Monday, August 18, 2008

Olympic Surprise and Ties and Highs

Day 9, Aug 18 in China, brought more exciting and unexpected news at the Beijing Olympics.

A race that caught my attention was the track cycling team pursuit. And it's not because I know anything about the sport, but rather it was the uniform that caught my attention. Check out the sci fi headgear.

Step away from the forklift, Ripley! They're not Aliens!

It's the bronze winners from New Zealand.
Denmark claims the silver in the race.

And Baby Spice, Posh Spice, Sporty Spice, and Ginger Spice make an appearance!

I kid! I kid! It's the gold medal winning team from Great Britain.
That's right, mofo! Nobody rides a bike in circles better than us!

And news from my favorite guilty pleasure sport: Girls! Girls! Girls! on Trampolines! And these girls bounced high!

He Wenna wins gold for China.

And Canada's Karen Cockburn wins silver. That's right. Canada has given us Beavers, Poon, and now Cockburn.

Remember when ties meant sharing the medal? Apparently, not anymore in gymnastics. Two ties occurred and both for the gold!

Nastia Liukin tied He Kexin in the uneven bars scores. But the rules had been changed by the Olympics committee so that even if there is a tie, there can be only one winner. Now, a computer program picks the winner based on scores. And it was decided that He Kexin wins the gold. Personally, I thought Nastia Liukin had a better routine and she stuck her landing. He Kexin didn't stick her landing. Still, it all comes down to the judges, and apparently, it was an Australian judge's low score of Nastia that cost the gold.

That's right, I'm giving you a dirty look Australia!

The other gymnastic tie for gold happened in the men's vault. This time, it was between Leszek Blanik of Poland and Thomas Bouhail of France. Each gymnast does two vaults, then their scores from those are averaged. The tie breaker rule is simple. The winner in this case was simply the one who had the higher score on the first vault. Marian Dragulescu of Romania was favored to win the gold, and he did have a lead in his first vault. But he decided to do a difficult second vault and he landed on all 4s, ending his medal chances.

Leszek Blanik becomes the first non Chinese man to win a gymnastics gold at the Beijing Olympics, and he gets Poland's first gold medal in gymnastics. And when he won, he didn't pull out a flag or run around the stage playing up to the crowd. Instead, he did something more meaningful and more significant. He reached into his bag and pulled out a picture of his 3 year old son, Artur, and kissed it. This is his last competition before he retires, and what a great way to end a career!

The surprising second place winner tonight was Thomas Bouhail. He was brought in as a substitute for another French gymnastic star who was injured. He cried on the podium when he got the silver because he couldn't believe that he actually won a medal. Russia's Anton Golotsutskov takes the bronze in the vault.

But my favorite event of the night took place with hot girls skillfully working poles and bouncing really high.

I'm talking about the women's pole vaulting of course. And no one works the pole like Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia.

Yelena Isinbayeva is the Athens gold medalist in pole vaulting. She also holds the world record, and she blew away the competition. In an amazing show of skill, she breaks her old record of 5.04m and sets a new world record at 5.05m!

What an incredible feat! And it was such a pleasure to watch her express her joy at setting the new world record and win that gold medal.


  1. This past Saturday I watched that sport where the athletes sit in that boat that looks like a stick. I can't think of the name of it, but it was interesting to see how the races this year are so close. Just when you think you've figured out who's won, they fool ya.

  2. This'll be a long one. Let's start from the top.

    Ginger: "Oh pack it in Mel! Everyone can see your salute"

    I'm sure Karen Cockburn is actually a born Londoner who grew up in Cockfoster. That's right, Cockfoster (I always let out a little giggle when I hear that on the Tube)

    Am I the only one thinking maybe those Chinese are a little too lucky? Hmmmm?

    Leszek Blanik (no relation to the shoe god) can show me to the mens vault anytime.

    Be careful, Yelena Isinbayeva can beat you to a pulp with her little finger. Fierce!

    That last photo looks insane. Just begging for someone creative to start doing captions.

  3. Exhaustion kicked in and I've given up on the Olympics. Thank goodness for your highlights and recaps. I still feel like a part of it.

  4. Tara, there are so many sports in the Summer games that it's hard to keep track. But it's kind of nice to discover a new sport and get a thrill out of watching a race. Like the canoe races, where they row while on one knee! What's that all about? It's bad enough paddling but to do it on your knee?

    CP, my first thought when I heard Karen Cockburn's name was, 'Hey, get with that Brit swimmer Liam Tancock and ask how to keep from getting burned!' :)

    The Chinese have the home court advantage. All that cheering gives them a boost, but at the same time, the judges get intimidated or are inexperienced, afraid to give them the low scores.

    Leszek Blanik is, unfortunately, retiring, so he'll be unable to show you the vault anytime soon.

    And Yelena Isinbayeva can beat me with with all her fingers and jump my pole anytime she wants ;)

    Snooze, I'm glad you like them. It's almost over now. My fave events are the track&field sports. But I also get a kick out of watching some sports that I never even knew existed! And I luv it when a nobody comes out of nowhere and stuns the favorites!

  5. That's unfortunate, I've been looking for that vault for years. I hear that's where they keep all the good ones.

    Like Snooze I really enjoy your Olympics Updates, they are awesome.

    I can't read them at work though as I laugh too loudly when reading them.

  6. CP, I'm sure the other gymnasts will gladly show you the vault.

    I'm glad you enjoy the updates as well; I'm having a lot of fun with them, too. 4 years is a long time to wait for the next summer I'm enjoying it while I can...

  7. Exactly!

    I'm getting some Olympic 49'er search action over on my blog. So I'm doing another post about it which will be up in a couple of hours.

    Milk it for everything it's worth.

    I do hope they will lock me in there and throw away the key.

  8. CP, that 49er story is going to be an Olympic legend. This is as real as reality tv can get! And the most exciting thing is that you can see the athletes real emotions when they win or lose...

    I'm sure they'll make your vault stay as comfortable as possible.