25 August 2008

Olympic Memories

As the 2008 Summer Olympics drew to a close tonight, and our television gets a much needed break, I thought I'd write up some of my thoughts and impressions of the past few weeks.



1. 2008 drummers in unison


This was probably my favorite part of the unbelievable opening ceremony. When I saw them perform the 60 second countdown, I could hardly believe my eyes. I can't imagine the number of hours of practice they had to go through to get that right.


2. Lezak coming back from behind to help the US beat the French in the 4x100 free relay


Just desserts, especially after the French team talked smack about how they were going to smash the Americans. Just desserts. If I remember correctly, the last time the Frenchies smashed anything significant was during the Napoleonic era. Hey France, that's what you get for trash talking the country that liberated your sorry nation during the second World War. In case you forgot, the great state of Texas is bigger than your entire country.  And finally, never forget what happened to your country in the 2000 Sydney Olympics...

Yes, Frenchies, even your own commentators were blown away.


3. China versus USA basketball game

Likely, the most watched basketball game of all time, with viewers in the billions, this game carried a lot of symbolic meaning. From President Bush in the US pre-game huddle to the entire stadium proudly singing the Chinese national anthem, it was quite the spectacle. This was one of the showcase events for the nation of China. Too bad the US still blew them out of the water. China, we might let you produce poisonous toys for our children, but that doesn't mean we'll ever let you beat us at basketball. USA! USA! USA!


4. Bob Costas interview with George Bush

I happened to watch this live, and thought to myself, "Boy, that Bob Costas is one mighty good interviewer." President Bush also presented himself quite well. Some might say this is surprising, since everyone knows he is not a great orator. On a side note, Vanessa and I watched a documentary a few nights ago called Journeys with George. It presents the symbiotic relationship between the press and the presidential candidates. Quite insightful, especially with the upcoming presidential election. Check it out when you get the chance.


5. Jamaican' me crazy! 


The boy is wicked fast. World records in both the 100m and 200m.


6. USA vs Spain, Basketball Gold Medal game

The so-called "Redeem Team" pulled it out in a surprisingly close one, especially since the US blew out Spain by 37 in their first round game. It was nice seeing Dwayne Wade back in top form again,and his alley-oop to Kobe against Greece was probably the top basketball highlight of the entire games, although Fernandez's dunk on Howard in this game was a close second.

Nice commercial by the marketing genius's at Nike that makes you proud to be an American and a basketball fan, ha ha.


And of course, no highlight reel can end without mention of the amazing


7. Michael Phelps, going 8 for 8.



8 gold medals? Are you kidding me? By the end of Phelp's quest for perfection, even Benjamin was a fan...




Unfortunately, it wasn't all great...

1. Slant-eyes photos

Spain - Men's basketball team


Spain - Women's basketball team

Beijing Olympics Spain Photo

Spain - Men's and Women's tennis team


Argentina - Women's soccer team


Ha ha, part of me thinks it's all  funny and part of me thinks it's kind of sad. Maybe Latinos really do hate Asians. Course, we know that's not true, because otherwise, how do you explain our boy Benjamin, or Kayla Alarcon, or the entire Filipino people? Actually, the fact of the matter is, Latinos heart Asians, or at least they love working at our restaurants. Ouch, low blow. Sorry. Guess that's some repressed anger coming back out after enduring years of slanty-eyed jokes while growing up in San Antonio, Texas. Hallelujah, in the one new man there cannot be Latinos or Slanty-eyes!


2. The little girl who wasn't allowed to sing


"The main consideration was the national interest," he said. "The child on the screen should be flawless in image, in her internal feelings, and in her expression. In the matter of her voice, Yang Peiyi was flawless, in the unanimous opinion of all the members of the team."

That was until attention turned to Yang Peiyi's teeth. Nevertheless, Mr Chen thought the end result a perfect compromise.

"So we made the choice. I think it is fair to both Lin Miaoke and Yang Peiyi - after all, we have a perfect voice, a perfect image and a perfect show, in our team's view, all together."

Wow, they created the perfect little girl. Congratulations you slanty-eyed communist masters of propaganda! 


3.  The 16 year old Chinese gymnasts

Yeah, right.


I know Asians age well, but this was ridiculous.



4. The ultimate sore loser


Cuba's Angel Matos displays his displeasure at the ref's ruling by kicking him in the face. You stay classy Angel.


5. The London portion of the closing ceremony

bus jimmypage

LONDON—How can London, host of the 2012 Olympic Games, possibly compete with China? How can it top the eye-popping pyrotechnics, the cast of thousands, and the architectural gem of a stadium that were part and parcel of the successful Beijing 2008 Olympics?It can't, London's organizers admit.

It can't, London's organizers admit.

So it won't even try.

(You can read the rest of the article here.)

I guess they already stopped trying, based on their 8 minute segment.  Granted, no one expects the proper Brits to spend anywhere near the $44 billion that China has poured out on their one big "China is great!" infomercial, but still...a transforming bus? Leona Lewis? Jimmy Page? David Beckham kicking a soccer ball? Apparently, the transforming bus and Beckham's appearance cost the Brits $9 million dollars. Is that all $9 million dollars buys you these days? Looks like that is $9 million less you will have to spend on your 2012 games, but it probably won't make much difference, based on this debacle. I found myself cringing during the entire segment and felt embarrassed for the performers. It was the same feeling I had when Vanessa dragged me to a production of Viva El Paso! last time we were in her hometown...usually, it is performed in the McKelligon Canyon Amphitheater, with the Franklin mountains as a backdrop. From what Vanessa tells me, it is a beautiful setting. Unfortunately, when we saw it, the Amphitheater was being renovated, so we ended up at the El Paso Civic Center. Let's just say, the production probably benefits a lot from the natural outdoor setting, and we'll just leave it at that.  No viva Viva El Paso! But I digress...

"Beckham, brought up in east London, hailed Beijing's success but told Reuters before the ceremony: "I'm sure we will be better than them, without a doubt." (article here)

Looks like Beckham is still bending it, only this time what he's bending is the truth. Ha ha, guess that's why he's paid not to prognosticate, but to play soccer.

(nagging thought - how in the world did Atlanta land the 1996 games? I've been to Atlanta, it's got a great aquarium, I have family who live there, but sorry Atlanta, you ain't no LA, Chicago or London)


Final thoughts


I think we can all agree that China put on a pretty good show for the world, and that probably no other Olympic games in our lifetime will ever match the spectacle of these Beijing games. On a personal note, it was a nice family-friendly way to conclude what has been one great summer. Well, if family-friendly means sitting on our rears, watching TV, while ingesting huge amounts of junk food. Hey, wait a minute, what's more American than that? USA! USA! USA! To everyone who participated in a similar way, be proud, you are all true patriots!

Benjamin really enjoyed the swimming portion of the games but alas, showed no interest in the Redeem Team, despite my best efforts. Guess he is still not a fan of Kobe, ha ha.

Here's a photo gallery of some of the best images of these games, taken by the photographers at Sports Illustrated. 

Finally, I want to finish with this simple but profound statement. In the words of the American patriot Lee Greenwood, "I am proud to be an American, where at least I know I am free...God bless the USA!"


  1. Well said, Sam! We have a lot of the same highlights (and lowlights -- what were the Spaniards thinking? Duh!). I guess Caroline and Benjamin are both big Michael Phelps fans now!

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