8/12/08 - Proud to be an American

Two nights ago, in the Olympics, I was able to witness quite possibly the greatest sporting event I can recall watching. Michael Phelps, Garrett Weber-Gale, Cullen Jones, and Jason Lezak put on an amazing show in front of the entire world. For those of you who have not heard, the French team was talking quite a bit of smack beforehand, primarly stating that "Americans? We are going to smash them, that is what we came here for."

Everything about the event was incredible in my eyes. From Phelps getting destroyed in the first leg, and then Weber-Gale taking the lead on the 2nd leg, followed by Jones losing the lead on the 3rd and then Lezak losing ground on the first half followed by a miracle comeback in the last 25m and then winning by .08 seconds on his last stretch.

The first five teams (USA, France, Australia, Italy and Sweden) all raced under the previous world record time. Followed by Canada who missed that mark by .03 seconds. According to Wikipedia, Lezak also swam the fastest split time at 46.06 in history, breaking the previous record by .6 seconds. In comparison, the current record for the 100m freestyle is 47.24 seconds set on the first leg of this race (previous record holder was Alain Bernard who made the quote mentioned at the top of this post and the anchor leg of the French team who was overtaken by Lezak).

Not only were the numbers staggering from the results of the event, but watching the race, even in replays (http://www.nbcolympics.com has the full coverage avialable. I would provide a direct link, but it is blocked here at work) is a huge adrenaline rush. Even coming into the final 50m, knowing that the US pulls out the win, it is amazing to watch Lezak come from almost no where to win it. Then, to watch Phelps and Weber-Gale cheering from the side of the pool and then watching the reactions of the entire American team...I just can't put it into words.

The one thing that needs to be mentioned is that Lezak won that race. The other swimmers held their own, but Lezak should have been awarded all four medals for his performance. Pat Forde at ESPN said it best, stating that if Phelps does go on to win all 8 gold medals and get his million dollar bonus from Speedo, 1/8th of that million should be in check to Lezak.

I wanted to post some of the most memorable sporting events, but this post is already too long. I'll leave that for my next post.

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