Monday, July 30, 2012

Gymnastics "controversy"

Image credit: Gregory Bull/AP
On Sunday night, Jordyn Wieber of the U.S. failed to qualify for the All Around finals, despite finishing fourth overall. How is this possible, you ask? Because two of Wieber's teammates - Gabby Douglas and Ali Raisman - finished ahead of her, and the idiotic rule is that only two athletes from each country can go on to compete in the All Around Final. 

Here's what I have to say about that - only two athletes advancing from each country is a joke. The rule is intended to keep a single nation (or a few select nations) from single-handedly dominating the medal podium, but what it's really doing is keeping deserving gymnasts who legitimately earn high scores from taking part in competitions they've earned the right to dominate. The "top 24" advance to the All Around, but the best 24 aren't competing - the 3rd-place athletes from the U.S., Russia and Romania, though having top -24 scores, won't be there.

I know this has been a rule for awhile, but it still infuriates me;  it's like the Olympic Committee is saying, "I know you've worked out 7 hours a day every day of your life, but let's give someone from (insert gymnastics non-powerhouse country here) a chance - even though they will never medal and you may have had a chance." 

Case in point: in 1992, Tatiana Gutsu (of the then "Unified Team") had a rough qualification and finished fourth on her team (then, each country could send three to the All Around). But her coaches knew she had a chance to win, so the 3rd place finisher on that team, poor Roza Galieva, was forced (in her words) to say she had an injury and couldn't compete so Gutsu could - and Gutsu won the gold medal. If not for being on a powerhouse team, Gutsu would have made it to the All Around without a teammate having to fall on the proverbial sword.
Top 24 should mean TOP 24, no matter what country they are from.

Friday, July 27, 2012

This one of for the ladies: Olympic hotties

It's finally that time I wait every 4 years for - The Olympics! It's been 1,433 days since the Beijing closing ceremonies, and I can hardly contain my excitement!

Every four years my friends and I discuss what all women who love sports discuss - who are the hottest male Olympic athletes? I have seen many lists going around the internet and I just had to compile my own. So ladies, without further adieu, here is MY list of the Hottest 2012 Olympic Athletes (in no particular order)...

Ryan Lochte, Swimming, USA  


James Magnussen, Swimming, Australia

 I hate to say this, but he’s giving my love Ryan (Lochte, of course) a run for his money. Known as “The Missle,” he is the current 100-meter freestyle world champion, and Ian “The Thorpedo” Thorpe (I guess those Aussies love their nicknames) says this hottie has the chance to be one of the best Aussie swimmers in history (and he’s only 21).

Andreas Thorkildsen, Javelin, Norway

First of all, he is BAD ASS; Thorkildsen (try saying that three times fast) is the first male javelin thrower in history to be European Champion, World Champion and Olympic Champion (gold in 2004 AND 2008). Secondly, he is SUPER hot and his nickname is - no joke - “The Nordic God of Javelin.” Also, he is known as “more California than a Californian” and lives in San Diego. Maybe I should go visit my brother there soon….

Giuseppe Lanzone, Rowing, USA

Lanzone could be a legit Ralph Lauren model. Lucky for him, since I don’t think rowing pays too many bills. This is his second Olympics, he went to the University of Washington (class of 2006), and is a native of McLean, Va... do we care about any of this? Look at his picture and enjoy.

Sam Mikulak, Gymnastics, USA

 I will make an exception on the “shorty” rule (he’s 5’6”) for this wee hottie.

Troy Dumais, Diving, USA

Even though he participates in perhaps the most homo erotic of all sports (synchronized diving), I will give him a hottie pass because he is primarily a singles-diver.

Clemente Russo, Boxing, Italy  

A true Italian Stallion is every sense of the word. A policeman during the day, Russo won the silver as a heavyweight in Beijing in 2008, and is competing in his third Olympics.

Ricky Berens, Swimming, USA
What is with swimmers being so hot? And the four on this list are even super hot with their shirts on, which is WHY they are on the list. At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Berens swam the third leg of the gold-medal winning and world-record-setting men's 4×200-meter freestyle relay, with Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, and Peter Vanderkaay. These swimmers really stick together - his girlfriend is Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Rebecca Soni.

Luca Marin, Swimming, Italy

The final swimmer on our list, this hottie is probably best known in Italy for his out-of-the-pool activities. He's had soap-opera-like relationships, once with a French swimmer, then a fellow Italian swimmer; he made tabloid headlines when Olympic gold medalist Federica Pellegrini, the best Italian swimmer of all time, left him and got engaged to another Italian swimmer;  he was on the Italian version of Dancing with the Stars, and has been on an Italian “telenovela.” This Olympics, he said he hopes to put the gossip aside and reach the medal stand - I concur! The better he does, the more heats he swims and the more we get to see of him!

Hans Van Alphen, Decathlon, Belgium

Probably won’t medal, but as long as he takes his shirt off during the competition, I’ll be happy.

Pascal Behrenbruch, Decathlon, Germany 

The prototypical German-looking hottie, Behrenbruh won the 2012 European Championships. Though I’ll be rooting for Ashton Eaton, Behrenbruch and van Alphen will make this 10-event marathon F-U-N to watch.

Do you agree/disagree? Who do you think I left out?