Monday, July 30, 2012

13 Random Notes on the Olympics

I want this look! Credit: Nike
I'm not going to lie: It's definitely turning into Olympics central around here. It might not seem like it 100 percent of the time on Fit-Ink--because I can't keep up with all the action of training, working, recovering, event-attending, and Olympics-watching--but it's obvious offline. Two TVs running during primetime, recording coverage especially when I have to leave for a swim or run, live streaming on the swimming because I simply can't wait seven or eight hours to watch the tape delay, and engaging in random Olympic discussions like the one where a friend thought Ryan Lochte sounded pompous after he won gold in the 400 IM. Basically, I don't know what I'm going to do with myself when the torch is extinguished in two weeks because I can't watch sports 24/7.

Enough about me and my Olympics love that borders more on craziness and obsession rather than adoration. Here's a baker's dozen of random facts, comments and notes--mostly swimming related--that I've noticed in the first three days of London 2012 competition.
  1. I'm not shy on my love--and strong following--of the swimming events. And I can assure you that I follow the sport any time it airs on TV, not just during the Olympic years. You can learn a lot about your own stroke mechanics by watching these Olympians especially when you look at the underwater views. I know I'll never swim breaststroke like Rebecca Soni--I can barely swim a 100 free that fast and that was when I still had some of my sprinting speed--but the girl whisks through the water. Matt Grevers pushes an amazing amount of water behind him as he powers through the 100 back (Did you see that underwater shot? It was insane). And then watch any freestyler and you'll pick up plenty of tips to make your stroke a little faster and more efficient.
  2. The swimming Olympians are going to the medal stand with some of my favorite Nike looks--and they'll glow in the dark should the lights go out in the natatorium. They're sporting some familiar running looks: the 21st C. Windrunner, Bowerman Tech Pant and Flyknit Trainer. The Windrunner is a rendition of the running jacket I coveted after the Fleet Feet Fashion Show (come on, it GlOWED). The Flyknit Trainer is going to be unveiled in Chicago tomorrow night, but I'm more fascinated by how it's virtually seamless, formfitting, neon and weighs 7.7 ounces.
  3. The swimmers aren't the only USA team to be sporting these looks. Badminton, Trampoline, Track Cycling, Canoe/Kayak, Weightlifting, Judo, Gymnastics, Track and Field, Triathlon, Tennis, Sailing, Synchronized Swimming, Table Tennis, Rowing, Taekwondo and Modern Pentathlon athletes will be too.
  4. Andrea Kremer is very annoying on the pool deck. I know she has to be quick on her feet when asking questions, but really? Quit talking rivalry between Michael and Ryan. They're both competitive and want to be the best, whatever it takes--even if it means taking the other down--and we've heard it again and again and again. And please quit asking such dumb questions. To think that I disliked Dan Hicks in 1996, I'd take his poolside interviews right about now.
  5. Michael Phelps might be showing that he really benefited from those outlawed suits. We know Phelps dominated the Beijing Games, not only with gold medals but with record-breaking performances. The only problem is that he's not doing that this time around with the newer, FINA-approved LZR Racer. But who really cares when you're on the brink of being the most decorated Olympian ever. What do you think?
  6. Gymnastics' rules are weird. Jordyn Wieber can't compete in the all-around competition because she was the third-best on Team USA and only the top two per country can compete. What about the best of the best--or whatever Bela Karolyi told Bob Costas?
  7. Paula Radcliffe's not running the marathon? Boo. I wanted to watch her, Kara, Desi and Shalane.
  8. Some of these swimming results are astonishing. Where are some of these swimmers coming from? They're young, they're having the swims of their lives and they're dropping more than a few seconds in their swims. Yep, I'm talking to you Ye Shiwen and Ruta Meilutyte. I can't help but think Michelle Smith, 1996, Atlanta.
  9. Social media is killing the 2012 Olympic experience. I know I could just watch the live coverage streamed online to avoid seeing a headline posted on Facebook or Twitter (or simply avoid these mediums), but I can't do that and work at the same time. Plus there's something about primetime--and it doesn't time out halfway through a race.
  10. Whoa, Arena is back in the pool. Four years ago, I swear it was Speedo, Speedo, Speedo. Speedo hasn't gone anywhere, but I'm definitely noticing a lot more Arena suits--and being worn on American swimmers like Rebecca Soni and Conor Dwyer.
  11. Bela Karolyi gets fired up about gymnastics and the Olympics. I'm blanking on a good analogy but let's leave it at he's animated and pretty ticked that the top gymnasts, regardless of the two per country rule, can't compete in the all-around competition.
  12. If Karolyi is gymnastics' cheerleader, than Rowdy Gaines is his swimming equivalent. Gaines nearly lost his voice during Monday night's commentary as he watched Missy Franklin take gold, and then the one-two finish by Matt Grevers and Nick Thoman. I'd be shouting too!
  13. A lane in the finals is a lane. What does Brendan Hansen do when he grabs the bronze from the least likely lane imaginable (lane 8)? A solid yet understated fist pump and nod. It might not be gold, but the bronze appeared to receive an "I'll take that" look. 
What are you noticing in the opening days of the Olympics? Who are you cheering for? When have you been surprised at the outcomes?

Photo grabbed from

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