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Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Tale of Two Olympics:

The Olympics have two feel good stories playing out right now.  The first story is:

The security council Olympics --  5 out of the top 6 nations on the medal table right now just so happen to correspond to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.  USA, China, Great Britain, Russia and France in that order.  That shows a heck of a lot of foresight when the UN was deciding who would get in to these plum positions, because their merit, as shown by the objective measure of the Olympics, is exactly who you would want to be the five permanent rulers of the world.

It makes you wonder if simply the knowledge of your country being a nuclear power is sufficient to boost the testosterone of your population, leading to all your athletes having greater success when the Olympics rolls around. . .

The other fun story is the people furthest from the pinnacles of power --  Kosovo, Puerto Rico, Vietnam, Fiji and Singapore winning their very first golds in Olympic history.  Welcome to the club of real nations, you five, who finally have at least something to be proud about.  (Yes, I know, Puerto Rico isn't a nation, but for sporting purposes it is.)

India is making a fool of itself by failing to win even a single medal so far.  So much for the second most populous nation on Earth.  The Olympics isn't even aware of their existence.

Brazil, meanwhile, is trudging along with just six medals so far, a lamentable score for a host nation.  But good news awaits, because the prestigious soccer gold medal will likely be won by both the men's and women's team.  That's got to be a salve on this otherwise disappointing tally.

Even without any track and field athletes, Russia has proved that you cannot keep them down.  I'm so proud of their defiance of the western powers and the unstoppable in your face performances of their Tennis doubles, their fencing teams, Aliya Mustafina, and on and on.  When all the lies are stripped away and people compete in fair and objective contests -- no more Eurovisions, no more laser pointers -- the Russians always come out on top.  You can't lie, cheat, and steal your way out of sports results, like you can spin the referendum results in Crimea.  Russia simply is dominant, period.

Michael Phelps will most likely be the winningest Olympian at this Olympics just like he has been for all the previous ones.  His record may never be beaten.  The Olympics will likely close down before anyone can even approach that total.  It's amazing how consistent he's been.  Virtually every medal he's won has been gold.  He doesn't settle for anything less, even at age 31.

World records are being broken all over, in virtually every contest.  The athletes across the board aren't just the best, they're all the best in history, all while also being the cleanest in history.  We are watching true greatness play out in front of us.  Ussain Bolt winning his third 100m gold in a row is something that's never been done before.  And he's just one story among many of feats like that.  Andy Murray in tennis.  Simone Biles' and the US team's monster all-around scores.  Katie Ledecky's 800m.  On and on, everyone has just been so stellar.

The Olympics would already be a phenomenal show if they ended here, but there's still an entire week of action left to see.  Talk about being spoiled.

Still to come -- more track and field, taekwondo, triathlon, more sailing, more artistic gymnastics, more diving, the decathlon, more soccer, bmx cycling, the modern pentathlon, mountain biking, rhythmic gymnastics, more basketball, women's golf and the closing ceremony.  Fasten your seats because the roller coaster just keeps on delivering faster, stronger, and higher thrills every time.

Best moment in the Rio Olympics:  Monica Puig coming out of nowhere to win singles women's tennis gold, the first ever for Puerto Rico.

Worst moment in the Rio Olympics:  Lochte, the second winningest swimmer of all time for the USA, having a pistol cocked and rammed into his forehead by a team of muggers who wouldn't take no for an answer.  If that shot had actually been fired then goodbye Rio Olympics, you made a mistake that can never be undone, just like Atlanta and Munich.  As it stands they literally just dodged a bullet.

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