Tuesday, July 31, 2012

London Olympics 2012: Day 3

The U.S. team upped their medal count in the pool on day three of competition, but in a stunning turn of events, favorite in the 200m free, Ryan Lochte was shut out of the medals finishing fourth. Frenchmen Agnel Yannick, who was part of that gold medal relay the day prior picked up yet another gold in this event. With so much pressure having been placed on Lochte going into these Olympics, many are beginning to wonder, if he crumbling under the pressure?

Men's 200m Freestyle

rank lane
1      5     Agnel Yannick France 1:43.14
2      3     Taehwan Park Korea 1:44.93
2      4     Yang Sun China 1:44.93
4      2     Ryan Lochte U.S.A. 1:45.04
5      6     Paul Bidermann Germany 1:45.53
6      1     Robbie Renwick Great Britain 1:46.53
7      8     Thomas Fraser Holmes Australia 1:46.93
8      7     Danila Izotov Russia 1:47.75

But besides Lochte, there was no other bad news in the pool for the Americans on night three.

Missy Franklin surpassed expectations winning her first Olympic medal, a gold, in the 100m Backstroke. Thirty five minutes before, she qualified for the finals in the 200m Freestyle. Franklin, who drew praise early, even from the likes of Michael Phelps, is humble about all her success. She showed up at a press conference today with her gold medal in her pocket. When the press asked where it was, she quickly pulled it out exclaiming, "isn't it pretty". Something tells me this is the beginning of an amazing career for Franklin, and I know she can handle the ride.

Women's 100m Backstroke

rank lane
1     5      Missy Franklin U.S.A. 58.33 AR
2     4      Emily Seebohn Australia 58.68
3     3      Aya Jerakawa Japan 58.83
4     2      Anastasia Zueva Russia 59.00
5     7      Gemma Spofforth Great Britain 59.20
6     6      Jing Zhao China 59.23
7     1      Belinda Hocking Australia 59.29
8     8      Yuanhui Fu China 1:00.50

Four years ago in Beijing, Matt Grevers finished second to American teammate Aaron Peirsol in the 100m Backstroke. This time around it was Grevers' turn and he capitalized finishing first. His teammate, Nick Thoman picked up a silver saying that he knew when he looked up at the board that he has to get over to Matt so they could celebrate together.

 Men's 100m Backstroke

rank lane
1      4     Matt Grevers U.S.A. 52.16 OR
2      2     Nick Thoman U.S.A. 52.92
3      6     Ryosuke Irie Japan 52.97
4      5     Camille Lacourt France 53.08
5      3     Liam Tancock Great Britain 53.35
6      1     Helge Meeuw Germany 53.48
7      8     Hayden Stoeckel Australia 53.55
8      7     Feiyi Cheng China 53.77

Rebecca Soni has been called the Queen of the Breaststroke throughout the swimming world; however, in the 100m last night, she was upset by a 15 year old phenom from Lithuania who had drawn a lot of hype in the swimming world, Ruta Meilutyte. Soni did win another silver and does have a few other races to swim in during these Olympics. 

Women's 100m Breaststroke

rank lane
1      4      Ruta Meilutyte Lithuania 1:05.47
2      5      Rebecca Soni U.S.A. 1:05.55
3      1      Satone Suzuki Japan 1:06.46
4      8      Alia Atkinson Jamaica 1:06.93
5      2      Leisel Jones Australia 1:06.95
6      6      Breeja Larson U.S.A. 1:06.96
7      3      Iuliia Efimova Russia 1:06.98
8      7      Rikke Pedersen Denmark 1:07.55
A couple days ago, I blogged on here about how wonderful our Men's Gymnastics Team was. They are still wonderful, and they lead the world in qualifying for the team event finishing in first place. Many within the sport of gymnastics felt they were the team to beat, this time would be theirs; they would be the first U.S. Men's Gymnastics Team to win a team gold. I have no idea what happened, and I am sure many are wondering the same, but in a strange turn of events, they tumbled all the way to fifth place, not even winning a medal of any color.

The Chinese team who had struggled 48 hours before and looked disastrous, miraculously walked away with gold, yet again. Japan, after contesting a low scoring pommel horse program by one of it's gymnast, won their request and a silver. Great Britain was more than happy to take a bronze that was well earned.

Men's Gymnastics Team Finals

1. China 275.997
2. Japan 271.952
3. Great Britain 271.711
4. Ukraine 271.526
5. U.S.A. 269. 952

Switching diving partners paid off for diver David Boudia who won a bronze medal in the 10m Platform with his new partner Nick McCrory. The Chinese continued their dominance in diving winning the gold, and the Mexican team enjoyed new found success with a silver. This is Mexico's first Olympic medal in synchronized diving; they deserved it because they did dives with a high degree of difficulty.

Men's Synchronized 10m Platform

1. Yuan Coa/ Yanquan Zhang China 486.78
2. Ivan Garcia Navarro/ German Sanchez Sanchez Mexico 468.90
3. David Boudia/ Nick McCrory U.S.A. 463.47

n.b. all the Olympics photos on this blog are from www.nbcolympics.com

Monday, July 30, 2012

London Olympics 2012: Day 2

The story of day two of competition at this Olympics is that Jordan Wieber will not compete in the Women's Gymnastics All Around. Yes, you heard right, the defending world all around champion will not compete and the reason may surprise you. It was not a gymnast from another country who dashed Wieber's chances, it was not her closest competitor on the U.S. team Gabby Douglas. Instead it was her close friend, Aly Raisman.

Raisman outscored Weiber in the floor exercises which was the U.S. team's final rotation. When Weiber saw her name drop to third below Raisman and Douglas, she burst into tears. So for U.S. gymnastics fan everywhere, this is bittersweet. Having even some more time to think about all of this, why does World Gymnastics have this ridiculous world, who is to say that the top five gymnasts in the world cannot be from the game country, and so, if Jordyn Weiber was within that top 24 then why shouldn't she be allowed to compete for that medal? Why are we being so unfair? How is this helping to advance the sport which, if anything, has dwindled in popularity? It has grown in talent, so let us reward truly, the most talented.

I love this chart which shows you exactly who qualified for what events: Women's Gymnastics All Around and Individual Events

Not only did Dana Vollmer complete a comeback eight years in the making but she won the gold and set a new world record in the Women's 100m Butterfly on Sunday night. In 2004 at the Athens games, an impressionable 16 year old Vollmer won a relay gold. Four years later, that all changed when Vollmer failing to qualify for the Beijing games.

She says that missing those games forced her to rethink her training and how she felt about swimming, a sport that was once so fun for her. That time must have made all the difference because besides being the first woman to swim a 100m fly in under 56 seconds, she did it all with one of her two swimming caps coming off in the first 50 meters.

Women's 100m Butterfly

rank lane
1      4      Dana Vollmer U.S.A. 55.98 WR
2      7      Lu Ying China 56.87
3      5      Alicia Coutts Australia 56.94
4      6      Sarah Sjostrom Sweden 57.17
5      8      Ilaria Bianchi Italy 57.27
6      3      Jeanette Ottesen Gray Denmark 57.35
7      2      Claire Donahue U.S.A. 57.48
8      1      Ellen Gandy Great Britain 57.26

For anyone who is a fan of U.S. Swimming, I am sure the biggest question that came out of Sunday night was who decided the start order for the Men's 4x100m relay? I do not consider myself an expert in swimming, although I do think I at least know a little bit about just about everything and anything. Even I know that Ryan Lochte should not have swam the anchor leg of that relay. He is not considered to be one of swimming's sprinters; he swims the 200m, the 400m, etc. He does not swim the 50m or the 100m. Looking at the four athletes who raced last night: Nathan Adrian, Michael Phelps, Cullen Jones, and Lochte; Lochte probably should have swam second. Adrian was good in that first position, and Jones does well in the third or fourth position, as does Phelps really. Next time a relay comes around, maybe the U.S. coach could consult with us.

Men's 4x100m Relay

rank lane
1      6      France 3:09.93
2      5      U.S.A. 3:10.38
3      3      Russia 3:11.41
4      4      Australia 3:11.63
5      1      South Africa 3:13.45
6      2      Germany 3:13.52
7      8      Italy 3:14.13
8      7      Belgium 3:14.40

Thirty year old Brendan Hansen said that the bronze medal he won in Sunday's 100 Breaststroke is the shiniest bronze medal he's even seen. He finally got his revenge on longtime Japanese rival Kosuke Kitajima who was shut out of the medals.

“I really wanted to say I was gonna do something and follow through with it,” said the 30-year-old. “That bronze medal tonight did that. This is probably my favorite medal that I’ve ever gotten in the Olympics. And probably the hardest one that I had to work for.”

Men's 100m Breaststroke

rank lane
1      4       Cameron van der Burgh South Africa 58.46 WR
2      6       Christian Sprenger Australia 58.93
3      8       Brendan Hansen U.S.A. 59.49
4      1       David Gyurta Hungary 59.53
5      7       Kosuke Kitajima Japan 59.79
6      3       Brenton Rickard Australia 59.87
7      5       Fabio Scozzoli Italy 59.97
8      2       Giedrius Titenis Lithuania 1:00.84

Allison Schmitt, Michael Phelps' training partner, and some say, the reason he loosened up with his swimming in the past few years picked up a silver medal in the 400m free.

Women's 400m Freestyle

rank lane
1      4      Camille Muffat France 4:01.45 OR
2      5      Allison Schmitt U.S.A. 4:01.77 AR
3      8      Rebecca Adlington Great Britain 4:03.01
4      2      Lotte Friis Denmark 4:03.98
5      1      Frederica Pellegrini Italy 4:04.50
6      3      Coralie Balmy France 4:05.95
7      7      Brittany Maclean Canada 4:06.24
8      6      Lauren Boyle New Zealand 4:06.25

*U.S. Women's Soccer advanced to the semi

Sunday, July 29, 2012

London Olympics 2012: Day 1

Following the Beijing Games, the already legendary Michael Phelps told reporters that he wouldn't compete in the 400m individual medley again. He didn't offer an explanation as to why, he just said he wouldn't do it. Sometime between then and now, Phelps changed his mind, even qualifying with teammate Ryan Lochte. You know what they say though, your first instinct is usually the right one, and that's probably what Phelps was thinking today after his fourth place finish in the final. Phelps teammate, friend, and rival Ryan Lochte confidently took the gold proving that maybe the spotlight will not just be on Phelps anymore. The last time Phelps finished out of the medals was in the 2000 Games in Sydney; he has six more opportunities to earn hardware before he retires at the end of these games. Lochte vows he will be a force to be reckoned with at the 2016 Games in Rio.

Men's 400m IM

rank lane
1      3     Ryan Lochte USA 4:05.18
2      6     Thiago Pereira Brazil 4:08.86
3      4     Kasuke Hagino Japan 4:08.94
4      8     Michael Phelps USA 4:09.28
5      5     Chad le Clos Russia 4:12.42
6      1     Yuya Horihata Japan 4:13.30
7      2     Thomas Fraser Holmes Australia 4:13.49
8      7     Luca Marin Italy 4:14.89

Misty May Treanor and Kerry Walsh Jennings continued their domination in beach volleyball proving that although they contemplated retirement they are still the team to beat. They are now 15-0 in Olympic matches and 30-0 in sets played.

Did anyone notice our amazing Men's Gymnastics team? Not only are these guys ridiculously awesome athletes but they are also not too hard on the eyes. They qualified for the team finals and various members of the team qualified for all around and events finals.

Rhode Island native Elizabeth Beisel won a silver in the 400m individual medley sandwiched between two young Chinese swimmers. Beisel had been the favorite to win gold.

Women's 400m  IM

rank lane
1      5      Ye Shiwen China 4:28.43 World Record
2      4      Elizabeth Beisel USA 4:31.27
3      6      Li Xuanxu China 4:32.91
4      3      Katinka Hosszu Hungary 4:33.49
5      7      Hannah Miley Great Britain 4:34.17
6      1      Stephanie Rice Australia 4:35.49
7      8      Caitlin Leverenz USA 4:35.49
8      2      Mireia Belmonte Garcia Spain 4:35.62

In the Women's 4x100m Relay, Australia set a new Olympic record taking the gold and forcing the Netherlands to settle for silver and the U.S. for bronze respectively.

In more U.S. medal news, Peter Vanderkaay picked up a bronze medal in the Men's 400m free, with Sun Yang from China setting a new Olympic record and winning the gold, and Taehwan Park from Korea taking the silver.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Bachelorette: Emily Makes Her Choice

Emily is still in Curacao and ready to introduce her final two suitors to her family and go on final dates with each of them. Both men ask for Emily's fathers blessing to ask Emily to marry them.

Emily decides while she is on the beach with Jef that she feels so strongly about her relationship with him that she allows him to meet Ricki. Emily says she cannot expect Jef to commit to her if she can't let him meet Ricki.

Upon meeting Ricki and hitting it off with her, Jef describes her as the most beautiful, fun creative, wild six year old ever. Jef is surprisingly good with Ricki getting her to trust him fairly quickly, and the three of them play together in the pool. Ricki even asked Emily if Jef could come back tomorrow, and truthfully, I think Emily's feelings for Jef combined with Ricki's approval sealed the deal. Jef touts about how this is the most excited he has ever been in his whole life. Jef being emotionally mature yet young at heart seems to be a wonderful combination for Emily and her daughter.

It's following this date that Emily decides that Jef is "the one". She meets with Chris Harrison and tells him that she has to let Arie go but that she doesn't know how she is going to do that.

Arie shows up at their final date together at an herb garden and makes a love potion for Emily. Emily shows up late looking upset, and Arie knows something is wrong; although, he is about to be totally caught off guard by what she is about to tell him. She finally musters up enough courage to tell him and says it's nothing that you did or did not do; you're everything, and for so long  I did think it was going to be me and you. Ultimately, she says she has more confidence with Jef. Arie thanks her for sparing the embarrassment and walks away.

On the final day, Emily doesn't know if she will be able to accept a proposal or not from Jef. When Jef arrives she tells him he is the only one who met Ricki and he is the only one there today since she let Arie go the day before. She says that with Jef, her dreams have been fulfilled 1000 times over. She says, "you're everything I've looked for for so long, you're my soul mate. I love you so so much, and I know that you're the one for me.

When it's Jef's turn to talk he tells Emily that, "God puts the right people in our lives when the timing is just right". He tells her that he is grateful that she did not give up on love, even when she could have. Jef once again tells Emily that he loves her and promises that what he is about to ask her is not for weeks, months, years, or even decades; it's a forever thing. That's what he asks Emily to marry him, and I think Emily believed his words when he said forever, and that's why she said yes.

This is a couple that I am actually really happy for, and I think they have the love, respect, and loyalty towards one another to make it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Bachelorette: Emily Daydreams in Curacao

Emily took her final three guys to Curacao for fantasy dates. This is arguably the best final three on any season of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette.

Sean went on the first date with Emily, and shared a letter that he wrote for her daughter Ricki should Sean and Emily be together. He tells Emily for the first time that he is without a doubt in love with her. They do go to the fantasy suite, and they spend time in the hot tub and doing some talking. Emily says that Sean is hot, manly, and that she cannot keep her hands off him. He ends up going home before the night is over; I bet they both need a cold shower.

Jef had the second fantasy date with Emily; he wants them to leave Curacao together and be a couple. They go out on a boat together, and Jef tells Emily that his family approves and his parents want to meet her. Emily says Jef would be a good parent because he is so fun. She says that she could keep Jef out of trouble and he could get her into some trouble. Emily feels like when she is with Jef, it's like no one else is there. He wants to spend every day of life with her like it's his last day.

Jef asked Emily questions, which I think was really smart; it showed that he had been thoughtful about their relationship. He asked where she wanted to live, and I thought it was interesting that she said, wherever you are, especially since she didn't want to move to Texas with Brad. Emily said that the reason that her previous relationships (minus Ricky) didn't work out was because they didn't have the whole package. Jef says he hasn't been able to see the end goal until he met Emily. She tells him that she can picture him there with Ricki.

The card for the fantasy suite arrives and Jef tells Emily he totally understands if she wants to bypass the suite because of the example she wants to set for her daughter. He is so confident that they will be together that he says that every night they have together going forward will be like going to their own personal fantasy suite. At the tree house fantasy suite Emily and Jef start kissing and he tells her that he loves her. It's almost like she wants to say it back to him. They also do not spend the night together.

Arie wants to know on his date with Emily how he would fit into her life. Basically, all they do on their date is kiss. Is this a good thing? Emily offers to move to Scottsdale with Arie if that's where he wants to live. When the fantasy suite card arrives, Emily cannot even give Arie the card because she doesn't trust herself to go to the fantasy suite with him. She says, "God, he's hot!". Emily tells him that he makes her feel like a woman and he says that Emily makes him feel like a man. They never make it to the fantasy suite; they kiss some more, and then part ways for the night.

Sean ends up being the fellow who goes home. He is speechless as he didn't even see it coming. He says he feels stupid and that this is going to hurt him. Emily starts crying, saying that she wanted it to be him so bad, and that she is going to miss him. He tells her before he leaves that he will miss her more than she knows and that he cares about her so much, so if this is best then he hopes that it works out. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Bachelorette: Emily's Season-- Prague Packs a Punch

Emily faced a surprise heading into Prague for the week; she discovered that Arie, who Emily has really liked since the beginning, had dated a producer from the show several years ago. He never told her about it, but, the producer, Cassie who is a friend of Emily's, decided to tell her because Emily's relationship with Arie has become so serious.

Emily invited Arie on the one on one date with her knowing full well that he was keeping this from her. It was initially a big deal to Emily that he had dated her friend, the producer, but she decided that because of the nature of their relationship and because of the way, she, herself, felt about Arie, that it didn't matter. She quickly got over her bad feelings, because her good feelings for him were so strong. Ari tells Emily he loves her and wants her to come meet his family.

John and Emily go on a one on one date to the John Lennon wall, and end up having dinner in a dungeon. John reveals to Emily that his last breakup was a bad one because his girlfriend ended up cheating on him. It's why he is so cautious now; he tells Emily he would love for her to meet his family. Following her date with John.........

Sean ran through the streets of Prague looking for Emily. What he did was a bit corny, but there were also elements of it that were really sweet. He finds her "alone" (cause she's not really alone; there's a camera crew) , and asks her what she is doing there by herself. This is the part of Sean that I really like; I love guys who are caring like that. She told Sean what a great surprise it was for him to be there, and they ended up going to a restaurant to talk. This was followed by some intense kissing in the streets of Prague. Woah! Emily looked pretty happy.

Then there is this awkward three on one date which literally ends up being the kiss of death for single dad Doug. Emily pulls Doug aside to basically let him know that she has to send him home; he gives her this awkward kiss. He then apologizes and she says that she likes him but doesn't see their relationship progressing.

Also included in this date is more hot Emily and Sean one on one time.

Chris pouts to Emily that he is upset that he didn't get a one on one date. It makes him look very juvenile to be doing this at this stage.

Jef wraps up Emily's week in Prague with a fun one on one date. They go to a puppet store together where they pick out puppets. Emily says she can see that Jef is so ready to be a dad. They put on their own impromptu puppet show in a library and Jef reveals to Emily that he is in love with her (through his puppet of course).

Chris interrupted the rose ceremony to talk to Emily; he apologized and told her that he's ready to be the man that she and Ricki deserve. Ultimately, it must have worked because Chris stayed and John was sent home.