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Archive for the ‘Olympics’ Category

Sprinting Like It’s 1928

In Olympics on August 24, 2012 at 6:47 pm

By Ryan A. Swanson

Did you know the United States is at a historic slow?  It’s true.  With the Olympics now over for a couple of weeks, the Games are fading from the US news-cycle.  Gossipy pieces about what American Olympic stars plan to do next seem to be all that remain.  Ryan Lochte might or might not be the next Bachelor, if you hadn’t heard.

But one aspect of the Olympic Games that has been underdiscussed (here’s one of the few articles on the topic, although it includes the 800m as well) is just how historically dismal the performance of the US men’s sprinters was.  For just the second time since the beginning of the modern games in 1896, American men won only a single medal, combined, in the 100m, 200m, and 400m contests.  The 2012 men matched their counterparts from 1928 as the worst ever.  And at least in 1928 that single medal was gold.  This time Justin Gatlin’s bronze medal in the 100m was the only hardware for the United States’ fleetest men.

By way of context, the United States has dominated the 100m, 200m, and 400m for the past 100 years, winning 49%, 64%, and 57% respectively of all possible medals through 2008 (not including the boycotted games of 1980) in the men’s sprinting events.  That’s 129 medals for American men in these three events alone over the course of Olympic history.  As recently as the 2000-2008 games, the United States had won 11 out of a possible 12 medals in the 400m race.  How times change. Read the rest of this entry »

The “Good Games” of London 2012: French Edition

In Olympics on August 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm

By Lindsay Sarah Krasnoff

French Olympians are having a “good Games” in London this summer. As I write, they have tallied eight gold, nine silver, and eleven bronze medals, thanks in large part to swimming and judo events. The North American public is perhaps more familiar with French team sports. Certainly, many now know about Les Bleus if not for their 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship wins, then for the Zidane head butt during the 2006 WC final, the spectacular way the team self-destructed at the 2010 South Africa tournament, or the continued controversies surrounding this summer’s Euro. In contrast, the women’s national football team provides an increasingly compelling narrative. Les Bleues play Canada to determine the bronze medal at London 2012, after a fourth-place finish at the 2011 women’s World Cup (including a semi-final match against the United States). In the domain of basketball, France was the largest source of foreign labor in the NBA for the 2011-12 season, contributing nine players to team rosters throughout the league.[1]  Both the men’s and women’s teams progressed into the Olympic semi-finals, and have been strong contenders since the 2000 Sydney Games, when the women placed 5th and the men took home the silver medal. There are other team sports triumphs, such as the handball and rugby squads, which have won international tournaments and honors over the past two decades.[2] But aside from the legions of storied skiers (Jean-Claude Killy anyone?), it has been a long time since the world had memorable French athletes in other individual sports disciplines. Until now. Read the rest of this entry »

Women’s Soccer @2012Olympics #USA-CAN

In Olympics, Soccer, Uncategorized on August 7, 2012 at 8:11 pm

By Rwany Sibaja

The Twitter-verse was ablaze for a few hours on Monday as it became clear that the USA-Canada match in women’s soccer was something special.

  • @NathanLoomis: USA-Canada is intense
  • @JorgeMondacaFOX: Think Americans don’t care about soccer? Check out the trending charts – Rapinoe, Sinclair, and many other soccer terms in top 10

Like a boxing match, both sides delivered body blows for 120 minutes at Old Trafford. The Americans countered each goal by Canadian legend Christine Sinclair, whose hat trick on any other day would have put away most rivals. Instead, Megan Rapinoe, whose pinpoint passing on crosses and set pieces flustered the Canadian defense, scored two goals (one of which can be considered the goal of the tournament, the other a true “Olympic” goal off of a corner kick) to keep the US in the game.

Doug Mills/The New York Times Read the rest of this entry »

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