The Olympics are fantastic. That is the only way to say it without gushing. The concept of every country in the world coming together just to hang out and play sports is a pretty swell idea, if you ask me. They draw in hardcore sports-junkies to those who don’t even have a favorite team. London proved to be an excellent host, and once again, the Olympics didn’t disappoint. Like anything though, they certainly had their ups and downs. Stats and medal counts can show who the best was athletically, but there are some categories people don’t get medals for. I have compiled a list of certain events that made the Olympics what they were, but received no podium.
Colombian Women’s Soccer player Lady Andrade did not live up to her graceful sounding name in a match against the American Women’s team when she punched American Abby Wambach. While the referees did not notice her dirty shot at the competition, everyone else certainly did. Clearly, this included the soccer gods. Team USA went on to beat the Colombians 3-0 only to start their quest to eventually win gold. Andrade also gained a certain amount of notoriety from the brutal hit, and is now recognized as “the woman soccer player who hit the American one during that soccer game.”
Real life “Flash” Usain Bolt wins gold for his incredible respect of others countries and competitors. While he has had issues in the past with excessive celebration, Bolt stopped a live interview to acknowledge the Nation Anthem of the United States being played as fellow Olympian Sanya Richards-Ross was awarded a gold medal. In this simple act, Bolt demonstrated what the Olympics are all about. He took a moment to honor some different, their achievement, and their country. Usain Bolt rightly demonstrates the Olympic spirit with his air of confidence, pride and energy, with enough class and respect to honor something bigger than him.
Like it or not, social media is the preferred form of communication for almost everyone. Just about every person with internet access tweets nowadays. Especially if those people are famous. However, twitter is often misused. Michel Morganella is the perfect example. After losing to Team South Korea, the Swiss soccer star took to twitter to make sure everyone knew his opinion of the South Koreans. He called all of them “mentally handicapped”. In doing so, he essentially confirmed to the World he was the biggest shmuck of the games. I don’t know what the opposite of gold is, but Mr. Morganella deserves a medal made out of that.
McKayla Maroney embracing the picture of her making the “Not Impressed Face” is one of the best things I’ve seen. She recently tweeted a picture of her and fellow Olympians sporting the viral standoffish mug with the hashtag, “not impressed.” This one may not have had any symbolic or deep meaning, but it was still pretty fun.
Worst Clutch Moment:
As much as it pains me to say so, I have to give this one to an American competitor, a superstar no less. Ryan Lochte stands out as having the biggest “choke moment” of the Olympics during the 400m Freestyle relay. Phelps had given Team USA a significant lead as the second man in the rotation. Victory seemed certain as Ryan Lochte entered the water. He managed to hold off French anchor Yannick Agnel until the final stretch of the race. Suddenly, it looked as though Lochte had left those grills in his mouth and they were made of solid lead as Agnel chased him down to force the Americans to have to settle for silver. Despite Lochte’s incredible performance throughout the games, for chocking in the final moments of this event, he wins the LeBronze medal.
Best Clutch Moment:
Coincidentally, the award for most clutch goes to another team USA swim team member in unknown Nathan Andrian. Phelps had virtually tied things up in the third leg of the race. It all came down to 100m specialist Nathan Adrian. He had to choose between winning it all or pulling a Locthe, and costing the United States yet another precious gold medal. Adrian simply crushed the competition, blowing away the Japanese and giving the United States a full 1.91 second victory and the gold medal they strove for so hard.
Come on, this one is a no-brainer. In case you lived under a rock for this years Olympic games, NBC gets this notable achievement. They were a few hours behind on every event when broadcasting to the US, assuming adult American citizens needed the Olympics presented to them on a special timetable so they wouldn’t get confused. This ruined all of the intrigue or intensity of watching, usually from the knowledge that what you were watching had already happened or worse still, knowing what the outcome was. Spoilers were literally everywhere not called NBC. The most painful part? Any notable coverage of the games was taken on by the good folks at NBC. Therefore, I can hardly give out the best coverage award if the only coverage was the worst. But, for the sake of argument, I’ll say the best coverage was found in flying over to London and watching the games yourself. As an American, that is as good as it’s going to get.
Worst Ceremony Moment:
Let me just say that both the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics were absolutely incredible. I have never seen anything so spectacularly constructed and coordinated in my life. It was very hard to find anything wrong with either of them. However, during the closing ceremony, after the flag had been passed from the United Kingdom to Brazil, things started to get weird. There was a soccer player, and singers, and…aliens? Once everyone started dancing nothing made much sense. And when a man in a white suit that would put Colonel Sanders to shame swaggered out on stage and started jumping around, I just gave up. Much to my relief, it finally ended. Rio is a beautiful city and I have no doubt the Olympics will be simply incredible once they arrive there. That was just a very strange way to say so.
Best Ceremony Moment:
If you missed the opening ceremony, you missed a lot, my friend. All of it was simply incredible. Absolutely everything was perfect. Perfect in performance, in execution, in timing, and in every other way possible. However, the highlight of the evening had to be the appearance of Sir Paul McCartney at the very end, to open the games officially. The entire stadium and city all singing together was symbolic of the Olympics as a whole. The entire spectacle gave me goose bumps just watching it on television thousands of miles away and with a two hour gap (Here’s to you NBC). McCartney’s performance was a marvelous way to kick things off.
Worst Moment Overall:
Unfortunately, the Olympics are often not the fantasy world portrayed in the opening ceremonies and ESPN montages. Some can chose to pollute the games through their unfair actions. The worst moment of the Olympics happened very recently when Belarusian shot-putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk was caught by Olympic authorities using steroids and was stripped of her gold medal. Upon testing positive for using Metenlone, Ostapchuk managed to bring corruption in the Olympics. Thankfully, incidents like this are few and far between, keeping the games what they are supposed to be.
Best Moment Overall:
As much as I would love to give this one to an American, I just can’t bring myself to. The best moment of the Olympics belong to an athlete playing for the host nation, which made it all the sweeter. British boxer Anthony Joshua had a scene so perfect, it could have been scripted during his match against Italian fighter, Roberto Cammarelle. In the final round, Joshua mounted a three-point comeback to pull off a nail biting win for his home nation as they watched him from the stands. It was the feel good moment of the games for many people, particularly the British. It is things like that, that make the Olympics so special. Boxing comebacks happen all the time in various leagues around the world, but for a British young man to get to play hero for Britain, in front of Britain is a very special thing. For a moment, the world put aside their differences, just to sit down and watch the game.
Conclusion: Props to London for pulling off another immaculate spectacle of athletics and entertainment. I couldn’t have seen them going any better. (Except for that whole bit about NBC). However, it takes more than medals to make the games what they are. They were great to watch because of those “best of” moments, and despite those “worst of” moments.