Friday, August 10, 2012 at 8:32 PM
To be honest, folks, I’m pooped.
Watching (or staring at) as much streaming video as I have over the past two weeks is probably not good for my health … to say nothing of my already failing eyesight. Never mind the irony inherent in the cause for this being my addictive interest in watching the healthiest people on the planet compete in their respective sports.
Actually, I believe I deserve a gold medal – not just for watching so many events but for actively participating by writing so many commentaries on them as well (i.e., instead of sitting passively and eating it all up like a couch potato): over 150 hours of viewing and 14-consecutive days of commentaries. Bolt thinks he’s the friggin’ greatest thing on two legs; well, let’s see him do that!
That said, after perusing today’s schedule, I decided that there were only two events worthy of causing further damage.
Track and Field
The more notorious rivalry between the USA and Japan in women’s soccer is easily matched by the less reported rivalry between the USA and Jamaica in women’s Track and Field. And no event has crystalized the latter quite like competition in the women’s 400m relay.
This is why I was almost as eager to see this race as I was to see the men’s 100m. Moreover, both Americans and Jamaicans were seeking to win gold and redemption in equal measure because of what happened in Beijing:
It seemed a cruel irony that the Jamaicans – who had been flawless in all sprint events to date – aped the Americans by botching the baton handoff in the women’s 4x100m relay and losing what was certain gold in this event. On the other hand, the Russians could not believe their dumb luck when the gold medal was practically handed to them.
(“Beijing Olympics,” The iPINIONS Journal, August 25, 2012)
Well there was no dropping of the baton this time. More to the point, the Americans reasserted their preeminence – not just by beating the Jamaicans rather handily, but by setting a new world record in the process. The old record of 41.37 was set by the East Germans in 1985. The Americans ran 40.82. That the Jamaicans ran their fastest time ever and still came up short is an indication of the Bolt-like strides the Americans made in setting this new standard.
Accordingly, the Jamaicans can hardly be dissatisfied with their silver; the Ukrainians are no doubt thrilled with their bronze. (For what it’s worth, there seems little doubt that Bolt will anchor the men’s 4x100m relay for Jamaica tomorrow to avenge this loss. This will also be the final event of any real interest to me at these Olympics.)
That said, you can be forgiven for thinking that the highlight of these Games for me was either watching the alluring Allison Felix win the 200m in Track and Field or watching the adorable Gabby Douglas win the all-around in Gymnastics. In fact, these moments pale in comparison to the joy I felt watching my compatriots from The Bahamas beat the Americans and British to win the men’s 4X400m relay.
Indeed, the real reason I’m so pooped (or knackered as my British friends might say) is that I’ve spent the past two hours jumping and shouting for joy as I reveled in this glorious victory. The USA held on to win silver; Trinidad and Tobago get honorable mention by holding off our former colonial master, Great Britain, to win bronze. Significantly, this is the first time any country has defeated the USA in this race since 1952.
Of course, many of you may think – it’s just one gold medal, what’s the big deal. Well, I refer you to the brilliant and instructive commentary by my dear friend and colleague Sir Ronald Sanders in today’s edition of Caribbean News Now. For in it he delineates why, when one factors in such things as GDP and population size, one gold medal won by The Bahamas with a population of just 300,000 is the equivalent of 1,000 gold medals won by the USA with a population of over 300,000,000 (or the equivalent of 10 won by regional rival Jamaica with a population of almost 3,000,000).
And because the Americans will not come close to winning 1,000 and the Jamaicans will be lucky to win 5, this means that, when all is said and done, Bahamians will have performed better at these Olympic Games than both. So put that in your pipe and smoke it. Not that the Jamaicans need any encouragement….
Congratulations to Chris Brown, Demetrius Pinder, Michael Mathieu, and Ramon Miller (who literally won this race for The Bahamas by chasing down two-time Olympic 400m champion Angelo Taylor of the USA on the anchor leg like a dog chasing after a bone). You’ve made all Bahamians proud!
NOTE: I urge my fellow Bahamians to resist labeling these heroic men as “Golden Boys.” It’s understandable that national giddiness misled us into labeling the women who won the 4x100m relay at the 2000 Sydney Games – the first-ever gold medal for our (independent) Bahamaland - as “Golden Girls.” But we’ve matured since then, and should not perpetuate this juvenile ostentatiousness.
MEDAL COUNT: USA: 94; China: 81; Russia: 63