Fourth and Long

Published 1:33 pm Friday, August 3, 2012

One would expect that as a die hard sports fan that I would like watching the Olympics. To assume as much would be a vast understatement. however. I LOVE the Olympics!

This summer’s Olympics have the added benefit of having a plethora of story lines to add to its appeal.

Much of the hype surrounding this summers’ games centered on the battle of past versus present in the pool. We all remember the record setting success Michael Phelps had four years ago in Beijing. Despite his enormous collection of gold medals it was supposed to be teammate Ryan Lochte that dominated the aquatic lanes.

The competition between the two has been fun to watch with each man having success against the other and winning gold.

The unexpected treat for US swim fans has been Rebecca Soni, who broke the world record in the 200 meter breaststroke in the semifinals, only to break her own world record whilst winning gold the next day.

The US Women’s Gymnastics squad was dubbed prior to the Olympics as the Fab Five. The difference between them and the original Fab Five from Michigan is that these girls backed up the hype by winning team gold.

To top it off, Virginia Beach native Gabby Douglas won All-Around individual gold while teammate and captain Aly Raisman failed to medal despite tying for third thanks to a new and controversial rule.

The men’s basketball team is winning just like we all thought they would. They did manage to break the Olympic record for points scored in a single game by putting up 156 points against Nigeria. That would explain why they gave up 73 points to a team without a player any of us have ever heard of. I guess with offense like that you don’t have to play defense.

I must admit that I have never been a big follower, but I did enjoy watching replays of Kayla Harrison’s gold winning judo moves. Her jubilation as she jumped into the arms of her fiancé was outdone only by her emotional breakdown while standing on the podium listening to our national anthem. It was everything I love about the Olympics.

Our women’s basketball team has been more than dominant, winning by an average of 36 points per game thus far. I don’t expect much different on their path to gold.

Beach volleyball duo Mist May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh remain unbeaten in Olympic play, however, ladies from Brazil would love to end that streak. Now that draw play is over I expect the competition in the sand to get much more intense.

US Women’s soccer is doing very well despite the controversy surrounding Goalkeeper Hope Solo and former World Cup hero and current television commentator Brandi Chastain.

Solo apparently didn’t like some of Chastain’s comments and had some choice words for the former icon. I personally think it’s all great for the sport. We need some edge and some grit.  Solo and her unsuppressed emotions provide that.

All this excitement and Track and Field hasn’t even started yet. Have I mentioned that I LOVE the Olympics!


David Friedman is a long-time contributor to Roanoke-Chowan Publications. A Bertie High School graduate, he and his wife currently reside in Wilmington. David can be reached via e-mail at