Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Olympic Beat

There's a certain order in the universe, a rhythm in life; sometimes you can dance to it; and sometimes you miss a beat. On Day 10, Aug 19 in China, some athletes kept the beat, while others got beat down.

In the balance beam, Shawn Johnson finally gets the gold while Nastia Liukin wins silver. China's Cheng Fei is knocked down to bronze. The men's parallel bars and high bar final also took place.
Come on, Mr. Frodo. I can't carry it for you... but I can carry you.

I kid! I kid! On the men's side, a surprising silver medal went to US gymnast Jonathan Horton after an incredible performance in the high bar event. Fabian Hambuechen gets the bronze in the high bar. Zou Kai wins gold in the high bar while Li Xiaopeng wins gold in parallel bars. Still so many falls, lots of top gymnasts lost their balance and kept making mistakes. And that's what separated the medal winners from the rest. Only a few kept up a great rhythm and smooth flow.

And speaking of rhythm, the men's trampoline final took place with some unexpected results.

How about them Canadians? In the high flying world of trampoline, Canadian Jason Burnett pulls off a stunning routine to land a place on the podium. He performed ten tricks that set the bar high in the competition.

Jason Burnett was inspired by another Canadian gymnast, Mathieu Turgeon, who won bronze at the Sydney Olympics and is the husband of women's trampoline silver medalist, Karen Cockburn. Clearly, Jason Burnett had the best and hardest routine. In the end, however, the judges decided that China's Lu Chunlong turned his tricks well enough to the win gold. Still, Jason Burnett claims the silver, leaving China's Dong Dong with the bronze.

That's right, mofos! I beat Dong Dong real good! I came on top of him! In your face!

And Canada does it again! Another Canadian man comes between two Chinese men!

This time, Canadian diver Alexandre Despatie soars to silver, spoiling China's hopes for a 1st and 2nd place win. China's He Chong, the current world diving champion, wins gold, and Qin Kai settles for bronze.

Not only do they share the podium, but apparently the same hairstylist as well.

Quick, somebody call Rene Fris!

And some fantastic surprises in track and field, the sport that defines the summer games.

In the 400m race, Christine Ohuruogu wins Britain's first ever gold medal in track. She beat out American favorite Sanya Richards who led the race but burned out at the end to bronze. Shericka Williams of Jamaica wins silver.

There is drama between Sanya Richards and Christine Ohuruogu. Richards has said that Ohuruogu is fortunate to be here, because Ohuruogu was banned from the sport. It's not that Ohuruogu ever tested positive for doping, but rather, she missed 3 doping tests in the off season. British rules ban doping offenders from the games, and 3 missed doping tests count as a doping offence. An arbitration panel eventually allowed Ohuruogu to compete. Still, Richards was Ohuruogu's most vocal critic; no doubt because Richards was dominating the 400m track since 2006, but she failed to qualify in 2007, when Ohuruogu won that World championship. No one expected this win, but that's what's great about the Olympics. You never know who's going to win. And tonight, Sanya Richards is beat out of first and second place to third. And it's doubtful the rivalry and the drama will be over between Sanya Richards and Christine Ohuruogu.

Another unexpected winner was American Dawn Harper in the 100m hurdles.
Gold medal favorite American Lolo Jones led the 100m hurdles and was about to win the gold, when suddenly, she stumbled on the 9th hurdle!It was the second to the last hurdle, and it cost Lolo Jones the race. Maybe she would've seen that hurdle better if she had taken off her shades.

Dawn Harper, who barely made the US track team, wins the race! Dawn Harper's legendary track and field coach, Bob Kersee, couldn't be prouder. The great thing about Dawn Harper's win is that she wasn't even considered a medal contender. She was ignored by the media while all the other prettier American favorites got great coverage. Now, she's finally getting some recognition for all her hard work.

In the high jump, Russia's
Andrey Silnov wins the gold.

Another Russian, Yaroslav Rybakov, gets the bronze. But the big surprise is Germaine Mason of Britain winning the silver. Mason, whose English father lives in Jamaica while his Jamaican mother lives in London, won the first silver in the high jump event for Great Britain in 100 years! The last time Britain won the silver was in the London Olympics of 1908! An injury last year led to a poor performance and being dropped from the UK's athletic funding. But tonight, he put in a solid, silver performance that brought Great Britain it's first track medal of the Beijing Olympics.

But my favorite Olympic moment of the day has to be that of Henry Cejudo. He beat out his opponent to win the US first ever freestyle wrestling gold medal in the 55kg wt class. And when he won, he couldn't believe that he was actually living the American dream.

His parents were illegal immigrants, and he moved around a lot as a child. He grew up poor and experienced some hard times. Until his stay at the US Training Center in Colorado, he has never had his own room. His mother crossed the border illegally with the help of smugglers. She left his father because he kept going in and out of prison. She worked many jobs to support her family on her own. His older brother set the high school record for wrestling in Arizona and Henry Cejudo followed him into the sport. His hard work and commitment paid off, earning a spot on the US Olympic team.

The 5ft 4in tall 21 year old wins the gold medal by beating out the best fighters in the world. He beat Tomohiro Matsunaga of Japan. Matsunaga had beat out the current champion, Russia's Besik Kudukhov. Henry Cejudo had been looking forward to facing the Russian defending champion.
"I would have liked to have had the Russian," said Henry Cejudo. "But the Japanese dominated him. So I like to dominate..."

And by the looks of things, he sure does!


  1. My heart broke for Lolo Jones. I wanted her to win. I was also excited about Alexander Despatie - yum! Good for him!!!

    And finally Shawn Johnson got her gold. I was so happy.

  2. Have they held the muff diving competition yet?

  3. How much longer has the olympics got to go

  4. Henry Cejudos outfit looks very unfortunate in the first photo of him.

    The second photo of him, squishing his opponents face into the mat is much better. Nice arse.

  5. Snooze, LoLo Jones losing was a shock! It's every hurdler's fear to trip on the hurdle, and it happens. Unfortunately, it happened at the Olympics for her.

    Alex Despatie proved that he is still one of the best divers in the world.

    Shawn Johnson proved she was the best on the balance beam. Still, I'm not happy with that Chinese chick's high score.

    MJ, if you're referring to the synchronized swimming, the duets have just finished but the team sports are starting! Imagine all those legs and muffs in the air for your entertainment!

    Beast, it's winding down now. Less than a week left. Then it's back to crappy tv shows.

    CP, he's wearing a cup. Wrestlers wear them so that when they're teabagging each other on the mat, there's less chance of a bite injury!

  6. Ouch! Good call!

    Did you hear about the freak from some rather country who bit his opponent in the neck in wrestling or boxing or something?

    I didn't think Mike Tyson was allowed at the Olympics due to fear of doping and the loss of ears.

  7. CP, they say he's from Tajikistan and he won't face additional sanctions other than being disqualified from this Olympics boxing bout.

    They said that the blood on the Kazakhstan's shoulder was from the cut on his face; the Tajikistan was still wearing his mouth piece when he went vampire on the Kazakh. No broken skin.

    Maybe he was hungry...or wanted to leave a luv bite.

  8. True. Scary stuff though.

    If he wants to show some appreciation he should learn not to use so much teeth.

  9. Are you offering to teach him lessons?

    Wear a cup, just in case!

  10. Thank you for sharing that story about Henry Cejudo! I love when they come up from bad times to be that successful.

  11. Tara, that's why I luv the Olympics! It's so inspiring to learn about these athletes, and knowing how hard their lives were make their win so much more meaningful.

  12. I did feel for Lolo Jones, I was happy for the other racers but I just couldn't believe that the cameras were following her around when she was clearly trying to lose them. They already had their pounding on the track shot; why did they need more? Wrong.

    I love Alexandre Despatie. He's working his new shorter hair quite nicely.

  13. Dinah, that was just a bad break for Lolo...like some of the other great athletes. I still think she has a chance for greatness.

    I luv that Alex Despatie came back from everyone doubting his skills because of injury to win a silver medal, upsetting a Chinese hope for gold and silver.