In September of 2009, I was driving down Route 66 toward St. Louis. My friend who was sitting in the passenger seat was fiddling with her phone, trying to get the results of the vote on which city (Chicago was included) would get the honor of hosting the 2016 Olympics. We were both shocked when Chicago was knocked out first. Shock turned to happiness when we realized that we wouldn’t have to put up with traffic jams and all the other stuff that goes along with the event. Rio “won” and is now spending billions of dollars hosting the 2016 Olympic Games.
I am a sucker for this stuff, and have already put in about 20 hours this week on the couch, watching stuff I would never normally care about. Like a six hour bicycle race that almost made me late for an appointment, as I had to see how it ended. In a heartbreaker, the guy who was leading all the way lost in the last ½ mile.
There are great stories every day about athletes that work for their entire lives to try to get up on that podium and hear their country’s anthem.
Michael Phelps, once a wild teenager- drug busts and DUI busts- keeps on winning medals and is now the heart and soul of the American swim team. Who doesn’t believe that he will be back to win more in 2020?
Mo Farah, born in Somalia, runs for Great Britain, lives and trains in Portland, Oregon, won the 10,000 meter run in the last 100 meters, after being knocked down in the beginning of the race, getting up and calmly following two Kenyans for about 9500 meters and then destroyed all their allusions of winning by calmly turning on the jets and smoking them in the last backstretch.
Tori Bowie, born in Mississippi, abandoned by her mother when she was two, raised by her grandparents ( kind of the same story as Simone Biles) who is set today to run the finals of the 100 meter dash and possibly become the “Worlds Fastest Woman”)
Anthony Erwin, and American swimmer who won a gold medal in the 50 meter dash in the 2000 Olympics, stopped swimming for 7 years, started training again and made the team for this years games. He again won the gold medal in the 50 meter dash this week!
Simone Manuel, 20 years old form Houston Texas, became the first African American Swimmer to win Olympic gold. In total she won 2 silver and 2 gold this week, and is an inspiration for young African American girls the world over. Just this morning, I watched a piece on the local news about a swim club on the south side of Chicago. They interviewed a girl who wanted to be “Just like Simone” and go to the Olympics.
Then, there is Lilly King, a 19 year old swimmer who called out the Russian swimmer swimming in the lane next to her, who had already been banned twice in the past for doping, calling her a cheater. She then came out and beat the Russian girl by one second, winning gold in the 100 meter breaststroke, adding another gold yesterday in the 4×100 relay.
There were many reactions to her outspoken press conferences, the most telling being Michael Phelps saying that he doubts that he ever swam a race where all of the swimmers were ”clean.” Justin Gatlan, an American track and field star who is running in the 100 meter dash today, and who was banned twice in his career for using banned substances, said: “I don’t even know who Lilly King is.” “I have come back and done what I needed to do.”
Finally, in a remarkable display of sportsmanship, Hope Solo, the goalie on the American women’s soccer team, after the Swedish team came up with a tactic to beat the best team in the world:
“We played a creative game. We had many opportunities on goal. We showed a lot of heart. We came back from a goal down. I’m very proud of this team.” “We played a bunch of cowards. The best team did not win today. I strongly, firmly believe that.”
“Sweden dropped back. They didn’t want to open play. They didn’t want to pass the ball around. They didn’t want to play great soccer, entertaining soccer. It was a combative game. A physical game. Exactly what they wanted. Exactly what their game plan was. We had that style of play when Pia was our coach. I think it was very cowardly. But they won, they’re moving on. And we’re going home,”
So I guess a totally legal game plan doesn’t sit well with her if that game plan causes her team to lose. Maybe the American coaches should lock her up and not let her do any more interviews!!