What can I say; I am enjoying these Olympics, a lot. What better way of showing how much I have enjoyed them than to issue a list of Chill Awards, for the Olympics so far. These awards come with no cash prize, no trophy or medal, and no real acclaim, but they might receive a certificate for their achievement. Recipients probably won't even care that I have given them an award but I will issue them anyways. Without further ado, the Chill Awards.
Old Timer Award-Dara Torres (USA, Swimming): I was not going to give this award this name because it sounds mean, but giving the award the name "Older Athlete That Can Make Every Guy in My Softball and Basketball Leagues Feel Bad About Ever Saying The Phase 'I'm Too Old For This' Award" just seemed ridiculous.
Torres has proven that she was worth the hype as she won three silver medals; one was just .01 seconds off of being gold. She has been a great inspiration to plenty of people in America that are "over the hill" and for the young alike. She has changed the Olympic retirement age and she had all of us cheering for her, as though she had never been there before.
Honorable Mention-Oksana Chusovitina (Germany, Gymnastics): Her story is amazing and she did a Torres-esque feat by competing against kids half her age.
Heartbreaker Award-Alicia Sacramone (USA, Gymnastics): Okay everyone get your minds out of the gutter. I am not giving this award based on how attractive the individual is (but she is attractive), this award is given based on how much disappointment the person has taken throughout their Olympic experience.
Sacramone fell off the balance beam right at the start of her routine in the team competition, but was picked-up by her teammates and the Americans only trailed China by one point going into the final rotation. In the final rotation, Sacramone sat down on her first tumbling pass costing the Americans gold.
In her final chance at some form of redemption, in the event finals in the vault, Sacramone was again destroyed with the results of the competition. She delivered two competitive vaults and started the competition on a very good note, finishing with an average score of 15.537. The next competitor, China's Cheng Fei, had a good first vault but landed on her knees and stood-up out-of-bounds in her second vault. I have been told by NBC's commentators that landing on your knees is an automatic 0.80 deduction as is standing/landing/stepping out-of-bounds. Apparently, Fei had other deductions on how she took off from the springboard and how her hands were placed on the vault. With my simple estimation she should have been deducted about two full points leading to a score closer to 13.000 or 13.550. Her average score for the two vaults was 15.562, beating out Sacramone for the bronze by 0.025. This poor girl has shed more tears than a fat girl on prom night and that is just not right.
Honorable Mention-Liu Xiang (China, Track and Field): Even I was disappointed to not see him race. I pray that he'll be in London in 2012.
Failure Award-Gymnastic Scoring: It is a harsh name, but what else can I call this award when it is so clear that the scoring system has not met any expectations placed upon it.
The perfect ten is no longer there, which could be a good thing, but the real problem is that there is no consistency to the scoring. As I pointed out earlier, Alicia Sacramone had a bronze medal taken away from her by an incorrect scoring system where deductions are subjective to judges' discretion.
Another flaw in the system is how ties are broken. It is a long process and I won't go into it too much, but I saw Nastia Liukin tie He Kexin earlier today on the uneven bars and receiving a silver medal because in gymnastics there cannot be ties.
Last problem, using judges from countries that don't have elite gymnastics programs. I can understand not having judges from the same countries as the competitors in that event, but if we don't have judges that are use to scoring elite events then it really doesn't serve its purpose the way it should. Personally, I would rather have biased judging than to have inaccurate scoring because then there would be some answer to how things are being scored and at least the judges would know what are appropriate deductions and execution scores.
Honorable Mention-USA Boxing: One medal, enough said.
Quietly Do Your Thing Award-Natalie Coughlin (USA, Swimming): This award goes to someone that did what they needed to do, but did not necessarily get the recognition for it.
Coughlin won six medals at these Olympics, the most by any US woman swimmer in history. She didn't grab headlines (like any swimmer could) but yet she went to every one of her events and did well in all of them. Not much more I can say because I did not see many of her events because of that headline stealing thug Michael Phelps.
Honorable Mention-Aaron Peirsol (USA, Swimming): He did well, but everyone in the pool is over-shadowed by Phelps.
Edge-Of-My-Seat Award-Women's All-Around Finals: Award given to the event and the athletes that competed in that event that made me fidget and stand-up and kept me glued to the edge-of-my-seat until the results were final.
I was rooting so hard for Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson that I lost my voice and fell out of chair. It was not because I was worried that they would not win, but rather I did not know who was going to win. Both young ladies did everything well; they held handstands and poses, they stuck landings, and they waited graciously for the scores they deserved. After losing the team final, both Liukin and Johnson saw this as the perfect opportunity to show how resilient the US can be and took the top two spots and relegated China's Yang Yilin to the bronze.
Honorable Mention-Men's 100M Butterfly Finals (Michael Phelps, USA vs. Milorad Cavic, Serbia) & Women's 50M Freestyle Finals (Britta Steffan, Germany vs. Dara Torres, USA): Are you kidding, most everyone else would have these two listed first.
Ultimate Chill Award-Usain Bolt (Jamaica, Track and Field): This award goes to the athlete that made victory seem way too easy. To the point where they could have chilled-out anytime during a competition and still won it easily.
Bolt made everything look easy. In the 100 meter semifinals he basically jogged into the finals, then in the finals he probably could have started running backwards with 15 meters left and still win in world record time.
In his 200 meter semifinal he again had no problem winning his heat. He did not even break a sweat for the event. The 200 meter final will come after I am done writing this and have given out these awards, but I am assuming that it will state true to form.
Honorable Mention-Redeem Team (USA Men's Basketball Team) in pool play: Not the Dream Team, but at least they are trying.
Top Dog Award-Michael Phelps (USA, Swimming): Awarded to the best team or athlete.
Come on, was there any other choice. The Beijing Olympics will forever be known as the Michael Phelps Olympics. The Olympics where he took control of every gold medal count (most golds ever and most in one games) and became the top Olympian ever. He is not finished either. He is only 23 years-old and will be 27 when the Olympics start in London in 2012. I am guessing he actually has two more Olympics but I won't speculate too much about him being at the 2016 Games, because people may not want to continue racing him.
Honorable Mention-Michael Phelps (USA, Swimming): Yeah, he is that good. So good he even gets the honorable mention part of the Top Dog Award.
Honorable, Honorable Mention-Misty May-Treanor & Kerri Walsh (USA, Beach Volleyball): They have not won yet, but they are on such a great streak that I could not at least mention them.
That is the end of this Mid Olympic Chill Awards ceremony. Congratulations to all the winners. I will have a recap at the end of the Olympics and I might even change some of these awards. Likelihood is that I will just add extra awards.