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Posts Tagged ‘Beijing’

Only two things can get 150 U.S. Olympic stars in one city at one time: the actual Olympics, and, of course, the most powerful woman in the world: Oprah.

Oprah’s season premier couldn’t have been staged any better as she called for the country’s greatest athletes together for a “welcome home” celebration on her show in Chicago. Supposedly, the spectacle drew a crowd that stretched around nearly six city blocks.

Accourding to Pretty Tough, Oprah welcomed gold medalists Nastia Liukin, Misty May-Treanor & Kerri Walsh, Lisa Leslie, Candace Parker and members of the gold medal Women’s Basketball Team, cyclist Kristin Armstrong and fencer Mariel Zagunis. Also, silver medalist Jennie Finch & members of the Women’s Olympic Softball Team, the silver medal Women’s Water Polo Team, and more.

The show is said to air on Monday.

Check out this AP story for more information:

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Some better news…. USA soccer clinched hte gold medal today in Beijing, defeating Brazil 1-0 with a goal scored by Carli Lloyd in extra time.

According to Newser, goalkeeper Hope Solo was the star of the game. This is USA’s third gold medal since women’s soccer was added in 1996.

Truly, awesome stuff. I hope injured Amy Wambach was able to celebrate some of that much-deserved glory.

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Just saw it a few minutes ago… in the pouring rain in Beijing, May-Treanor and Walsh clinched the gold, defeating China.

This the 108th straight match won by the duo and Walsh’s 100th career victory, May-Treanor’s 103rd. What an incredible run, as repeat champs who remain to be… the best in the world.

May-Treanor and Walsh continue to bring some much-needed attention to a sport that often goes overlooked, until today.

Source: LA Times

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I came across this on the PostSecret Myspace blog and thought I’d share it with everyone. It made me laugh.

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Below is an article that my mom sent me from Haddonfield Online, a Web site dedicated to what’s going on in Haddonfield, NJ (I know, exciitng, right?)

If you didn’t already see from my previous post, Erin Donohue is from my hometown, and she competing in the women’s 1500-m race this week. You can see her Olympic profile here.

Anyway, I thought this was actually well-written. Not surprisingly, there is a Rocky Balboa reference (so typical for South Jersey). I think maybe the townies are going a little bit overboard with singing her praises (I was told that they practically threw her a parade), but still, it is exciting to see someone from a small town achieve something so great.

Take a look at this article (written by Christian Giudice of Haddonfield Online)

“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place. It will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much can you take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! ” Rocky Balboa

Hyperbole, overstatement, guilty as charged. But the analogy is so inviting.

As Haddonfield Memorial High School product Erin Donohue takes the track on Thursday (August 21) between 7am and 7:20am (EDT time)* in a heat of the Women’s 1500M, the Rocky storyline presents itself: gutty local hero and underdog fighting her way up the ranks (insert Donohue), running the cold, lonely streets of Philly when no one’s around (C’mon Rock), a crafty trainer who taught her the ropes and changed her style (John Cook as Mickey), and the controversy surrounding the Russian super power (Yelena Soboleva as Ivan Drago suspended for drug tampering).

It’s all there.

You see where I am headed with the underdog theme. Unfortunately in Beijing, there’s not just one Drago, but add a couple Apollo Creeds, Clubber Langs and very few Spider Rekos.

Judging by times alone (4:05:55 her personal best), conventional wisdom suggests that Donohue, the runner, isn’t worthy of medal contention; yet, times have nothing to do with Donohue, the competitor. By the time the field is whittled down and the final comes around in less than a week (Aug. 23), something tells me that despite the punishment, Donohue will still be standing.

Getting ahead of myself, probably. I won’t take in to account that Bahrain’s Myriam Yusuf Jamal ran a 3:59 in Europe this year already or that Donohue’s college rival, Duke’s Shannon Rowbury nearly matched that time in the same race. University of Arkansas product Christin Wurth-Thomas also eclipsed Donohue’s personal best with a 4:05:00.

Please don’t remind me that oddsmakers believe Donohue to be little more than a burgeoning pimple on the face of the 1500 women’s field. There’s no chance I’ll even mention the lack of experience or the nerves that deter any young athlete on such a grand stage.

I know little about the fierce Bahrain champ or the capability of Rowbury, and I have never heard of the three Russian girls who were banned from the Olympics before it began. What I do know is that since 2005, Donohue has cut nearly 30 seconds off her 1,500 time.

What I do know is that Donohue will casually pat you on the back before the race, wish you well, wait patiently for the race to develop, and she will fight, scrap and claw her way to position, using every trick in her running repertoire to mentally and physically ravage you. Those athletes, like Donohue, with nothing to lose are often the most dangerous. She doesn’t have significant weight pulling her down, or media members following every step; unlike others she can just focus on the race.

If I were only leading with my heart on this one, Donohue is headed to the final round. But it’s more than that, because everything I’ve witnessed about her as a competitor tells me to disregard times and previous matchups.

Maybe I’m being a naïve outsider looking in on a sport that determines its winners solely by times and favorites, but Donohue doesn’t discourage easily. As a sports journalist, I have fallen prey to that miracle curse that we all suffer from. I believe in Erin Donohue, and that among the world’s monstrous athletes, she is merely a small-town fighter struggling to, and will be heard.

She’s Rocky Balboa in running shoes swinging haymakers and hooks. When no one expects anything out of an athlete like Donohue, that’s when she counters.

By the final – 7:50am on Saturday (EDT) – the world will finally see what she’s made of.

—– Please note that the date/time of her race in this article are wrong. On Thursday, August 21 at 7am (Haddonfield time), the first of two heats will be run. The second heat will start 7:10am. Each heat will have up to 18 runners. The Start List has not been posted, so it is not yet known officially which heat Erin will run in. It is also not known how many runners from each heat will advance to the final, but it is believed that several other runners with the next fastest times will advance also. The final will take place on Saturday, August 23 at 7:50am (Haddonfield time).

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Last night, according to ESPN, Dara Torres won the 50m freestyle heat with ease, finishing at the wall with a time of time of 24.27 – 0.15 better than anyone else.

Swimming is hard enough, especially the 50 meter freestyle. An all-out sprint, the 50m requires explosive power and speed, two traits that are supposed to dwindle over the years.

But Dara Torres is proving that wrong, and she’s catching a lot of attention because of her ability to overcome that inevitable obstacle that we all must face: age.  That, and – of course – guys think she’s hot.

Torres is making history – in more ways than one.

USA Today says,

“Dara Torres is doubling up her duties in her run at history on Sunday.”

This is because, in addition to seeking her 11th Olympic medal in the finals of the 50-meter freestyle, the 41-year-old mom will swim the anchor leg of the women’s 4×100 medley relay about 40 minutes later.

Winning two medals on Sunday would tie Torres with Jenny Thompson at 12 medals (Thompson represented the US in 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympics). If this happens, two stars would share the title of most decorated U.S. woman swimmer in history. Torres already is the oldest female swimmer in Olympic history.

But one of the greatest impacts Torres is having on our culture is that she is inspiring older women to get fit. Check out this article from The Huffington Post which explains how this is happening and why.

Also last night, Kirsty Coventry from  Zimbabwe grabbed a gold in the 200-meter back stroke, defeating Margaret Hoelzer’s previous world-record time.

In distance, Britain’s Rebecca Adlington clinched the gold medal in the 800-meter freestyle event with a time of 8 minutes, 14.10 seconds, shattering Janet Evans’ 19-year-old world record of 8:16.22. It has been said that Adlington is the “Michael Phelps of Britain”, and is setting a said to be setting a precedent for the next summer games in London.

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I have to admit it – I think swimming is my favorite event of the Beijing Olympics.

I know it seems like I’m “jumping on the bandwagon,” but it was SO exciting last night to watch the women’s 200-m breaststroke event, as American Rebecca Soni came from behind to beat world record-holder Leisel (a.k.a “Lethal Jones”) and set a new world record, 2 minutes, 20.22 seconds.

She was losing up until the last 50 meters, when she “busted it” off the wall and kicked it into overdrive to beat Liesel by almost an entire body length.

What is up with the world records this year? It’s like every event someone smashes another record! Maybe it’s the new style of swimsuits?

Whatever it is, it’s awesome.

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