A Writer’s Take on the Olympics

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  • So, BAW readers, precisely because no one asked me to, in this column I’m going to give my assessment of the Olympic Games, now in their first week.

    I have to ‘fess up: there are only a few sports I’m interested in watching when it comes to the Olympics. I’ll start off with men’s basketball.

    No disrespect to the women’s basketball team is intended. I’ll be watching their games too. But I KNOW they’re a lock to bring home a gold medal. Our men folk have proven to be, well, not as reliable.
     
    Yes, the U.S. men’s basketball team won gold in 2008. But in 2004, they brought home only a bronze medal.

    BRONZE! And in the process they lost to teams like Argentina, for heavens sake.

    I advocated that each and every member of the 2004 team be stripped of his American citizenship. When people asked if I was joking, I usually gave this answer.

    “I’ve never been more heart-attack serious in my life. I think their passports should be confiscated at customs and that they should be told to get the hell out of the country.”

    Basketball “experts” are predicting gold for the U.S. men’s basketball team this Olympics, but they’ve gone even further, and more than a wee bit overboard.

    They’ve compared this year’s team to the 1992 “Dream Team” that featured, among others, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan.

    I’ll get this unpleasant business out of the way as soon as possible. Were the 1992 team comprised of Johnson, Bird, Jordan and nine average basketball players, they’d mop up the court with the 2012 U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team.

    Yeah, I said it.

    And I’ll say even more: a team of Johnson, Bird, Jordan, Tom Joyner, J. Anthony Brown, BlackAmericaWeb.com senior writer Michael Cottman, BlackAmericaWeb.com commentator Jeff Johnson and any random five guys that happen to be logged on to BlackAmericaWeb.com would give the 2012 team a go.

    Johnson, Bird and Jordan were that good. The main stars of the 2012 team – LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant – are indeed good, but only today’s crop of basketball fans and “experts” would place them in the same category as Johnson, Bird and Jordan.

    I’ll move on to track and field, both the men’s and women’s teams.

    I’ll be rooting for Allyson Ferguson, my favorite female track star since Florence Griffith Joyner, to win the 100 meters. But I question whether she should even be on the 100-meter team.

    At the U.S. Olympic women’s track and field 100-meter finals, officials ruled Ferguson and Jeneba Tarmoh tied for third. Then photos were released of the supposed “dead heat” between the two.

    “Wait a second,” I said after seeing the photo. “What tie?”

    The photo showed that while the finish for third place was indeed close, Tarmoh had a clear advantage. I showed the photo to several others that had no dog in the fight. All said Tarmoh had the advantage.

    So good luck in the 100 meters, Allyson. But you – and the rest of us – know you owe U.S. track and field officials one.

    It was originally planned that Ferguson and Tarmoh have a run-off to break their “tie.” That never happened, but that didn’t stop U.S. men’s 100-meter sprinter Justin Gatlin from making a fool of himself – via Twitter, no less – by suggesting that the two women break the tie with a mud or oil-wrestling match.

    Some guys just can’t hide their inner pig when it comes to women. I’m hoping Gatlin gets smoked in all his races.

    That might happen in the men’s 4X100 meter relays, where Americans haven’t had much success of late. In the 2011 world track and field championships, Americans were running quite well until a sprinter from Great Britain bumped into one of our guys and knocked him off stride.

    Can someone tell me why the Brits even have a track and field team? Everybody knows that when it comes to sports, limeys are only good at three things:

    1.  Soccer
    2.  Soccer hooliganism
    3.  Very little else

    Maybe in these games a British sprinter will knock a Jamaican sprinter off his stride.

    Now on to the third sport I’ll be watching these games. In addition to pro football, pro basketball and the sprints in track and field, what other sport do brothers dominate, at least in this Olympic year?

    That would be Greco-Roman wrestling. I kid you not. There are seven weight classes in Greco-Roman, freestyle and women’s wrestling. This year, black wrestlers earned five of the seven spots on the Greco-Roman team.

    The ones to watch would be Dremiel Byers, the heavyweight, who, at 37, might be making his last run for an Olympic medal.

    The other would be 132-pounder Ellis Coleman, whose nickname is “The Flying Squirrel.” He earned his nickname for a move he used on the mat.
     
    I’m not nearly a talented enough writer to describe that move. Just Google “Ellis Coleman” and “flying squirrel” and you’ll find yourself asking, as I did, “What did this brother just do?”
     

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