Friday, July 27, 2012

The Greatest London Olympics Preview

This is not your typical Olympic preview debating whether Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte will win more medals or dissecting the U.S. men’s basketball team. Instead, this preview highlights some of the more random parts of the Olympics and my friend Ric Blas competing in his second Olympic Games for Guam in Judo. I’m sure that you’re wondering how I know an Olympic athlete, particularly one from Guam. Did you know that I was fairly well known in the judo world for my prowess on the mat? You probably didn't know this since it isn't true. I did earn a white belt from doing one month of karate though!

Actually, I noticed Ric during the Beijing Games, since he was difficult to miss as Guam’s flag-bearer, and he later agreed to do an interview with me. While I’ve never personally met Ric, we’ve been Facebook friends for the past four years, and he’s a very cool guy. While NBC will focus on swimming, gymnastics and track and field, I highly encourage you to find Ric’s judo matches and support him. I’ll include some pictures of Ric from London throughout this piece and you should check out this recent interview of Ric by (even though my interview was significantly better), but let the Olympic preview begin!

- The complete roster of the American Olympic team includes three people named Sean. Therefore, I would also like to invite Sean Furey, Javelin Throw; Sean Rooney, Volleyball Outside Hitter; and Sean Rosenthal, Beach Volleyball to share any thoughts on the Olympics since this blog is Sean's Ramblings! [ESPN]

- The best name in the Olympics is clearly Dong Dong of China. Dong Dong is the favorite to win gold in the Men's Trampoline after earning a bronze medal in Beijing and winning the 2012 London Test Event. Yes, I am 12 years old sometimes. [NBC Olympics]

- With Rafael Nadal withdrawing from the Olympics stating that he is "not in condition" to compete, I'd like to congratulate Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer for winning the men's tennis Olympic medals! It's just a matter of who wins gold, silver and bronze.

- The first athlete kicked out of the Olympics for steroids is Voula Papachristou of Greece. Wait a minute, Papachristou was actually expelled for a racist joke on Twitter. [Yahoo]

- Meanwhile Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice is also on Twitter and posted this picture earlier this summer.

- Donald Sanford was born in Los Angeles and attended Arizona State University where he met his future wife. This doesn't sound at all unusual, right? Well, his wife is an Israeli who was studying abroad. Sanford is now an Israeli citizen running track for Israel. Despite being born in America and attending ASU, Sanford can now be deported any time he visits Arizona based on the state's laws. (That last line is not in the article.) [The Times of Israel]

- Archery will likely be more popular this year than ever before courtesy of The Hunger Games. I put the over/under of references to Katniss Everdeen and the movie/book during the Olympics at 72,591.

- This is a list of all Olympians that have ties to Western Pennsylvania. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]

- Amazing story about Guor Marial, a runner that does not have a country. [ESPN]

- With Bravo airing some Olympic events, I'm looking forward to seeing The Real Housewives of London.

- The second greatest Olympic name is William Speed Lane Fox-Pitt. Yes, Speed Lane is really his middle name. It’s like Megan Fox and Brad Pitt had a son who became a British equestrian guy. [Facebook]

- Let me address Michael Phelps. First, does his mother still have a clothing line at Chico’s? Phelps is expected to break the record for most Olympic medals by surpassing Soviet Union gymnast Larisa Latynina who won 18 medals in the 1956-1964 games. While this is an amazing accomplishment, it’s not really fair. As a swimmer, Phelps competes in 7 or more medal events during the Olympics. Meanwhile, the greatest wrestler (for example) of all time can only win 1 medal during the games. There’s no team wrestling event or different styles of wrestling, such as arm wrestling or a steel cage version, like there is for swimming. I feel like Phelps should compete in one swimming event and then try to medal in shot put or something.

- Americans Gabby Douglas (gymnastics) and Ellis Coleman (Greco-Roman wrestler) are both nicknamed the Flying Squirrel. If either or both of them win a medal, Ithaca College will create a flying squirrel mascot. (No one who reads this blog will understand this reference.) [Rapid City Journal]

- Speaking of Ithaca College, good luck to Meghan Musnicki '05, a member of the US Olympic Rowing Team. [Ithaca College Athletics]

- A friend of mine knew track athlete Aires Merritt from the University of Tennessee. Unfortunately, he can't share any of the stories due to attorney-client privilege, a confidentiality agreement and the Hippocratic Oath.

- Daniel, a friend of Sean's Ramblings, created a Team Israel Olympics video page. Check it out throughout the Games. [Sass Video]

If you made it all the way to the end of this preview, thank you. I'll have much more about Ric throughout the Olympics and you can follow him on Twitter.

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