Liking tape-delayed Olympics


You can turn on just about any media outlet and listen to someone complaining that nothing important in the Olympics is being aired live.
With London being six hours ahead of the United States, most of the action there is occurring when the average American is too busy to watch anyway, so I don’t know what the big deal is.
It seems like a pretty good system to me. Take last night for instance. Having known that Michael Phelps had already won medals 18 and 19 to become the all-time leading medal winner, and already knowing that the American girls had already kicked the world’s butt in gymnastics, I was able to pick and choose what I wanted to watch and what I didn’t.
The gymnastics is the best example. Had I not known that our girls had already won the gold, I would have had to watch the Russian girls suffer as they fell down, fell apart and sobbed in each other’s arms. I did see a bit of it but not too much. Already knowing the outcome made it easy to skip most of the heartbreak and settle in to watch the triumphant Americans as they celebrated with gold-medal floor exercises.
Seeing Phelps win his 19th medal was a great way to end the night. Especially after he came up short in his bid to win gold in the 200 butterfly. Here’s a little thing about the Olympics and the expectations of others. The talk was that is was such an upset when Phelps got beat by .05 seconds; that the silver medal was such a disappointment. On the other hand, the announcers said before the race that if Phelps were to win, he would become the first Olympian to ever win that race three times! So what was the real upset? I think it would have been Phelps winning an unprecedented third gold in the 200 butterfly, not the fact that in 12 years someone got just a little bit faster than him.
None of that mattered by later in the evening. The 4×200 free relay was all Americans, all the time. From Ryan Lochte’s opening leg, through Conor Dwyer and Ricky Berens, the American team was in full command. When Phelps dove in to swim the anchor leg (the first time he has ever been the anchor in an Olympic race), the gold medal was all but decided. The Americans won the race by three seconds. The loss from earlier in the day was all but forgotten and the celebration was on.
With the swimming and gymnastics being tape delayed, and already knowing they won, the events were a pleasure to watch. Not having to commit to the emotion of the moment makes watching the Americans a more relaxed time, especially knowing they already have the gold medals hanging around their necks. As long the U.S.A. is winning, tape delay is a fine way to watch London 2012.
Did you know that there is an Olympian with family connections right in our back yard? Swimmer Rachel Bootsma, who swam in the 100-meter backstroke, is the daughter of Robert and Jan Bootsma. Robert grew up in Pollock, and I’m told still has close association with his hometown. The Bootsmas live in Eden Prairie, Minn. Rachel (just 18), will be swimming for the University of California at Berkeley this fall. She’ll be a force to be watched for at the 2016 Olympics.
Many of our local wrestlers will be keeping a close eye on the successes of Jake Herbert. The two-time NCAA champion from Northwestern will be a medal favorite when the wrestling starts next week. The local wrestlers will be following Herbert, because some of them know him. Herbert came to the Bridge City with our own Olympian Bill Scherr a couple summers ago and did some summer camp wrestling with our boys.

-Jay Davis-

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