Monday, August 6, 2012

Observations from the Couch 8.6

The U.S. field hockey team played South Africa in its final opening round game this morning. When I started writing this South Africa had scored four goals in the first half while going into the game they had only scored a total of four goals in the entire tournament. SA won by a final of 7-0, in it's opening game South Africa lost to Argentina 7-1, Argentina being the only team the U.S. defeated. The Americans, a team that started the Olympics with medal hopes, will play Wednesday in the 11th place consolation game.

Only four teams make the medal round in Olympic field hockey. The likely first round games should be the defending gold medalists from the Netherlands playing New Zealand while Australia plays China in the second game but both could change as today progresses. As the last games are played only the Netherlands has clinched a medal round berth. But looking farther ahead the Netherlands and Australia, the two perennial field hockey powers, have never played for the Olympic gold medal.

The first week of the London games is past and one of my lasting memories will be of South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius who made history by being the first double amputee to ever compete in the Olympics. After he won the 400m semi-final Sunday night Kirani James of Grenada immediately sought out Pistorius to shake his hand and trade name cards in one of those moments I watch the games for. Whether you believe he has some sort of unfair advantage or not, I don't,  it was one of those moments that change everything. The day is fast approaching when the sports world is going to have to come to grips with equipment that does enhance an athlete's performance. Not like light weight running shoes or graphite hockey sticks do but in a more basic biomechanical way.

Here is the link to a good video bio of Pistorius by Mary Carillo, NBC doesn't have an embed option for its videos.

Later today the women's soccer medal round begins with the possibility of it ending with a U.S. versus France rematch in the gold medal game Thursday afternoon EST.

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