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Friday, September 2, 2016

38% of US Athletes Medaled:

In America's most successful Olympic outing ever, 38% of the US team that went to Rio came back with at least one medal.

In contrast, around 10% of athletes overall who came to the Olympics earned a medal.  But considering how part of that 10% of athletes was the US team, the outside the US average is actually significantly lower.

I have to imagine team Great Britain had an even higher percentage of medals per athlete given its amazing success this Olympics, but heck, we're all Englishmen so congrats to them, New Zealand, Canada and Australia while we're at it.

Also, it appears Rio lied about Ryan Lochte's vandalism of a gas station bathroom.  He did tear a poster off the wall, but it's hard to believe that was worth security guards holding them at gunpoint until they paid 'immediate restitution.'  The fact that the expropriation was just a few bucks does seem fair, but the whole holding at gunpoint thing just makes it so sour.  I doubt the security guards would have actually shot anyone, unlike armed robbers who had a high likelihood of doing it, so the incident was totally overblown.  Especially by Lochte claiming a gun was put to his forehead and the hammer cocked.  But between Lochte's lies and Rio's lies, no one comes out of this looking pretty.  I've been fooled so many times by this same story I've almost despaired of having an opinion on it anymore.

Overall, running sports were still dominated by blacks, but a surprising number of whites, Asians, and mixed race individuals were able to medal or even win (or even break world records).  The Japanese got silver in the 4 x 100 men's relay, which is just eye opening in stereotype breakage.

Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky, Simone Biles and Usain Bolt were the stars of the show, but I want to give a shout out to Ashton Eaton for his amazing back to back decathlon golds, Alexandra Raisman for her floor mat performance, Madison Kocian for her uneven bars performance, Sanne Weavers for her balance beam performance (all three of which could be the best that's ever been done), Neymar for his penalty shot winning the gold medal for the home team stadium and breaking down into tears on his knees as the roar of the crowd approved him, Germany overcoming the dirty play of the Swedes in women's soccer, and the Russian rhythmic gymnasts (including the 'angel with iron wings') for capping off a tremendous medal run despite being banned from so many sports.

Rio had too many controversies, between the Lochte holdup, Russia's doping woes, the stray bullets and muggings of athletes throughout the competition, all the manly looking women in the women's 800 meter competition, to crown it the greatest Olympics ever.  But at least for team USA it was our greatest Olympics ever, and overall the beautiful Rio scenery and the thrill of top athletes delivering top performances when the critical moment arrived still made for a spectacular one month festival.  There's no better time to be alive than during the summer Olympics.

Just a couple weeks later, though, we've arrived at the start of the college football season.  We begin with the most competitive first week of college football ever.  Oklahoma vs. Houston, Georgia vs. North Carolina, Florida State vs. Ole Miss, Alabama vs. USC, and the list just goes on.  It's hard to imagine but the whole season is being staked on the very first game for a lot of these championship caliber teams.

Aside from the Olympics, surely bowl season + the NFL playoffs are the best time to be alive.  The journey towards that climax in 2017 starts today.  And if your home team doesn't win this year, don't worry, there's always next year.  That's the beauty of sports.  There's always something to look forward to, you can lose and lose and lose, and never truly be out of the running.  It's a clean slate at the start of every year, and everyone starts on the same starting line.  Hope springs eternal.  From the exciting conclusion to bowl season and the NFL playoffs (congratulations Alabama and Denver), to March Madness, to an exciting ending to the NBA finals and Cleveland's first win in a century at anything, to the Olympics, to the resumption of football with a spectacular non-conference lineup of games, 2016 has been a real treat in sporting history. 

Combined with a strong lineup of anime that's aired all across this year (including the dramatic conclusion of the long running Naruto series), the bittersweet ending of Bleach and the strong performances of many other manga series, the release of WoW Legion and the upcoming release of the 10 years in the making FF XV, plus the final slaying of the witch Hillary and the victory of Trump and the revival of America, and you have perhaps the best year in living memory.  Trump is leading in the polls.  I really think this is going to happen.  And then all the people who dismissed and ridiculed my stance on immigration will be eating crow on November 9th, and I will stand above them, victorious.  Who's laughing now?  Who's the radical fringe now?  If the president is saying it, that's not fringe anymore.  That's the will of the people.  In all my life, no one's ever represented me, but now I'm about to take back my country.  In just two months, as Michelle Obama put it, I will feel proud to be American for the first time in my life.  How sweet it is, how sweet it is, how sweet it is.

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