The Redeem Team's gold-medal performance in Beijing has sparked debate about how it compares to the original Dream Team from 1992. Would Kobe's and LeBron's squad beat Michael, Magic and Co.? Jack McCallum says the Dream Team would overwhelm the Redeem Team with superior inside play and a heavy dose of Michael Jordan, while Chris Mannix contends the Redeem Team's young legs and international experience would prove decisive.
Who do you think would win this fictional Team USA matchup?
By Mark Mravic
So I'm just catching up on the men's 110-meter hurdles. (I know it happened, like, Thursday morning. Hang on, what day is it? And where's that rain I was just seeing in the women's 20K walk? Freaking out here, folks. Thanks again, NBC! ) Anyway, I love that Cuba's Dayron Robles races for the gold and wins, all in his wire-rims. No fancy wraparound Nike shades for Comrade Erkel! Leave it to a nerd to realize you don't need sunglasses at night, whatever Corey Hart might say. I think Robles just made a lot of four-eyed fans in the Science Club!
Robles' commitment to quality eyewear brought back a nice memory: Watching the men's 800-meter final with my family and rooting for another Olympian who didn't care what kind of fashion statement he made, an American whom we dubbed "Hat Guy" after watching the racers being introduced. It was, of course, Dave Wottle, whose homestretch kick for the gold matches anything the Olympics has produced before or since for sheer thrills, and here I'm including Jason Lezak's finish in the 4x100 freestyle in Beijing, and even Michael Phelps' goldfinger touch in the 100m butterfly. I remember leaping from the couch with my brother and sister, all of us screaming, "Hat Guy won! Hat Guy won!"
By Mark Bechtel
A further thought on the women's soccer gold. It's funny: The whole Hope Solo/World Cup controversy sprang up when former coach Greg Ryan benched Solo against Brazil in the World Cup because he thought Briana Scurry was a better pure shot stopper than Solo. Then today, Solo made about a dozen huge plays--and only maybe three or four were saves. (Granted, a couple of them were spectacular.) She did an amazing job handling crosses and corners, her distribution was great--in short, she did everything that Ryan decided wasn't important enough to keep her in the lineup. In the face of that relentless attack, just about any other keeper in the world would have been caught out of position at some point. But Solo didn't. She made the saves when she had to, but just as important, she didn't give Brazil a single break.
I doubt there was much, if any, residual ill will among her teammates coming into Olympics--Solo's comments about Scurry were made almost a year ago. But if there was, I'm guessing all is completely forgiven now, because without Solo I don't think the US pulls that gold medal out. All in all, it was a great effort from the entire tea,. I didn't think they had much of a chance to beat Brazil, but they gutted it out. Nice job.
By Mark Bechtel
NBC Universal--i.e., the whole family (MSNBC, CNBC, the channels dedicated to soccer and hoops, etc.)--has done a pretty nice job covering the many venues in and around Beijing. The Peacock's prime time coverage, on the other hand, has tended to focus solely on the big stories at the expense of the goings-on in the fringe events. Take soccer for instance. NBC hasn't even mentioned the gold the US women's team won today, which is a bit of a head scratcher. It was an amazing game and quite and upset. The last time the US played Brazil, the lasses got spanked and goalkeeper Hope Solo shot her mouth off afterwards. You might have heard about it. It got a little play. So today Solo plays out of her head and the US shuts down Brazil (who scored four goals on Germany, the reigning World Cup champs, in the semis) in a 1-0 win. But it's gotten no play--despite the fact that NBC is relying on tape delayed track and diving coverage to fill the early hours of the broadcast. It's especially odd given the status the women's national team has historically enjoyed in the US, as well as the foothold international soccer seems to be making in the States (witness ESPN's ratings for this summer's European Championships).
So what stories do you think should be getting more play?
- 11:21 AM ET 08.21
Sixty-six-year old IOC president Jacques Rogge has presented the Grumpy Old Man view of the post-race celebrations of Jamaica's 100-meter and 200-meter gold-medal winner Usain Bolt. As the AP reported:
"I have no problem with him doing a show," Rogge said in an interview with three international news agency reporters. "I think he should show more respect for his competitors and shake hands, give a tap on the shoulder to the other ones immediately after the finish and not make gestures like the one he made in the 100 meters." Having built a huge lead in Saturday's 100 final, Bolt slowed, glanced around with arms outstretched and pounded his chest before crossing the finish line in a world record time of 9.69 seconds. "I understand the joy," Rogge said. "He might have interpreted that in another way, but the way it was perceived was 'catch me if you can.' You don't do that. But he'll learn. He's still a young man."
Well, for one thing, Bolt isn't as young as he was yesterday--he turns 22 today. (Happy birthday, my man!)...But to me, Bolt's celebrations (including his dances) were not out of bounds. He just seemed like an athete reveling in the moment. (Moreover, there was nothing vulgar in his display.)
You gotta wonder what Rogge would say about Chad Johnson...
But how do you feel? Do you agree with Rogge?