Man, running is just plain awesome.
I feel like I don’t say that nearly enough — probably because when I’m running, the word “awesome” is the last that comes to mind. “Torture,” maybe. “Pain,” definitely. Never “awesome.” But it really is. Especially when someone else is doing it.
Last night, track and field delivered some really stand-out moments in an Olympics that has largely been dominated by mermen and flying squirrels. (The Olympics are weird.) But for more on all of that, read below for your recap, written — ironically — by one of the least athletic people you’ll ever encounter.
Track Cycling — Last night, Jason Kenny claimed a gold for Great Britain in this somewhat baffling sport. (“Why is that man hugging the racer?” “WHY ARE THEY GOING SO SLOW!?!”) And I’ll just add this victory to the ever-growing list of things that the British do better than Americans. Currently No. 1 on that list, by the way? Awesome couples. I’m looking at you, Olympics royal-loyals William and Kate.
Men’s 400m Hurdles — Lashinda Demus stole my heart during the women’s semis, but over on the men’s side you’d have had a hard time finding a dry eye in the arena when Felix Sanchez was winning the Dominican Republic’s first Olympic medal. Sanchez, who ran the race in memory of his late grandma, had pinned a photo of them together beneath his race bib. After he won, Sanchez, who at 34 is the oldest man to win an Olympic sprint race of 400 meters or less, took out the picture and kissed it. Ugh. Racing, you’ve obviously been taking lessons from P&G commercials.
Women’s Gymnastics, uneven bars — When I learned midday yesterday that “Flying Squirrel” Gabby Douglas had failed to medal, I thought for sure something catastrophic had occurred. She must had fallen off the bars, flipped off a judge, or been cut in two by Russian laser eyes. To my surprise, none of that happened; it was simply a super intense night of competition. In the end, the Russian who always looks like she’s going to cry won. Douglas came in dead last, but remains No. 1 in my heart.
Women’s Pole Vault — The winds were not in the favor of the female pole vaulters yesterday, and after a few faults, victory looked like a distant dream for American Jenn Suhr. Luckily, those who competed after her couldn’t shift the winds either, and she ended up getting gold anyway. Thank you, Winds!
Men’s Gymnastics, vault — Yang Hak Seon from South Korea ended up delivering a show-stopping performance, edging Denis Ablyazin from Russia and Igor Radivilov from Ukraine — even though I was sure Chilean Tomas Gonzalez had it in the bag. (Quick aside: While I appreciate sparing feelings, I had to laugh when the commentator said Gonzalez had a “very unique way of running.” Decoding the commentary is really a sport in itself, and I think I’ll take a page from their book from now on. Ex: “Those are some very unique outfit choices, synchronized swimmers.”)
Other finals results — Brazilian gymnast Arthur Nabarrete Zanetti took gold in men’s rings, and Grenada’s Kirani James took gold in 400 meters, giving the small island their first Olympic medal ever. Who loves celebration videos? ME!! Now I feel like a jerk for not mentioning both of these sooner…
Semifinal quick hits: Latvian men’s beach volleyballers knocked the U.S. men out of the competition. And as I mentioned in Studs, hurdle wonder Demus and the U.S. women’s soccer team are headed to the finals!
What were your highlights, PopWatchers?