Here’s guest blogger Jill’s wrap-up from the Olympic pool. We’re happy to report Jill has agreed to join us as a contributor. She is looking forward to football season. (And so are we!)
Sadly, Olympic swimming is now over and this will be my last blog post on the greatest Olympic sport in existence. Yes, I can feel your collective disappointment and hear your cries of dismay all the way in Pittsburgh and I am right there with you. And we are not alone. The entire country of Australia is wallowing in despair with us – Australia won only one gold (in the women’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay), making these Olympics the first time an Australian has failed to win an individual gold since 1976. Indeed, Australia (again, the entire country) is so disappointed in its lack of bling that its Olympic federation has announced that it will conduct an independent review of Australia’s sub-par performance in the 2012 Olympic swimming events. Swimming Australia president David Urquhart said in a statement that, “This is not a time for blame and scapegoating, this is an opportunity to make the changes required to rise to the international challenge.” Why do I get the feeling that those changes will involve quite a lot of blame and scapegoating?
In other news, Michael Phelps, ended the last week of his Olympic swimming career much differently than the week started – on a high note. While Phelps began the week by failing to medal in the 400 individual medley, he concluded it with two silver medals and four golds, including one in the men’s 4 x 100 meter medley relay, the last Olympic event he will ever swim (as long as he does not go all Brett Favre on us). And, as if that was not enough, Phelps was called back to the pool to receive a lifetime achievement award after setting the record for winning the most Olympic medals in the history of the Olympics. It was not even close with Phelps shattering the record of 18 medals (much like he shattered world record after world record throughout his swimming career), by earning 22 Olympic medals in three Olympics. In commemoration of this achievement, Phelps was given a trophy which read, “To Michael Phelps, the best Olympic athlete of all time.” It was a pretty special moment. But, I have to just take a moment to say this – what is up with giving Michael Phelps a silver trophy? I mean, silver? In honor of someone winning the most medals ever as an Olympic athlete, you give them a silver trophy? If ever a moment called for gold, I would say that this is it. But, that’s just me.
It would seem that other feats of the aquatic nature would pale in comparison to what Phelps has pulled off during these games but there was enough impressiveness (is that a word?) to go around. For example, 15-year-old Kate Ledeckey killed the 800-meter freestyle – I mean killed it – winning the gold and beating the silver medalist by over four seconds while setting an American record. The 800 free is no joke – it is probably one of the most grueling of the women’s swimming events – and for a fifteen-year old to win it is, well, pretty darn cool. (Try not to be too intimidated by my eruditeness.) Missy Franklin made plenty of headlines herself, winning four gold medals and a bronze and setting a world record in the 200-meter backstroke. And, seeing as how she is only seventeen, I think we can look forward to seeing plenty more of this youngun’ in years to come.
And you just can’t write about Olympic swimming (apparently) without mentioning Ryan Lochte. Careful, ladies; watch where you swoon. Lochte was like the Magic Mike of these Olympics, leaving scores of disoriented women stunned by his hypnotizing abs and abundant hair in his wake wherever he went. When he was finished winning five Olympic medals in the pool (two gold, two silver and one bronze), it has been reported that he partied it up Sunday night into the wee hours of Monday morning, drinking champagne and $800 tequila (nothing wrong with his taste). But before you go chasing him into the pool with a pair of champagne flutes and some Jose Cuervo, ladies, you should know that he has admitted to peeing in the Olympic pool during warm-ups. That’s not enough to turn you off, is it?
So, with that, we say farewell (no, not good riddance) to Olympic swimming for another four years. It had ups; it had downs. It had highs; it had lows. it was historic and it was bittersweet. And it will be missed. At least by me.