Sunday, August 24, 2008

Beijing Review

It’s been an interesting few weeks to say the least. Overall, I found the last 17 days to be quite riveting, even though the fascination and excitement wasn’t always in my favor. Nevertheless, I was captivated. I know that watching the coverage via NBC can be a bit discouraging for some fans. You are hard-pressed to know who else is in a final if it doesn’t happen to be one of their chosen few, and Lord help you if you care at all about an athlete who isn’t American. You are also forced to care about all of Michael Phelps’ extended family, going back as far as his second cousin’s sister-in-laws baby daddy’s nephew. What the guy did was amazing but it got out of hand. Extremely out of hand. I should know the other members of the relay team and instead I am fairly certain I can give you an accurate count on how many freckles he has on his nose. The cameraman must have had strict orders. I can also tell you what he eats for breakfast on Tuesdays. And his favorite Christmas gift when he was 4 years old. His Ipod playlist…you get the point. And for the love of God, please stop comparing him to every Olympian. You cannot. You should not. The simple fact that ribbon twirling is an Olympic sport should tell you that all things should not be considered equal. Nor is the number of medals he’s won comparable across all sports. A decathlete, arguably the greatest athlete in the world, gets only ONE medal for 10 events. And don’t even get me started on World Records. That 19.30 on it’s own was more impressive than all 7 of his combined. In my humble opinion of course.

Of course I still appreciated swimming more than I ever have before, thanks to him and a few of his teammates (whose names I do not really know). That shout of elation after the 100-meter freestyle relay is definitely one of my top moments of the Games. It gave me goosebumbs simply because of its complete and utter raw emotion and joy. That celebration had nothing to do with being the greatest Olympian of all time or breaking records, it was simply the thrill of victory and it’s best. One of my other favorite moments away from the track was the women’s gymnastic all-around competition. It was that instant when the score from Nastia Luikin’s floor routine flashed on the screen, virtually guaranteeing her the Gold medal and Shawn Johnson being the only person left to perform. I was captivated by Shawn at that moment because she simply flashed the most genuine smile and gave a look of determination that convinced you she was about to give the most amazing routine knowing she couldn’t get the Gold medal. She was just happy to be in that moment, excited at the opportunity to give her best and have that be good enough. I think it was a true testament to the Olympic ideal as anything could be.

Of course on the track Usain Bolt was amazing. The guy is simply a freak of nature, capable of things only he alone can dream of it seems. I know he’s not American, but you cannot not be excited by that type of talent and performance. I know the USA faltered a bit but we did have some sweeps as well as some breakthrough performances that nobody expected which were cool to watch because I love to see the underdog shock the world.

The biggest disappointment for me was probably the relays not being able to get the stick around. It seems we try to invest so much in that area and it’s obviously not helping us improve. I think it would have been a highlight of the Games though if we were able to have two strong teams go head to head with the Jamaicans. And of all the athletes, I think my heart went out to Lolo Jones in the 100-meter hurdles more than anyone. And maybe Liu Xiang as well, seeing as he had a billion people in tears over him not running. That surely must be a heavy load to carry. I also was hoping to see my good friend bring home another softball gold which unfortunately wasn't meant to be. What is even more unfortunate is that in 2012 they don't have the opportunity to be in the Olympics which seems a bit unfair as we keep ribbon twirling and trampoline jumping in the program.

I wanted to know what the highlight was for all of you during the Beijing Olympics. What moment spoke to you or touched you more than any other? And what caused you to scream at your T.V. in anguish or disgust?


Anonymous said...

hi ms. bri as alwaya ur blog is the shit. Well NBC coverage was o.k. at best. Ur view point on phelps is accurate. the opening ceromonies still in my mind was unbelievable--the closing ceromonies stunning--but that london skit shit the bed. Performance wise--i love the triple jump & didn't see any of it---i didn't even see the long jump either. WTF!--Sanya R. coming in 3rd was a shocker--Jeremy post race comment was funny--I would have loved to see Bolt run a leg of the 4x400--since he won all the 100 rounds so easy. Honestly on the outside looking in both our 4x100 teams suck and you know that this has happend before-so a national team of 8 people each should be running that event all the time for the next 4 years and just don't throw 6 people together a month b4 the games. Jamaica's team doctor made a true statement-in terms of slavery and great black athletes--black folk for 2 centuries were bred to be the biggest and strongest--so his comments shouldn't be shocking--many years ago jimmie the greek spoke the truth but folks don't want to deal with the facts that us black folk were bred like livestock. Shit east germany did it so did russia and China scours there population "identifying" there best athlete's--Have you ever been to a NFL combine? Them brothers ain't no better than a black angus bull--it's a shame that what Dr. Elliot said is getting blasted---USA track and field from an image perspective has got alot of work ahead of it's self--more deserving athletes like you need support--I bet you wouldn't of fucked up that baton pass---well i think i said enough--i hope your well--i still think you should consider a j-o-b out here in vegas--Lol--joe p. in vegas sometimes in d.c.

Itoohadolympicaspirations... said...

After watching the Olympic games in Beijing, I am inclined to believe that opportunity is opportunity. So much scrutiny was placed on the US sprinters after some failed in their hope to take that victory lap adorned with our nations flag. I am a firm believer that as an athlete you take the risk to fail as much as you work to succeed. Sure the media can highlight the US sprinters transgressions on the track, but I give them all the props in the world for taking their talent to the grand stage...The Olympic Games. Just as I wrote to you Brianna Glenn on Trackshark to make the best of your experience in Eugene, I still think of you as truly gifted! Watching you compete for Arizona proved that you have the tools to achieve greatness and become an Olympian. You will see your journey is not done. Being a collegiate All-American sprinter myself and ranked in the top 10 in the US in 1996 and 1997, I had traveled the difficult journey as an unattached athlete searching for a sponsor or support (I sympathize with Lolo) The business of professional track is complex and highly political. I can't understand the Relay mishaps but composure is a difficult dragon to control when millions are watching and you are favored to win on the grandest stage of all-The Olympic Games! Keep training Brianna and God bless you as you reach for that goal to get your Olympic moment-See you in London!!!!!!!

Andre Rafik said...

Bela Karolyi and all his antics. Couldnt get enough of it. And what was up with them showing the gold medal b-ball game at 2:30 am?

Anonymous said...

I dont think we invest enough in the 4x100m relay pools.

Usain Bolt's 200m had to be my fav moment. Watching him run all the way through the line was great.

Brianna said...

Believe me, we invest PLENTY of money, it's moreso that we don't really have a plan with any consistency. the problem is we have too many good athletes and you never know who will do well at Trials so to pick athletes so far in advance and make them train together, then once Trials comes along and you have a whole different group of athletes in the final...that wouldn't fly with a lot of people.

Anonymous said...

How can I help you achieve your goal of making the Olympics?

anonymousnupe said...

Usain and the lady Jamaicans have got to be on some kinda root or something, LOL!!! He's either an alien or a mutant.

Man, my heart hurt so much for Lolo. You could just feel the despair as she was swallowed up by the rest of the field on hurdle 10. It's a testament to her greatness that she was even able to maintain her stride and actually clear hurdle 10 at all!

Yeah, they needed to stop with the "Greatest Olympian of all time" crap with MP. They'd first have to identify for me what other Olympic sport besides swimming in which it would be physically and technically possible to win that number of medals. Those are the only events Phelps' feat should be compared with.

My favorite moment was the fact that there was a U.S. brother in the pool...and dude got gold!!! (Even though he did get fried on that third leg of the now legendary 4 X 100.)

Brianna said...

@ can sponsor me and find me a coach.

@ nupe...the black guy was also kind of cute if I remember correctly, but of course I saw him for only half a second.

Tamara said...

Well my favorite moment was right when Shelly-Ann Fraser crossed the finish line and realized that she won the gold medal.
& to top it off her accent was just so cute.

btw, the swimmmer..his name is cullen jones and he is very cute.

anonymousnupe said...

Well, Cullen is no Anonymousnupe, but I guess he aw-ight...not that I was assessing or anything. (He's pictured in the link I included, if you'd like to gaze at him longingly.) I imagine he's got abs to rival yours, Bri?

Mila Kay said...

Of course, seein Usain Bolt break records had me in aww and I think that was a highlight for me. I'm sure my neighbors now think I'm crazy cause of how I was screamin at the tv when the batons were being dropped during those relays.

jo said...

Love the Olympic recap, especially from your POV. We have some of the 1st black bloggers at the Democratic National Convention this week. Take a look
at AAPP's site African American Political Pundit
. Spread the word and please post a question/comment if you have one.

kiemie said...

I loved watching the 4x400 squads do what they did. Sanya had be scared for a min, but she pulled it out. I am also happy about the sweeps in the 400m mens and 400h mens as well. we are so deep in those events!

Gymnastics is always great and it was great to see the amount ofimprovement both USA squads had over the 2004 games.

Swimming....Well, I was really happy for Dara Torres. That women is a beast. She better not retire!

Anonymous said...

Ms. Glenn,
Let’s see…that Kenya finally got its well-deserved Marathon Gold metal (that Wanjiru kid is something!), that that little cutie from Ethiopia, Tirunesh Dibaba, won double-Gold (5,000 and 10,000 meters; try THAT Ms. Glenn, lol) and when hottie Sheena Tosta got Silver in the 400 meter Hurdles.
Kenenisa Bekele fully showing, with double-Gold, 5,000 and 10,000 meters, that he will be, just like Haile, one of the greatest of all time.
I really was so happy for LaShawn Merritt, beating the over-hyped Wariner (funny of me to say that, of all people, huh Ms. Glenn?).
Angelo Taylor coming back like he has and leading a sweep; what a race!
But best of all, proving that on any day, a highly talented athlete can pull it off, was Dawn Harper winning Olympic Gold in the 100 Hurdles (and is that one rockin’ body or what on that girl!).
The 100 meter Hurdles with Dawn Harper also produced the moment I yelled at the TV. The stupid “post-race” interview idiot went right to Lolo Jones! I mean, yeah, she was favored and all, but give me a break, you could she Dawn Harper standing around in the friggin’ background while they talked to the 7th place finisher!!! What a serious lack of respect! She handled it with her personal dignity, but I’d have been tempted to tell them when they finally stuck the camera in my face, “Hey, maybe you’d rather talk next to the 6th place finisher instead, huh?”
Oh, and who is Michael Phelps?

Anonymous said...

Oh, and can somebody help me out a little? Is "sh*t the bed" a positve endorsement or not?

Michelle said...

One of the most memorable moments to me was the whole Wallace Spearmon reaction AFTER the 200. Wow that face and reaction after.

Anonymous said...

"sh*t the bed" is as bad as things get

Anonymous said...

Good topic Brianna. I have some thoughts.

Unfortunately, the US coverage, coaches, trainers, athletes, agents, have all bought into the all mighty buck as all the drives them!

it is and was very sad, indeed. a country of hypocrites driven only by money.

the coverage. the athletes. the trials. all about money.

how many agents were at the trials I wonder? how did that effect the athletes performances!

how many corporations representatives were at the trials? how did that effect the athletes performances!

don't tell me our athletes, on the whole, care about their sports! they don't in my observation!

the US media kept keeping count of all the medals and saying the US is winning. Hello, we only sent 12, 452 athletes! I so hope so with those odds. some countries only sent 20 athletes or 1. more media lies to make you all feel good about yourselves. the US LOST! we got our ass kicked and then some!

the reality is we, the US, got our asses kicked by the countries and athletes who don't have such cushy lives, agents, corporate money, and the US athletes only care about the almighty dollar in their pockets!

How was Europe Bri? Did you take any pictures or did your agent take care of that? Who is this dipsh*t agent you have by the way? I have to say this even though you and he/she will not like to hear this but your agent has failed YOU because of his/her greed in the almighty dollar! Hello!, your fired agent!

my favorite moment! the very last second of the very last moment of the closing ceremonies!

thank god its over!

Brianna, can you talk about making turnip soup and your favorite recipe or something because this whole Olympic theme is just.......(no words other than sad).


eclectik said...


All the Track and field...well what they decided to show
Seeing Lolo and all the Americans and Jamaicans...YES

Some of the Volleyball (not beach) I liked the swimming...


The spoilers
That they totally dissed the Hep, Long, Triple and most of the prelims

The constant Phelps OUT of the water

Screamed at the TV:

The Womens Gymnastics :(
Lolo's hurdle...reminded me of Gail Deevers

I still want the Olympics to be in Texas...need the time difference more managable.


DES said...

The USA basketball team winning the gold was phenomenal. They actually seemed liked they cared and that is what I enjoyed most. All of these cats are multi multi millionaires and if you watch them at the end of the Spain game celebrating you saw the kind of joy you would see in a little kids face. That made it worth my 2:30am wake up call to catch it live.