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Posts Tagged ‘Beijing’

No Popping Tacos for Nastia

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Nastia Liukin

As athletes reaping the rewards of their Olympic service continues unabated, gold medalist Nastia Liukin has also entered the ring; only she’s not going the way of popping tacos and foreign languages. Instead, Nastia has decided to do something a little more wholesome — pitch jeans and related fashion to teenage girls for Vanilla Star.

One of the key pitches from the company has to do with the way the jeans are marketed; mainly, without the sexuality found in other teen-related ads. From their presser:

“Vanilla Star is proud to embrace an ‘anti-jean’ company philosophy by opposing the trend of exploiting young teens’ bodies in its ads. We always try to find personalities that our core Vanilla Star customer is attracted to and will set a good example for today’s impressionable youth market,” says Vanilla Star’s President, Mark Levy.

Um yeah, about all that.

Now, I’m not one to quibble about things like this, but, using a miniskirt/lots-of-legs-and-smiles isn’t the most conservative way to market said good example. And let’s not get started on the whole body image being portrayed to teenage girls either. Call it what it is — attracting your demographic by partnering with someone they either admire and/or envy.

Because if want to be like Mike, or in this case, Nastia, the only way most of us can do so is by buying a product he or she endorses.

And Just Like That, It’s Over

Closing Ceremony

So long, Beijing. It’s been educational, fun and quite interesting. Thanks again for the hospitality — something you maintained as long as you weren’t questioned about how you do the things you do. Through it all — the age issues, the typically pathetic judging for all judgment-related competitions, NBC’s terrible coverage after the Phelps show left town — you managed to offer a venue that provided a lot of sports entertainment.

But now we are leaving you for a 2012 date with the folks from London, England; leaving you so you can go back to doing whatever it is you do to make your citizens a part of the collective.

Do you get the feeling yesterday’s departure was none too soon for China’s government? Having to face Western scrutiny was an uncomfortable necessity in order to show the world your might, but you get the feeling they reached their limit. No more questions about Tibet and forced relocations and gymnast’s ages. Just leave now so we can salvage what’s left of our steadily-crumbling facade — er, I mean friendships developed during the Olympic Games.

Now that the final curtain has fallen on the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, what did we learn?

* There a strong possibility Usain Bolt was developed in the same lab that produced Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan. Am I saying he’s a cyborg robot capable of eradicating the Connor name throughout history? Yes. Yes I am. Bolt is Terminator, although, like Woods, he’s probably a T-1000 model. Remember, a metal endoskeleton is much more bulkier than liquid metal.

* Michael Phelps is apparently half fish/half pimp. It’s all that gold, folks.

* There are so many attractive female athletes, it’s impossible to keep track of them all.

* The US Sprint Team, with the exception of Walter Dix and the 400-meter sweep, performed like absolute garbage. They came to the Olympics with expectations of putting the the US back on the map as the dominant country in the world and how did that work out for them? Just ask Tyson Gay. Or Usain Bolt.

* I’m a pretty liberal person — or least an independent thinker — but I discovered I agree with George Will on something: Seeing all those Chinese drummers in the closing and opening ceremonies was kinda creepy. It was almost like China saying, “Do you see? Do you see what we are capable of? Do you see just how in-step the youth of China is with our way of life?” It was at once awesome and intimidating.

* Will anyone in the USA remember anything from these Olympics except Phelps, Bolt and the Redeem Team winning? I’m sure winners like Stephanie Rice and Rebecca Adlington will be adored in Australia and Britain, but if you walked up to someone TODAY and ask them who these two swimmers are, you’d probably be greeted with a blank face as a response. And their competition only ended last week.

Furthering this point is the gymnast team, especially Shawn Johnson and Nastia. When you have American girls winning gymnastics gold medals, people immediately harken back to Mary-Lou Retton and her popularity. Um, how’d that work out for Carly Patterson?

The Olympics are a weird beast. They captivate the world for about 2 weeks, then everyone forgets they were even on — until the next time. And with that in mind, see you in London, 2012. Maybe by that time, the USA Sprint team can find four sprinters capable of handing a relay baton off without dropping it. Don’t hold your breath, though.

Redemption Is A Dish Best Served In China

Redemption

By now, you know about Team USA’s golden victory over Spain Sunday morning. As indicated by the adjective, the win returned the gold medal to who many view as its rightful owner — USA Basketball. Yes, they had to earn it against a Spanish team that wouldn’t back quit and was executing their offense probably better than they ever have at any point since the team was developed.

It was a good game to watch, except for the referees, who seemed to not care how many times Marc Gasol pushed Chris Bosh in the back but made it a point to keep a close eye on the Spanish and American guards. Through it all, the USA prevailed, 118-107, thanks to Kobe Bryant channeling his inner NBA MVP with a mix of ruthless assassin in fourth quarter to help drive the gold-plated stake into the opponent.

Of course, it would be foolish to forget about Dwyane Wade’s contribution either. While Kobe played the closer by scoring 14-fourth quarter points — complete with a shushing of the Spanish fans — it was Wade who put Team USA on his back through quarters one-through-three. Wade finished the game with 27 points that included a back-breaking 3-point bomb as the Spanish were trying to rally late in the fourth quarter — complete with an awesome thug mug for the opposing crowd.

Redemption

What does this mean for 2012? Is this the start of something new for USA Basketball or was this a blaze of glory that will be pushed aside as these foreign basketball players become more and more comfortable playing against the United States? In order to keep their momentum going, they’ll have to keep sending talented teams that are committed to the process and are willing to take part in Team USA activities over the next few summers.

Can we expect players like Wade and King James to be in London for 2012 or will they give way to the Greg Odens and Mike Beasleys of the world? What about a coach? Coach Krzyzewski indicated this would be his only Olympics, so does that give way to Mike D’antoni and Nate McMillan?

With all these questions moving forward, it’s probably a good thing the Olympics are only once every four years.

Congratulations, Redeemers. You certainly earned it.

“Yo, Jamaican Sprinters Taking Over the World”

Usain

Those are the prophetically true words of Asafa Powell after the Jamaican Sprint team shattered the 4×100 world record — a feat we lucky Americans won’t get to see until tonight.

With no American’s in the field, the Jamaican team, led by Powell and Usain “Inhuman” Bolt, finished in 37.10, erasing the World Record — one that had stood since 1992 — as well as Carl Lewis’ last entry in those books. For Bolt, it’s three races, three records and while it doesn’t look like he’ll run any more races, I’d still like to see Bolt in the 4×400.

There’s no such thing as too much Bolt in my opinion, even if I have to wait until “PRIME TIME” viewing hours to see it.

Another thing I’ve noticed is the Phelps eight seems like it’s been forgotten — except when his sex life is involved (um, how about an “EWW” to the over-airbrushed Amanda Beard.) — even by NBC. It’s safe to say the Bolt of Supernova provided by the Jamaican sprinter with tons of charisma is the cause.

While the IOC president frowns upon his actions — and ignores the tons of stories about age issues, pathetic judging, and the steadily-cracking facade the Chinese put on. Good thing the games end soon, otherwise, the curtain just might fall completely.

Regardless of these inconsistencies, Bolt’s presence at the Olympics should be celebrated and the IOC President, if he was smart, would run out of his press box and start dancing with Bolt, instead of chastising him for it. Apparently, he doesn’t realize just how important of a distraction Bolt’s performances and subsequent celebrations are.

They make people forget — or ignore — his deal with the Red Dragon and all that it involves.

USA/Argentina – Live

Redeem Team

Sorry this started so late; I wasn’t sure what channel they were showing this game on. It was NBC or USA like they have been. No, this time, they choose the Hi-Def NBC Basketball channel, a channel I didn’t know existed. Nothing like bucking tradition when showing one of the more important games the Redeemers are playing in Beijing. That makes perfect sense.

OK, enough NBC-bashing. The game is underway and the the US is wearing their blue jerseys and will probably rely a great deal on their depth to put Argentina away late.

9:30 – JASON KIDD IS STILL PERFECT AS HE HITS ANOTHER 3-POINTER!!!!!!!!!! And on the next possession, he finally misses his first shot of the Olympics. Sadness looms. Hopefully, disaster doesn’t.

9:33 – Ginobili picks up his second foul with four minutes left in the first quarter. Now it appears as if Manu has hurt his foot. If he’s done, so is Argentina.

9:35 – Six turnovers already for the Argentinians. Kobe has nine points, five more than his

It’s 21-4 and waiting on some James free throws to take it to 23-4. This one may be over as soon as it starts, as the Redeemers hitting ground running with a 18-0 run.

Oh yeah, James missed both freebies.

9:43 – Argentina switches to a zone and Team USA promptly hits two threes. And now, Chris Bosh gets fouled hitting a putback and now has a chance for an old-fashioned three-point play.

At the end of the first quarter – 30-11.

And Ginobili is going back to the locker room to get his foot looked at. That does not bode well for his team.

9:48 – Chris Paul is abusing EVERYONE who is trying to guard him as he gets his ninth point already.

9:53 – Kobe gets a dunk blocked and Argentina hits a three. In normal circumstances, this might be bad for a team that has a lead but, as long as Manu is out, this just seems like using your finger to stop a dam from flooding.

37-23.

9:55 – I guess the above entry is a not as complimentary to Argentina as it should be. Team USA has gotten sloppy, allowing a 10-3 run.

10:00 – The sloppy play continues as the Redeemers allow Argentina to get within 10. They are missing shots and turning the ball over. Looks like they relaxed after getting up big and with Ginobili’s injury. Michael Redd is in to get Argentina out of the zone.

10:10 – Team USA’s woes continue as they allow Luis Scola to single-handedly outplay them and since Argentina has gone to the zone, the U.S. has played like garbage by missing threes (6-20), turning the ball over and by playing lackluster defense.

They still have the lead though, but if they were playing like they were capable — like a true team — they’d be hammering the Argentinians.

Alas, halftime score – 49-40.

No commercials here, so that’s kinda weird. Here’s some halftime entertainment for your enjoyment. Please keep your eye on the drummer. Best. Performance. Ever.

Be back in a few. Hopefully, Team USA’s game will be too.

10:30 – We’re back and apparently, Coach K ripped his team at the half. Good. Let’s see if it works.

Two Howard buckets puts the Redeemers back up by 13.

10:33 – Team USA is playing better defense in the third quarter, but it HAS to continue. No more lapses or Argentina — Ginobili or not — will only continue to gain more confidence.

10:35 – Carmelo has decided to be the team enforcer after Nocioni hammers Howard.

Good stuff.

10:40 – This is a weird 3rd quarter. We’ve had a technical foul that led to four free throws for Carmelo Anthony. Luis Scola is tearing the U.S. a new ass on the offensive end but the Redeemers are still up by 17. Unless Argentina EXPLODES from downtown, this game is safe for Team USA, but they certainly haven’t played their best.

Not even close.

10:45 – In more Carmelo Anthony news, he’s 11-11 from the free throw line. Argentina as a team is perfect as well. Team USA by 18.

10:50 – Annnnnnnnnnnnd the U.S. has relaxed again and let Argentina get back within 14. Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. Fourth quarter upcoming.

In other news, this is the first time I’ve watched a televised basketball game without ANY commercials. I think I kind of miss them. Where’s my AT&T? Where’s my McDonalds? Wait, what am I talking about?

This is pretty awesome.

10:53 – And Team USA starts the fourth with, wait for it, a turnover.

The Redeem Team defense is absolutely terrible tonight. If they do this against Spain, they will be in danger of turning their golden dreams silver. Bad, bad defense.

10:56 – LeBron has already scored eight points and the fourth quarter is only about two minutes old.

11:00 – Wow. The U.S. cannot sustain a damn thing when it comes to good play. And again, their defense is ATROCIOUS. Delfino and Scola are absolutely KILLING the Americans.

11:03 – Team USA has 15 turnovers, tying Argentina. Entirely too many 3-pointers for the U.S., but, the zone allows that and takes them out of the open court, where Team USA absolutely destroys teams. Right now, it’s a 15-point margin but the Redeemers just could never put that killing run together.

11:10 – Ultimately, a win is a win is a win. And the U.S. is going to win going away (now 20) but Spain will probably use this game as a blueprint Sunday morning. Expect A LOT of zone from the Spaniards and a lot of pick-and-roll with their speedy guards.

If they can duplicate the Delfino/Scola attack, they’ll have a chance against Team USA.

Final score — 101 – 81.

Carmelo is your leading scorer with 21, but he was 3-14 from the field. He was perfect from the line however. Overall, an interesting game. Should be a good one on Sunday.

Player of the game — Chris Bosh. 11 points, 11 boards

10 Olympic Hotties You Might Have Missed

Olympic Stuff

What should be one of the first things you think of when the Olympics comes up? The Michael Phelps gold rush? That’s for trend followers. Usain Bolt running so fast it looks like he’s flying? Save that crap for the NFL scouts trying to find another Willie Gault.

No, if you are watching the Olympics and you are male, your primary concern is getting to see as many attractive women athletes as you can — you know, because of all the variety — or at least it should be. There are just so many to see. And by “so many,” I mean a lot.

Various sports blogs — places like The Sports Hernia, With Leather, Epic Carnival and Busted Coverage just to name a few — have done a great job of documenting these attractive ladies and because of their efforts, we know all about the Stephanie Rices, Alicia Sacramones and Leryn Francos (yowza!!!) of the world. But because there are just so many, it’s hard to be comprehensive in this endeavor.

Therefore, I’m adding my two-cents to help make this sometimes-ugly sports world a prettier place. And with that, we are officially off. Introducing:

Fatima Moreira de Melo

Fatima Moreira de Melo

After looking at these pictures, I’m beginning to think Fatima Moreira de Melo is simply using the Netherlands field hockey program to keep her figure like that, something I stand behind, wholeheartedly. I’m sure she’s a fine Olympian, but damn, she takes some really hot pictures as well.

There’s a lot more Fatima where the above image came from.

See more Olympic Hotties after the jump >>

Hope Solo Gets Her Redemption

Hope Solo

It was a long wait for her shot at redemption, but when the call came, Hope Solo responded where others have failed — Solo shut out the might Brazilian team as the Women’s U.S. Soccer team beat Brazil 1-0 for the Olympic gold medal.

The lone goal was provided by Carli Lloyd in the first stanza of extra-time. In the second portion, the U.S. fought off wave after wave of Brazilian attacks as they tried desperately to equalize the game. But Solo was not to be denied. The game had a huge amount of meaning for Solo, who was benched during the World Cup when the Americans played Brazil.

The resulting beatdown — 4-0 — stung the benched goalie so much, she sounded off on the U.S. coaching staff after the game. This resulted in her being ostracized by the team and put the goalie in damage control mode for a few months after the Brazil debacle.

But the opportunity for redemption came with the Beijing Olympics and this time, Solo did not let it slip away. The fact that she anchored a performance that blanked one of the best offensive soccer teams in the tournament is a testament to her ability to bounce back and help lead her team to victory.

In this case, Beijing Gold.

U.S. Men Sweep The 400

400 Sweep

While the track and field portion of the Beijing Olympics have been slightly disappointing for Team USA, there have been flashes of greatness as well. No, the Americans didn’t have their normal-dominant outing in the sprint events but you can blame the incredible Jamaican track team for that. But, thanks to the 400-meter race, as well as American runners Lashawn Merritt, Jeremy Wariner and David Neville, all is not lost.

The three swept the Men’s 400-meter race, with Merritt taking the gold, Wariner the silver and Neville the bronze. The surprise of the race was Wariner, the 2004 gold medalist, coming in second to Merritt. After winning gold in Athens, he was the favorite to repeat in Beijing.

Apparently, Merritt had other ideas.

Obviously, this sets the United States up rather well as they get ready for the 4×400-relay, a race they should be the overwhelming favorites in, even if Usain Bolt runs a leg for Jamaica. Naturally, the American sweep of the 400 won’t be shown until they get to that coveted prime time slot on NBC tonight.

Maybe in 2012, the U.S. Track Team should recruit Michael Phelps. That way, they’d be guaranteed good coverage from the Peacock Network because what we have right now just out-and-out sucks. And if you don’t believe me, just ask all of the Americans who got to see Usain Bolt break Michael Johnson’s record in the 200-meter dash almost 12 hours after it happened.