Thoughts From Mount Olympus

Rings

Thoughts from Mount Olympus. . . . .
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1. The best sport, by far, in the Olympics is women’s beach volleyball. That’s just a fact. Trust me.
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2. Here’s the definition of women’s beach volleyball: Four incredibly physically fit women in tiny bikinis hugging each other and patting each other on the ass. There might be a net or a ball involved but I’m not sure.
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3. Another great Olympic sport is the women’s running…..all distances. It’s pretty much the same sport as women’s beach volleyball without the hugging and ass-patting. There might be a clock involved. I can’t remember.
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4. Yet another favorite of mine is women’s indoor volleyball. There’s lots of hugging and ass-patting here, too, but they are not as scantily clad. (Is anybody sensing a pattern here?) Seriously, in this sport, as in all Olympic sports, the athletes are in incredible physical condition and the action is so quick. When one of these very tall young ladies jumps up and spikes the ball towards the ground on the opposite side of the net, the opposing players have about 1/10th of a second to decide how to react. I’ve seen them dive on the floor with their arm and hand outstretched to reach the ball so that it pops off the back of their hand or wrist up into the air so that a teammate can send it higher into the air and yet another teammate can spike it to the other side. In comparison to this reaction time, an American baseball player would have about 5 seconds to decide whether to swing at a given pitch.
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5. In the aforementioned volleyball, a spike of the ball over the net resulting in a point for your team is called a “kill.” Mark my words….in our politically correct world, this term will not be used by the time the Olympics roll around again in the year 2000. It will be called a “spike” or a “floor-ball” or some other non-violent term. As evidence, I’ll introduce the fact that, some 25 years ago, the American NBA team from Baltimore was the “Baltimore Bullets.” At that time, as now, there were a lot of murders in the Washington – Baltimore area. That team is now known as the Washington Wizards.
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6. Who was sadist that invented the “balance beam” in gymnastics   ?

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7. There is a lot of swimming that goes on in the Olympics. I don’t watch much of it. I just think that it’s crazy that all of these swimmers from all of these countries train for, like, five hours a day and then, when they compete, many of the races are won by thousands-of-a-second. I did see one race where all of the first 5 people to finish were less than a second apart.
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8. I do watch running in the Olympics. I’ve already explained, above, why I watch the women. For the men, I think it’s just as crazy as swimming but it seems to me to be natural to run. If we were meant to swim, we’d have fins or webbed feet or gills.
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9. There is something that I do find fascinating in the men’s running and that is the long distance races. There is a real strategy in those races. You can’t run too fast too early or you’ll burn out. Likewise, you can’t wait too long to make your move or you won’t get to the front. Besides admiring the fact that these guys can run that far when I can’t run 50 meters, I like to watch the “chess match” that goes on during the race.
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10. Before I forget to mention it, I thought the Opening Ceremony was in the top 10 most boring things I’ve seen on TV in a long time.
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11. I saw some of the men’s and women’s rugby. I can’t quite figure out the rules but it is really crazy. It’s kind of like American football because you tackle the person with the ball. The difference is that, when the ball-carrier hits the ground, the play is not over. The other team is free to try to rip the ball away from the player on the ground. The player on the ground is free to try to pass the ball backwards, if possible, to a teammate and the action continues. When the ball goes out of bounds on the side, the team that is opposite of the last player to touch it owns the ball. The players line up to defend the in-bounds pass, like in American basketball, but the receiver of the pass can be lifted high up in the air by two of his teammates to catch the ball. It’s really fascinating and I think I’d like it even more if I knew the rules. I did notice this oddity among both the men and the women players. They all have what I could call “runners legs.” That means they are well muscled but thin, like a runner. Their upper bodies, however, are very thick and heavily muscled like a weightlifter. This, I believe, is because so much of the game is about holding on to the ball when you have it and trying so hard to rip it away from the other player when you don’t have it. Like I said, it’s fascinating.
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12. I didn’t watch any boxing. I saw, in passing, that some of the boxers had headgear on but most did not. As long as I can remember, boxing in the Olympics has been for amateurs and head protectors are always worn in amateur boxing. About 20 years ago, the Olympic committee members decided that professional athletes could compete in the Olympics. For instance, in basketball, players from the NBA and WNBA are playing for their respective countries. Maybe, in boxing, they are now allowing professional boxers to compete and maybe the pros don’t have to wear headgear. I just don’t know.
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13. The women’s basketball team from the United States won the gold medal this year for the fourth consecutive time. They have won 49 straight games in the Olympics and their all time record is 63 – 3.  Their average margin of victory this year was 31 points. That, my friends is called “dominance.”
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14. Seriously, the Olympics is an incredible event. Imagine the billions of dollars needed to be spent building the facilities to host the event. Imagine, also, the thousand and thousands of people who work to put it together. I’m talking about the athletes that start training when they are 5 years old and the thousands of hours that they train, their parents and trainers and schools that support them both financially and emotionally, the committees in all of the countries that put together the try-outs for the Olympics, the practice games that are put together between countries as a preamble to the Olympics, the travel plans, the housing plans, and on and on. There are always problems at any Olympics but they are usually rather minor. I’m figuratively tipping my cap to everyone involved in putting the Olympics together. I’m also, along with all of the viewers all over the world, giving a standing ovation to the athletes for their incredible sportsmanship and to the entire, epic Olympian endeavor. I can’t wait for Tokyo in 2020.
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That’s it for now.  As always, thanks for reading.

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