Monday, August 13, 2012

Hottie Results

As we said “goodbye” to the 2012 London Games, we also said farewell to our favorite sport of all – watching male athletes. As we began these Games with a list of our favorite athletes, we end by giving a roundup of how each of these fine-looking specimens fared in their respective events.

Ryan Lochte

The most decorated of our hotties, with five medals in London, including two gold. However, Lochte was hoping for these to be “his games” and his results, though exceptional, were below the level he was hoping. In his “signature event,” Lochte was a disappointing 3rd. However he beat Phelps in their first meeting, the 400IM, but later was defeated by the winningest Olympian of all time in the 200IM. But unquestionably, Lochte was the face of Olympic hotties in 2012.
2 gold – 400IM, 4x200 Free relay
2 silver – 200IM, 4x100 Free relay
1 bronze – 200 back

James Magnussen

A disappointing Olympics all-around for Aussies in the pool, but particularly for “The Missle,” who was much-hyped in the leadup to London, but came away with just two medals, none of them gold. But at only 21 years old, this hottie should be gracing us with his presence for years to come.
1 silver – 100 free
1 bronze – 4x100 medley

Andreas Thorkildsen

An injury-plagued 2012 did not bode well for Thorkildsen, the gold medalist in both Athens and Beijing, and I’m sorry to report that the Nordic God of Javelin failed to place in the Olympics, finishing 6th in the finals. But after researching him more this morning, I HAVE to give this hottie my gold medal. 

You won the gold in my book, Andreas.

Giuseppe Lanzone 

Participated in only one event, the men’s 8,  where the U.S. just narrowly missed the bronze medal, by .3 seconds.

Sam Mikulak

No one thought the U.S. men would finish the gymnastics without a team medal; even less thought they would leave London with just one medal overall, which was Danell Leyva’s All Around bronze. 

Troy Dumais

The 31-year-old diver finally medaled in his third Olympics, taking bronze in the men’s synchronized 3m springboard. He finished 5th in the individual 3m springboard.

Clemente Russo 

The second-seeded heavyweight boxer lived up to his ranking - Russo made it to the final against Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk, where he was defeated, relegating him to the silver medal. The more I looked at him, the more I wonder how a boxer can have a face like this… 

I guess the second-best boxer in the world doesn't get punched in the face too often. Thankfully.


Ricky Berens

Only swam one individual event, where he didn’t make the finals. But Berens was on two relay teams, and medaled in both - including one gold.
                1 gold – 4x200m Freestyle Relay
                1 silver – 4x100m Freestyle relay

Luca Marin

8th place in his only event, the 400m IM, 9.71 behind winner and poll-winning favorite hottie, Ryan Lochte.

Han Van Alphen 

A surprising 4th place in the decathlon. He won the final event, the 1500m, to move into 4th, just 10 seconds shy of the  bronze medal.

Pascal Behrenbruch

A disappointing 10th place in the decathlon.

Friday, August 10, 2012

For love of Olympic Track and Field

It's been a long two weeks of Olympics; I am almost glad they are winding down, because I'm exhausted!  I mean, I don't know how many more nights I can lay on the couch until midnight, stressed out, eating milk and cookies, watching these people compete. The first week was filled with swimming, which of course means ogling the male swimmers' amazing physiques, then we were immediately thrown right into track & field, which has always been a favorite of mine. Move over Missy Franklin, because you may have swam in 15 races, but I don't get a single night off in two weeks!

Ever since I can remember, I've been obsessed with track and field. What really sealed the deal for me was when I was 13, watching Michael Johnson's unparalleled double gold in the 200 and 400 meters at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, wearing his famous (and fabulous) gold spikes. His performance in the 200m still gives me chills - the then-world record of 19.32 seconds (which, ironically, was Usain Bolt's winning 200m time in London) was so fast he actually injured his hamstring to the point he was never the same after. And neither was I - it was official, I was obsessed with track.

Michael Johnson's gold-medal winning and world-record breaking performance, Atlanta 1996. Photo credit, AP
Anyway, back to the present. I can't talk about London 2012 without first discussing the most talked-about (track) athlete in these Games, Usain Bolt. Has there ever been a more fitting name for an athlete? He was literally born to be fast. Despite a couple of losses leading up to the Olympics, everyone knew Bolt had something special in store for us. It's hard enough to win back-to-back gold in one event, yet Bolt did it in both the 100 and 200 m, proving that, without a doubt, he is the fastest man who has ever lived.

Videos may not be able to truly capture how fast Bolt is, but still photos sure can.

Bolt has three major factors that make him the Fastest Man on Earth. His two major "losses" in the past two years have come to countryman Yohan Blake, at the 2011 World Championships after Bolt was disqualified for a false start, and the 2012 Jamaican Olympics Trials, where Bolt wasn't 100% healthy. I believe that Bolt is unbeatable when healthy.

First, he is extremely tall, especially for a sprinter, at 6'5", so though he has to use more energy to move that amount of mass, his strides are extremely efficient - in his 100m win in London, Bolt took just 41 steps, five fewer than silver medalist Blake, and two fewer than bronze medalist Justin Gatlin. His energy-output-to-stride ratio, according to many people smarter than me who have studied his races, is the most efficient there has ever been.

Second, he possesses superior strength and flexibility. According to Dr. Ross Tucker of The Science of Sport website, this allows him to accelerate quickly and maintain a very high top speed. He explains: "I've not seen such an elastic runner before. Bolt's advantages stem from a superior stretch-shortening cycle function, which allows energy to be stored and used more effectively. We know from research that power output is proportional to the amount of energy that can be stored and released from the muscle-tendon junction during the muscle contraction." That is way above my head, but it sounds like it makes sense.

Third, Bolt also has exceptional reaction time. Out of the blocks in London's 100m finals, despite saying he sat back a bit for fear of a false start and being disqualified a la the 2011 World Championships, Bolt's reaction after the gun was clocked at 0.165 second, vs. Blake (0.179 sec) and Gatlin (0.178 sec). Imagine if the ridiculous "one false start and you're out" rule wasn't in place, and Bolt was able to react without fear of a false start and disqualification.

Though Bolt blew everyone's socks off yet again, my favorite track and field athletes in these Olympics are, bar-none, Allyson Felix and Sanya Richards Ross. Felix finished 5th in the 100m, but finally captured the elusive gold in the 200m; and Richards Ross avenged her 2008 4th place finish in the 400m with a win in London. Both heavy favorites in their premier events, I think what I love about them both is how strong, yet feminine they both are. There is no question looking at their physiques that they are world-class athletes, but they both manage to also be drop-dead gorgeous in a sport where woman aren't usually seen that way. They had the determination to train for four years after bitter disappointment for the chance to redeem themselves. They are definitely women that little girls - and 29 year old mothers - want to be, and women who deserve our admiration.

Sanya Richards Ross after winning the 400m gold medal. Photo credit: Getty images.

Allyson Felix as she finishes her gold-medal-winning 200m race. Photo credit: AP
Speaking of admiration, I can't talk about 2012 Olympic track and field without discussing South Africa's Oscar Pistorius, who is a double amputee. After a long battle for inclusion in able-bodied competition in the individual events, Pistorius qualified for the Olympics and reached the semifinals in the 400 meters. The argument against allowing him in the able-bodied competition was that his  artificial lower legs, while enabling him to compete, give him an unfair advantage over able-bodied runners. Pistorius' argument is, if that were true, then all Paralympians would be running able-bodied times - but they aren't. In fact, Pistorius is by far the best Paralympian runner, and the first amputee to ever compete in Olympics track and field. I happen to agree with him, and I'm so glad he was finally able to compete in the Olympics, further proving that anything is possible. Pistorius is unquestionably the most inspiring athlete of these games, and despite not even making the finals in his individual event, he is one of the most respected athletes to compete in London.

South Africa's Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee, competes in the 400m. Photo credit: Reuters

From Bolt, Felix, Richards Ross and Pistorius, to Britain's Jessica Ennis surviving the weight of a country on her shoulders to win the women's heptathlon, David Rushida's world-record 800 meter win, and Manteo Mitchell finishing the first leg of the US 4x400 relay on a broken leg, track and field in London has surpassed my expectations and served to further my love for the sport.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The ultimate female conundrum

Good Ryan Lochte

Bad Ryan Lochte

I'm in the middle of a personal conundrum, and one I know many other women are simultaneously suffering through: we are obsessed with the way Ryan Lochte looks, but can we ignore his antics, which reek of douchebaggery?

First, the good: Lochte is incredibly good looking, from top to bottom. He is the kind of good looking that even guys can't ignore - I challenge you to find a man who doesn't agree that he is ridiculously good looking. The face! The body! The dolphin kick! He is one of very few men in the world that all other men know they stand no chance against when it comes to getting ANY girl.
But then comes the bad: We've all seen his diamond-encrusted American flag grill (ugh), heard his interviews (double ugh), and seen his sparkly high-top sneakers with wings and/or his name on the soles (puke). His persona is vomit-inducing, including how he describes his personal style:

"All the stuff that I do, like, the crazy shoes I wear—like the grills I wear on the podium, the crazy shoes, all that crazy stuff—like, rock star."

He still lives in Gainesville, Fla., his college town, five years after graduating, and just last year admitted, at age 26, to be over dating college girls. Despite having numerous endorsements, he lives with two other guys in a condo, one of whom is still in college. He has his own expression that he shouts out, tweets out, and puts on his self-designed sneakers: "JEAH!" What does it even mean?! It's so lame you have to laugh.

In the past week, I've come to realize that Lochte represents everything women love and hate about men - he is literally the perfect physical male specimen, but he is every douche-y stereotype rolled into one (the clothes, the grill, the rap music, the one night stands, the catch phrases, living in his college town five years post graduation... I could go on and on). He is the ultimate frat boy who happens to be one of the best swimmers in the world.

That being said, all I can think of is that Lochte is a big, dumb animal. He reminds me of the "How I Met Your Mother" episode with Katy Perry. They call her "Honey" because she is so pretty but so ditzy and naive, that everything she says is followed by, "Oh, honey." Every time I hear Lochte talk, I just think "Oh, honey..." or, in the Southern way of saying it, "Bless his heart." He is so dumb it's almost endearing.

Everything in life evens out: Lochte is so ridiculously good looking and talented that there has to be a catch, and there is - he is a living, breathing Derek Zoolander. There aren't a lot of people who can have it all - looks, brains and talent - but two out of three ain't bad, Ryan.

The difference between Lochte and true d-bags is that he doesn't seem to be a jerk. Lame, yes, but not a jerk. On his Twitter feed, along with shout outs to Lil' Wayne, he constantly posts pics of him with his adorable nephew (and we can't blame Ryan for his name - Zaydin), and all women know that men who love babies can't be all bad. So ladies, I will leave you with this:

Uncle Ryan
Even one who seems to be a DB has a soft side, and this bodes well for his future. Will we see a different, more mature (and grill-less) Lochte in Rio? Here's hoping.