Sunday, August 17, 2008

World's Fastest Man, Twice

In the most outrageous display of speed to ever burn across the Olympic Games, Usain Bolt of Jamaica rocketed to gold in winning the men's 100m dash in 9.69 seconds -- not only a new world record but the first time in the history of human beings a man has run the distance under 9.7 seconds without a significant tailwind.

Incredibly, Usain "Lightning" Bolt, 21, could have gone faster.

With a full seven strides to go, he dropped his arms and let them fall outstretched to his sides, appearing almost to run sideways as he played to the sold-out crowd of 91,000 at the Bird's Nest. Just before the finish line, he started high-stepping and, for good measure, executed a chest-thump.

Richard Thompson of Trinidad & Tobago finished second, a full two-tenths of a second back, in 9.89. "Usain Bolt is just a great athlete," Thompson said. "He came in here and ran a phenomenal race."

Walter Dix of the United States took third, in 9.91.

Tyson Gay of the United States, who suffered a hamstring strain at the U.S. Olympic Trials in early July, failed to make it out of his semifinal heat.

Gay, the 2007 world champion at both the 100m and 200m, finished fifth of eight in his semifinal earlier Saturday night. Only the top four advance.

"It was kind of devastating," he said.

Gay ran a 9.77-second 100m in the quarterfinals of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon. That's now the American record.

Then, in the Trials finals, Gay ran a wind-aided 9.68. It's not a world record, not even an American record because of the wind. But it is still - even after Saturday night - the fastest time recorded in history.

As for the 21-year-old Bolt -- he was, until this season, a 200m guy.

Including these Olympics, Bolt has run perhaps a dozen competitive 100m sprints in his entire life.

"You have people who are exceptions," said Stephen Francis, the coach of Bolt’s main Jamaican rival, Asafa Powell, the former 100 world-record holder. "You have Einstein. You have Isaac Newton. You have Beethoven. You have Usain Bolt. It’s not explainable how and what they do."

Unstoppable Bolt Breaks Record in 200-Meter, Too

Running hard through the finish, Bolt not only ran 19.30, breaking the world record by two-hundredths of a second less than two hours before his 22nd birthday, but he seemed to set new parameters on what humans can achieve.

The record was 19.32 seconds, set by the American Michael Johnson in his possibility-altering moment at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Until Wednesday, no one other than Johnson had run faster than 19.62. Bolt’s previous best was 19.67.

Bolt became the first person since Carl Lewis in 1984 to win the 100 and the 200 in the same Olympics, and the first to do it while breaking both world records.

Bolt also ran the third leg of Jamaica's 4x100m relay, handing off to Asafa Powell, who brought it home for an easy gold.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Michael Phelps: 8 In '08

Michael Phelps went a perfect 8-for-8 in Beijing, breaking Mark Spitz's single-Games record of seven gold medals. He swam 17 times over nine days and broke the world record in four of his five individual swims. His three relay teams also set world marks.

"It might be once in a century you see something like this," teammate Aaron Peirsol said. "He's not just winning, he's absolutely destroying everything. It's awesome to watch."
In his first final, on Aug. 10, Phelps won the 400m IM in 4:03.86, more than a second faster than the record he set a month earlier at Olympic Trials. The next day, Phelps and the U.S. team squeaked out a win in the 4x100m freestyle relay. Phelps' leadoff leg of 47.51 was an American record, but anchor Jason Lezak dove in with more than a half-second deficit. Lezak posted the fastest relay split in history, 46.06, to catch Frenchman Alain Bernard for the win, by just .08 of a second.

Phelps easily won the 200m free, for his third gold in Beijing and his record-tying ninth career gold. But he wasn't tied for long, as the next morning, Phelps won two more gold medals: first, in the 200m butterfly, where the race was tighter than expected. But the only race in the 4x200m freestyle relay was for second, as the U.S. men, with Phelps leading off, broke the record by more than four seconds and beat the field by more than five. Phelps won his sixth gold with a dominating performance in the 200m IM, lowering his world record to 1:54.23.

His seventh gold was by the absolute slimmest of margins, .01 in the 100m butterfly. Phelps (right) appeared to trail Milorad Cavic (left) but his half stroke beat out Cavic's glide to the wall by a nail.

Phelps swam the butterfly leg of the 4x100m medley relay in the final event of the Beijing Olympic swimming competition. He left the blocks with his team third but gave the lead to Jason Lezak, who closed out the victory.

At first glance, Phelps might look like a typical swimmer. But several of his physical characteristics seem genetically tailored for swimming. His 6-foot-7-inch wingspan is three inches longer than his height, providing him with unusual reach. His torso is long compared to his legs, enabling him to ride high on the water. And his flexible ankles, combined with size-14 feet, allow for a powerful kick. Add to that more than a decade of high-intensity training, and you get one of the fastest swimmers in history.

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge called him simply "the icon of the games."

Phelps' feats have drawn banner headlines across the world, including in regions and countries where swimming normally gets scant attention, with newspapers and commentators tripping over each other for superlatives and nicknames:
Dubbed the "flying fish" or the "American superfish" by Chinese media.
"The barracuda from Baltimore," said Chile's largest newspaper, El Mercurio.
"The New Olympic Legend," blared Egypt's El Badeel.
"The American dolphin," wrote Spain's El Pais.
"The God of Olympia," intoned France's Nouvel Nouvel Observateur.
"The water man from another planet," hailed Denmark's Berligske Tidende.
"He doesn't swim - he flies," said the sports daily Ole in Argentina.
"The champion who swims in his own galaxy," wrote The Australian, a national broadsheet.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Nerdcore Hip-Hop

I know what you're thinking, and you're probably right. Nerds ARE awesome rappers. It's crazy I know. Check it out:

2 Skinnee J's "Riot Nrrrd" from their 1998 album SuperMercado!:

MC Frontalot's "Bizarro Genius Baby" from his 2007 album Secrets From The Future:

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hall Of Fame Game

Washington Redskins vs. Indianapolis Colts
August 3, 2008
Canton, Ohio
Pro Football Hall of Fame Field, Fawcett Stadium

Washington kicked off the beginning of the NFL's preseason schedule and the Zorn era with a 30-16 victory over the Colts in front of 22,216.

Quarterback Jason Campbell had a touchdown pass to Randle El on the game's opening drive, rookie quarterback Colt Brennan impressed in rallying the Redskins to the victory with two touchdown passes in his first professional outing, and the Redskins -- most important -- appeared to make it through without major injuries.

Campbell went 5 of 5 for 61 yards and one touchdown, his work finished after the Redskins' second drive.

In 10 attempts, Colt Brennan, drafted in the sixth round out of Hawaii, completed nine passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns.

With Portis out and Ladell Betts (thigh) sidelined, Cartwright and Marcus Mason split time in the backfield. Mason, who caught the go-ahead touchdown pass from Brennan in the fourth quarter, led the Redskins in rushing with 98 yards on 18 carries. Cartwright had 58 yards on 13 rushes.

Washington played Denver when it was last in the Hall of Fame game, in 2004. In the first preseason game of former coach Joe Gibbs's second stint with the team, Washington defeated the Broncos, 20-17. Tackle Jon Jansen suffered a season-ending knee injury on the first series.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

2008 Hall Of Fame Ceremony

CANTON, Ohio -- The Hall of Fame induction ceremony turned Hog wild Saturday.

Darrell Green and Art Monk walked across the stage waving their arms and urged thousands of Washington Redskins fans to give them one more salute. Emmitt Thomas, the former Chiefs player and Redskins coach, simply waved back.

And they applauded the three other inductees without Washington ties - Fred Dean, Andre Tippett and Gary Zimmerman - knowing they would have fit in with the Redskins' blue-collar reputation.

Green, the oldest cornerback in league history (42) when he retired in 2002, spoke of the deaths of two close friends from his childhood days and the deaths last year of two former teammates - Kevin Mitchell and Sean Taylor.

As usual, Green did his own thing though. The only player in the '08 class selected in his first year of eligibility was also the only one to cry, and he was proud of it.

Darrell Green
Position: Cornerback
Teams: Washington Redskins
Years: 1983 to 2002
Seasons: 20
Honors and achievements:
• First-round pick in 1983 draft
• Had at least one INT in 19 straight seasons
• Selected to seven Pro Bowls

"Can I tell you today, at the expense of sounding real self-righteous, I belong here? I belong here. I belong here because I know what to do with it. I know what to do with God's fame, with God's dollars, with God's visibility, God's influence and relationships. I know what to do with it."

Art Monk
Position: Wide receiver
Teams: Redskins/Jets/Eagles
Years: 1980 to 1995
Seasons: 16
Honors and achievements:
• First-round pick in 1980 draft
• Had at least one catch in 164 straight games
• Had five 1,000-yard receiving season

What I've tried to convey to those who were upset about the process was that I was okay with it. But in all due respect, that as great as this honor is, it's not what really defines who I am or the things that I've been able to accomplish in my life. I'll always be known as a Redskin."

Saturday, August 2, 2008

U.S. Olympic Doping > U.S. > OlympicsBEIJING, China (AP) -- The International Olympic Committee has stripped gold medals from the U.S. men's 1,600-meter relay team that competed at the 2000 Games in the aftermath of Antonio Pettigrew's admission that he was doping at the time.

Saturday's decision was almost a formality after Pettigrew gave up his gold medal in June. He admitted in court in May that he used EPO and human growth hormone from 1997 to 2003.

Five of Pettigrew's teammates also lost their medals: Michael Johnson and twins Alvin and Calvin Harrison ran in the final, while Jerome Young and Angelo Taylor featured in the preliminaries.

It was Johnson's fifth gold medal of his stellar career. He has already said he was giving it back because he felt "cheated, betrayed and let down" by Pettigrew's testimony. Johnson still holds world records in the 200m and 400m.

Three of the four runners from the relay final have been tainted by drugs.

Alvin Harrison accepted a four-year ban in 2004 after admitting he used performance-enhancers, while his brother Calvin tested positive for a banned stimulant in 2003 and was suspended for two years. Young was banned for life for doping violations.

The IOC executive board disqualified the entire team, the fourth gold and sixth overall medal stripped from that U.S. track contingent in the past eight months for doping.

Three gold and two bronze were previously removed after Marion Jones confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs. Jones said she took the steroid known as "the clear"- also known as THG, or tetrahydrogestrinone- for two years beginning in 1999, according to a letter Jones sent to close family and friends.

Saturday's move came four months after the IOC stripped the gold from the U.S. women's 1,600m relay team and bronze from the women's 400m relay squad because of doping by Jones. She admitted last year that she used drugs at the time and returned her five medals, including gold in the 100m and 200m and bronze in the long jump.

The sprinter Justin Gatlin had his doping ban reduced, but not by enough to make him eligible to defend his Olympic 100-meter title this year.

The three-member panel unanimously ruled that Gatlin, 25, committed a doping offense when he tested positive for excessive testosterone in April 2006, but his first doping offense in 2001 troubled the group.

Gatlin, the gold medalist in the 100 meters at the 2004 Athens Games, is serving a four-year suspension for doping violations that expires in May 2010.

The ruling means Gatlin will have no immediate chance to regain his world record in the 100 meters. He shared the record of 9.77 seconds with Asafa Powell of Jamaica. Powell has improved the record, finishing in 9.74 seconds last September.

Gatlin has said he does not know how steroids got into his system before the April 2006 test.


Meanwhile, swimmer Jessica Hardy withdrew from the U.S. Olympic team on Friday, four weeks after testing positive for a low level of clenbuterol, a prohibited anabolic agent, at the Olympic trials on July 4.