The 2012 Summer Olympics have begun and our weekly features are designed to celebrate the majesty of sportsmanship and competition at its purest form. Along those lines, our top five list consists of our top non-medal Olympic moments.
5. Jamaican bobsled team, Calgary 1998 – Not a summer Olympic moment, but a story of a group of athletes who dedicated themselves to a cause and kept at it. More importantly, it resulted in a movie starring John Candy. Oh, how I miss him.
4. John Stephen Akhwari, Mexico City 1968 – After a fall that resulted in a fracture in his leg during the marathon, this Tanzanian runner refused to quit and finally crossed the finish line after the winner had already finished over an hour earlier.
3. Kerstin Palm, Tokyo 1964 through Seoul 1988 – The Swedish fencer was the first woman to compete in seven, yes seven Olympic games. What drove her to keep going for so long? The love of the sport. Palm never medaled, yet returned over and over again just to keep competing.
2. Lawrence Lemieux, Seoul 1988 – While in second place during a rowing competition, Lemieux saw two athletes from Singapore competing in another race simultaneously capsize in rough waters. Lemieux quickly steered off the route and saved both men from drowning, sacrificing his place in the history books to help his fellow athlete.
1. Derek and Jim Redmond, Barcelona 1992 – The most inspiring and memorable Olympic moment ever, especially to a dad like me, came when injury plagued British sprinter Derek Redmond snapped his hamstring in the middle of a race and his father, Jim pushed past security in order to race to his son’s side and support him across the finish line. Technically, Derek was disqualified, but it was a family victory in the end.
This week’s cool-ass thing you will never own is a 2008 Olympic medal. I looked through a lot of medal designs and noted two things. First, that winter Olympic medals seemed to be consistently cooler looking and second that the 2008 model of the ultimate athletic trophy was the best looking in its awesome simplicity. Maybe if Michael Phelps’ career tanks even faster, he’d be willing to sell you one of the many he owns on the cheap.
This week’s sign you are a nerd is that you watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics for the purpose of attempting to name the countries upon seeing the flags they are carrying before the announcers can say their name.
This week’s nemesis is China. Yes, they designed a pretty swell medal for the 2008 games, but on top of their less than stellar record on human rights, they seem to dominate the medal count every Olympic Games. There are just so damn many of them.
This week’s lesson learned is to stretch. Warming up for some exercise? Getting ready to take the floor, court, field or other assorted arena of athletic competition? Think you are thoroughly stretched out and limber? Do it a little extra just to be sure so the day doesn’t end with a snap in one of your tendons.
This week’s analysis is a simple equation for the weighted medal count system if you so prefer to keep track that way (which won’t help, China is still leading):
Finally, this week’s Star wars quote (which is completely random since they didn’t reference the Olympics much in either trilogy) is, “Tell uncle if he gets a translator, be sure it speaks Bacci.”