Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Observations from the Couch 8.15

The Olympics ended a few days ago so I suppose it's time I stop writing about them, they are over and i have a late Saturday date with Air France that is taking over more and more of my brain power. What I had been trying to do for my last Olympic post was jot down my favorite moments and just do a look back over the games. The problem was I constantly returned to one thing, the American women. Again I don't want to sound like some kind of American zealot but I can't say enough about them.

A lot was made of the fact that for the first time there were more women on the U.S. team than men. In all honesty that fact is just a bit overdone because it was a majority of one. If American men actually knew how to play soccer, or for that matter field hockey, there would have been no female majority. What impresses me is that 63% of the medals won by Americans went to women athletes, that is historic.

Soccer, swimming, basketball, track, and gymnastics were the big headline grabbers, and deservedly so, but there was barely a sport where the women didn't have an impact. From a rich tennis star to a poor boxer from Detroit American women dominated the London games to the point that if they were a country they would have been fourth in total medals and only China and Great Britain won more golds than them. What is even more fun is that the women won more total medals (58 to 45) and more gold medals (29 to 17) than the American men.

Twenty years ago at the Barcelona games only 25% of the total athletes were women and 34 teams had no women at all. In London 44% of the athletes were women and every one of the 204 teams included women. In fact women were a majority on three of the five largest teams, the United States, Russia, and China. Remember the London games for what you will but history is going to remember them as the games where women first showed what they could do given an equal Olympic sized playing field.

Watching the games I cruised through a range of emotions but it wasn't till near the end that I realized more than anything else I was just proud.


Before i say goodbye to the Olympics a few more odds and ends. Here is a look at what Penn State athletes did in London. Megan Hodge and Christa Harmotto won silver medals with the U.S. women's volleyball team, Erin McLeod and Carmelina Moscato won bronze medals with the Canadian women's soccer team, and Natalie Dell won a bronze medal in the women’s quadruple sculls for the United States. I have no idea what a scull is but Dell was the first Penn Stater to ever row in the Olympics. However I do know what a goalie is and McCleod was Canada's awesome goalie who shutout France in the bronze medal game.

Finally, after complaining the Japanese silver medal winning women's soccer team had their flight upgraded to business class for the trip home. For the trip to London they had flown economy class while the men's team flew business. The Japanese women are the reigning world champions of women's soccer and were favorite to challenge the U.S. team for the gold medal. The Japanese men weren't expected to do crap London and didn't disappoint.

So its been fun, now I'm just going to kick back and wait for that call from ESPN. See you all in Rio.