8 opinions and a quiz

Some thoughts on the Olympic swimming.

1. Wow!

2. The U.S. women were awesome. Watching (and hearing from) Dana Vollmer, Rebecca Soni, Missy Franklin, and Allison Schmitt was a joy (as if you didn’t already know that), as was their joy. What great models! And Katie Ledecky. Man! I was so excited watching her swim, I was yelling at the TV.

3. The U.S. men weren’t bad either. Nathan Adrian swam great, rejoiced wonderfully and said the right things. I loved Brendan Hansen’s reaction to his third place finish and his comment about the shiniest bronze medal ever. How could you not like Matt Grevers’, Nick Thoman’s, and Tyler Clary’s swims and their thrill? I really like Thoman’s comment about concentrating on keeping his hips high the last lap. And Phelps, who didn’t look healthy to me the first couple of days, well, what can you say about his performances, which were up there with the greatest ever, except, of course, for those of Michael Phelps in 2008? And, as a bonus, he handled his interviews better than ever before.

3. I loved watching Shaune and Brett Frasier of the Cayman Islands (both of whom were NCAA Champions at Florida) swim in the same seeded heat.

4. What a great 100 breaststroke from Cameron Van der Burgh.

5. I love watching Sun Yang and Park Tae-hwan swim. Their strokes are amazing.

6. I hate thinking about who is clean and who isn’t/wasn’t. But I do.

7. I sure would’ve liked NBC to have informed us viewers, one way or another, as to who was swimming what leg of the relays for all of the teams. Yes, even the ones that represented other countries beside the U.S.

8. Bartolo Consolo, Vice Chairman of FINA, once wrote to me in regard to my intent for ASA to sanction world records in short course yards, that he thought it would confuse the general public as to who the real world record holders are. I wrote back telling him, among other things, that it couldn’t possibly be more confusing to the general public than much of what FINA does (like, for example, certifying masters age world records for swimmers who swam slower, in the same heats, than others in their same age groups.) So, one more time: what could be more confusing, while diminishing the value of Olympic Medals, than to give Olympic medals to scores of relay swimmers who didn’t perform well enough to make the finals, let alone place in the top 3? How many relay medals were awarded to U.S. relay swimmers? Did anyone else notice, for example, that the U.S. swimmers who swam the prelims in the men’s 4 x 100 medley really (4 great swimmers, who swam extremely well) not only didn’t swim fast enough to place in the top 3 (their time would have placed 5th), but none of them swam fast enough to make their countries relay team for the final? Yet, while the Japanese and Australian swimmers who placed 2nd and 3rd respectively in the finals, got silver and bronze medals, the U.S. prelim swimmers, who didn’t swim fast enough to make their counties team for the finals or fast enough to win, place, or show, received Gold Medals. What’s wrong with this picture? This is an incredibly stupid policy and one that cheapens Olympic medals.

That’s some of what has been floating around in my brain today about the Olympics. Maybe more tomorrow.

In the meantime, here’s an Olympic quiz: Who was the last U.S. woman to finish first in the 100 meter freestyle in the Olympics and when was it done?

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4 Responses to 8 opinions and a quiz

  1. I almost guessed Dara Torres, but then I remembered that Sandy won the gold in Munich in 72 in the 100 free. Was she the last one?

    • keithbell says:

      Hi Rafael,

      Yep. She was.

      • Well hello Keith, after all this time 🙂
        Are you discounting the dead heat 100 free result?

      • keithbell says:

        Hi Clive,

        Nice to hear from you.

        No, why would I discount it? As you know, Carrie Steinseifer and Nancy Hoggshead tied for 1st and 2nd place in the 1984 boycotted Olympics, but neither one of them won. They tied. If two football teams played to a tie, which one won? Neither one, right? They tied. And who got second in that race? Carrie and Nancy tied for second as well, didn’t they? While Carrie and Nancy were each awarded a gold medal, it would have made just as much sense to award them each a silver medal instead and more sense to split the two medals in half, weld a half of a silver and a half of a gold together and give each swimmer a half gold/half silver medal. That would have made for two pretty cool (and more apt) medals wouldn’t it?

        Yes, I stand by my statement that Sandy is the last U.S. swimmer to win the 100m freestyle in the Olympics. No U.S. swimmer since Sandy has beaten everyone else in that event. No one since Sandy has touched the finish pad first.

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