Tougher at the beach than at BMX
Now, I don’t want to denigrate BMX as an Olympic sport (actually, I do but I’ll wait a couple of paragraphs to do it) so I will just make this point as a matter of comparison:
It was pouring rain when we woke up here this morning on the day BMX was to award its first medals. And while the kids cowered and postponed everything a day, the women’s beach volleyball gold medal match went on, downpour or not.
Maybe the cyclists were worried all the metal they wear in various piercings might rust.
Speaking of BMX, My Man Perk was out there this morning here (last night there) for the rainout of the big medal day and that gave him a chance to talk to a dude who actually paid money to have his name legally changed to reflect his dedication to, and style of playing, the sport.
I can’t give away all of Perk’s great lines but I encourage you all to wake up early tomorrow and read the column. It’s a classic.
The Special Meat/Rodent Palace is back in our news.
Chatting with a couple of NBA and writer types at halftime of the USA-Australia game and conversation got around to the joint and whether anybody’s gone back there since the, um, mouse/rat/scorpion-as-big-as-your-arm incident.
One guy in the conversation was aghast that it’s no longer popular.
"Hey, if you can see them, they’re not cooking them.”
That’s oddly logical, isn’t it?
You know how I’ve been lauding the volunteers here for their willingness to do almost anything – including scraping the food from our plates and separating the recyclables from our breakfast trays?
Well, they went above and beyond on Friday morning when we all awoke to a terrific downpour that lasted about four hours.
Usually, when we go through the security check in the massive tent at the village, we’ve got about a 60-metre walk to the buses that are inevitably waiting.
Today, not only had they pulled the buses right up to the tent, there were four volunteers – two on each side – standing there holding umbrellas so we wouldn’t get too wet on the three or four steps we had to take from tent to bus.
Now that’s service.
Mail’s in, at least a quickie:
Q: Why does Team USA chose low numbers for their jerseys? (ex. Bosh #12)
Tom R, Toronto
A: FIBA rules stipulate that teams can only use numbers 4-15 on their jerseys. It was done mainly for the referees to signal calls to the scorers table. Watch them, they use the right hand for calls on Nos. 4 and 5, two hands for 6 through 10 and a closed left fist and fingers on the right hand for calls on players 11 through 15.
Okay, back to BMX.
Not sure it was who said it, but watching the time trials – one rider over a bunch of bumps and around some turns – was like watching some kid ride away after stealing your child’s bike.
One of the theories being bandied about at the basketball tournament regarding Spain and Jose Calderon is rather intriguing.
It has been suggested by people in the know that Spanish coach Aito Garcia Reneses is more interested in using Ricky Rubio and Rudy Fernandez because they play, or have played, for him at Joventut Badalona of the ABC.
That makes as much sense as anything because while Rubio is flashy, he’s still 17 and tends to play a wee bit out of control. Sometimes it’s exceptional – he’s a couple of Maravich Moments in the games I’ve seen – but he’s also tried such novel things as throwing lob pasess off the backboard intended for teammates who never saw them coming.
Now, there are a lot of places where lob passes off the backboard are a wonderful idea, charity games, garbage time of summer leagues, your rec league or the playground. The Olympics? Not one of them.
Speaking of Jose, he’s to have an MRI late today here (or just a while ago depending on when I get this blog posted) and I’m told by Someone Who’d Know that he won’t step on the court for Friday’s semifinal against
Argentina Lithuania (oops) unless he’s 100 per cent. He’s given his word to the Raptor bosses and there’s no reason to think he’d go back on it.
Q: Doug, we've seen Michael Phelps wear two bathing caps to prevent water resistance from his goggles' strap and Walter Dix wear wind resistant sleeves in the 100m sprints. With all the focus on athletes doing "anything" to win and with placings in swimming and track coming within 100th's of seconds, do you know why some athletes insist on wearing heavy jewellery or "bling" during races?
Don W, North York
A: It’s easy: Vanity.
Now, that’s how you finish a race.
The 200 turned in by Usain Bolt on Wednesday night here was an exciting an athletic performance as I’ve maybe ever seen. I liked it even better than his 100 win and it probably tops my past favourite, which was Donovan Bailey’s 100 win in Atlanta
The reason? He went all out, all the way. It was that kind of once-in-a-lifetime performance that I’ll remember much more fondly than his 100 win.
I saw Michael Johnson run 19:32 in Atlanta and didn’t think I’d ever see a better sprint. Now I have.
They won’t mind if I give ‘em up.
Q: "Only thing that made it worthwhile was hanging with a couple of American basketball writers who made it a point at every Games to see the last-place games in both the men’s and women’s tournaments. Masochists."
Who are the couple of writers'? Anyone we would know?
Shawn L, Bowmanville
A: You might. Couple of very good friends, the legendary Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe, who’s here as it turns out; and Jim O’Connell of the Associated Press, who isn’t here but who’s forgotten more about international basketball than I’ll ever know.