Posted tagged ‘Olympic Games’

Will Olympics Ratings Drop Now that Michael Phelps is Done?

August 18, 2008

That’s the question being asked at NBC. Ratings for this year’s Olympics have been some of the greatest of all time. NBC believes that the Beijing games are on pace to be the most-watched Olympics ever.

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

From the Associated Press:

Interest in the Olympics is nearly certain to wane, but NBC can already claim its own medal. The games averaged 30 million prime-time viewers over its first eight nights — “American Idol” numbers — and NBC Universal said it has earned more than $10 million since the games began from new advertisers eager to climb on board.

It’s also the first real sign of that broadcast television can recover from its debilitating strike of last winter and produce an event that draws the nation together.

There’s still a good chance NBC will be able to beat the 24.6 million average prime-time viewership of the Athens Games, and the 21.5 million in Sydney in 2000. I can, for one, say that I have been glued to my television set throughout the games this year, unlike in year’s past. Michael Phelps has been a large part of this (both of Phelps photo finishes were unbelievable) but there have been some other great events and stories that have played out which have kept my attention. Here’s to week two being just as good as the first. Thoughts?

Photo Finish: Michael Phelps Wins Record Tying Seventh Gold Medal

August 16, 2008

Michael Phelps has tied Mark Spitz all time record of seven gold medals in a single Olympic Games with his victory tonight in the 100 meter butterfly. In what has to be the closest race in Olympic swimming history, Phelps won the race by .01 seconds in a time of 50.58, barely edging out Milorad Cavic of Serbia.

From the New York Times:

Michael Phelps has caught Mark Spitz, 36 years after Spitz’s record haul of seven gold medals at the Munich Games. Now it may take only a day for Spitz to be left behind.

This was Phelps’ toughest race yet, but when he touched the wall, he had his 13th career gold medal, elevating his own record set Friday with a victory in the 200-meter individual medley.

Phelps is finished with individual races in Beijing. Now the eighth gold medal is somewhat out of his control; he’ll stand on the deck as a cheerleader for his teammates’ legs of his last event, the 400 medley relay, on Sunday morning.

What a race! Phelps had to come from behind and won in as close a race as there could have possibly been. Now, with one race remaining, Phelps is on the doorstep of history. Thoughts?

Another Spanish Olympic Team Makes Racist Gestures in Photo

August 15, 2008

After a great summer of winning, Spanish athletic teams seem to have gotten themselves in quite a mess over the past week. A picture recently discovered on the website of the Spanish Tennis Federation shows the nation’s Federation Cup team making an eye-slant gesture, according to a report in London’s Telegraph.

Spanish Tennis Federation

Credit: Spanish Tennis Federation

From the article:

A second group of Spanish Olympic athletes has been photographed making “slit-eyed” gestures, threatening to overshadow the Beijing Games with a row over racial stereotyping. The latest photo to emerge shows Spanish women tennis players pulling the pose, apparently in anticipation of their Federation Cup match against China in April.

The latest image appears to show players in Spain’s Federation Cup team doing the “slit-eyed” gesture along with members of their support staff. There is no suggestion that they intended to cause offense.

It was apparently taken after the team defeated Italy in the quarter-finals of the competition – the leading team contest for women tennis players – in Febraury. Wine glasses are visible on the table in front of the party.

The photo is still visible on the official website of the Spanish Tennis Federation. It’s hard to imagine what must be going through the minds of these players right now and why they did this in the first place. I know that some are offended by this, and some aren’t. But the worst part of all is that these two photos will be what is remembered about the Spanish athletes from this Olympic Games.

Nastia Liukin Edges Shawn Johnson For Gymnastics Gold

August 15, 2008

Nastia Liukin edged teammate Shawn Johnson for the all-around gold in women’s gymnastics tonight in an intense matchup that lived up to its much hyped billing.

From Associated Press:

Liukin finished with 63.325 points, a mere six-tenths ahead of Johnson, the reigning world champion who beat Liukin at the U.S. championships and Olympic trials only a few weeks ago.

Liukin paced back and forth as Johnson competed on floor, the final competitor of the day, clapping as her teammate floated high in the air. In the end, it was Liukin who soared. When Johnson’s score was posted and Liukin saw she was the winner tears filled her eyes. Her father and coach Valeri grabbed her in a bearhug, squeezing her tight for several minutes.

Valeri Liukin was a double gold medalist for the Soviet Union 20 years ago, but came up achingly short in a rivalry with his own teammate in the all-around.

This is the first time that two American’s went 1-2 in the all-around competition. For China, it was the first disappointment on the gymnastics floor in the 2008 Olympic Games. The Chinese won both the men’s and women’s overall team titles, and Yang Wei won the men’s all-around gold.

U.S. Gymnastics Delay Sparks Dispute: Who’s To Blame?

August 14, 2008

Did they or didn’t they? There have been reports today that stadium staff, during last nights women’s team gymnastics final, distracted Alicia Sacramone so much that it caused her to make mistakes that ruined the teams hopes of an Olympic gold medal.

From the Associated Press:

Alicia Sacramone admitted nerves got the better of her in the women’s team final against China, USA Gymnastics distanced itself the from remarks made by Martha Karolyi, the team coordinator.

Karolyi said immediately after the US loss to China that officials at Beijing’s National Indoor Stadium disrupted Sacramone’s beam routine by delaying her performance for an extended period, breaking her concentration.

“First they called her name up, then they did not even put her name up even though the Chinese had finished … (it was) totally unusual holding,” she said.

“She was mentally prepared and then she had a mental break, then after not doing the job, the beam, on the floor exercise her concentration was bothered.”

Sacramone not only ell off the balance beam, she also slipped during the floor exercise, opening the way for the Chinese to win the gold medal. Karolyi insisted the US team would have won gold if Sacramone had not become unsettled.

Whether or not this is true has yet to be determined, and it may never be solved. The fact of the matter is that mistakes were made throughout the evening and in the end, the US ended up with the silver. I did not watch much of this, but from what I saw, China was the better team. They had the poise and professionalism which was needed to win the gold and they executed to near perfection throughout the night.

Although they took the silver, we should all be proud of this accomplishment for the team overall. It’s not easy to win a medal of any color at the Olympics. Thoughts?

Michael Phelps Wins Third Gold Medal

August 12, 2008

He’s done it again. Three for three in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games with three world records. Michael Phelps has won the 200 meter men’s freestyle in a world record time of 1:42.96. Phelps was expected to dominate this event, and dominate he did for his 9th career gold medal.

From ESPN:

Michael Phelps won his third gold medal and record-tying ninth of his career Tuesday, breaking his own world record in the 200-meter freestyle at the Beijing Olympics.

He cruised to the wall nearly 2 seconds ahead of silver medalist Park Tae-hwan of South Korea, who finished in 1:44.85. American Peter Vanderkaay earned the bronze in 1:45.14.

Phelps’ ninth gold medal tied him with four others, including Mark Spitz and track star Carl Lewis, for most career golds.

Phelps is attempting to break Mark Spitz record of gold medals in one Olympics. In winning his seven gold medals, Spitz set world records in each of his races at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Phelps seems to be on his way but will have a few tough races ahead of him. Can he do it? Thoughts?