But anyone interested in sports--I think, unless it's just me--is going to remember how close Michael came to missing one of those medals and how amazing it was that he did pull off the win. The 100 butterfly winner was decided by a stroke--and actually not even a full stroke but half a stroke separating Phelps from Milorad Cavic as they hit the wall. Phelps has explained it that he took a last stroke to propel him into the wall and Cavic possibly glided in and looked up which slowed his momentum into the wall. The images from the photo-finish are impressive and still leave you wondering won really touched first--at least I'm still slightly perplexed. And how he still won the 200 fly with room to spare and having googles that were filled with water. But props to Michael Phelps for not only reaching the eight-medal milestone, but for putting swimming on the map in the sporting world.
For more reading, check out this story about Dara Torres published in the New York Times before the 2008 Olympic Trials. It's pretty cool to read about her entourage that whips her into competition shape. Posted by Kate

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...