Michael Phelps was outstanding winning that gold in the 400 meter individual medley! And he set a new world record at that, too. He's only just begun on a record quest to be the most decorated Olympian ever!
Then there is Park Tae-hwan of South Korea who wins the 400 meters freestyle. Four years ago, he was a nervous 14 year old at the Athens Olympics; his jittery nerves caused him to fall into the pool before the start, leading to his disqualification. As if being a teenager wasn't hard enough, imagine having your most embarrassing moment televised in front of millions! And from that humiliation on the world stage, this teenager has returned with a vengeance and wins the gold. Now that's an Olympic comeback legend! His winning time is second only to the record set by the Aussie torpedo, Ian Thorpe.
But my favorite Olympic moment so far has to be the men's beach volleyball game between Americans Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers versus Latvians Martins Plavins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs. The Americans were the gold medal favorites. In their previous match prior to the Olympics, the Americans destroyed the Latvians in half an hour. The Americans are the world champions and are ranked number one while the Latvians are ranked 23 out of 24! Yet, in a stunning David vs Goliath showdown, the young Latvians beat the Americans in two sets! And boy, did they do a fantastic job!
Plavins and Samoilovs were the underdogs, but I rooted for them, because of their indomitable spirit! They showed the world that it wasn't the fame of the competitors nor the size of their country, but it is the skills and spirit of the athletes that wins the game! It was a very exciting and spirited game indeed!
And their win is a truly memorable Olympic moment.
*UPDATE 11 Aug 2008, 2:00 PM: Olympic Moment from Day 2, the 4 x 100meters free relay swim.
What makes this event an Olympic moment? Because the Americans were the underdogs, their team--even with Michael Phelps--was considered second rate compared to the French and the Australians. What made it even more intense, was French swimmer Alain Bernard who cockily predicted, "The Americans? We're going to smash them. That's what we came here for."
Now, I don't have anything against the French. In fact, I luv French fries and French toast and the French horn. But when a smug Frenchman brags about destroying American athletes, it just fires me up to cheer for the Americans so much more. It was an incredible race. Right from the start the French and the Americans battled for the lead. Yet even with Michael Phelps, the French anchor, Alain Bernard, led the last leg of the relay! The Americans were second, behind by half a body length. That's a tremendous gap!
With the finish just seconds away, it would seem the French would win. The American anchor thought, "no way" could he catch up to Bernard and save Phelps' Olympic quest. Then he thought, "That's ridiculous, this is an Olympic Games. You have to go for it." And he did!
Digging deep, the American anchor swam the fastest leg in relay history, reaching the finish before Alain Bernard, and setting a new world record!
And who was this American anchor who bent the French over and gave them a sound spanking? It was none other than former University of Texas swimmer, Jason Lezak! Snooze said it best, "The only thing better than the American team winning was France losing." Ha! The trash talking French got smoked!
Truly, another magnificent Olympic moment!