The 2008 Olympic Games wrapped up today in Beijing (about 16 hours ago, even though the closing ceremonies are still on TV here), so here are some of my reflections on the Games.
I'm usually more interested in "team sports" than "individual sports", and the Olympic games provide exposure to a number of ballsports that only get shown every four years (at least in these United States) like field hockey, water polo, and team handball.
The final weekend provided a barrage of gold medal contests in all these sports, as well as classification matches to determine the 3rd, 5th, and 7th place teams in most sports. Here's how they all turned out, for both the men and women.
Basketball: The U.S. swept the gold medals in men's and women's basketball. On the men's side, the U.S. "Redeem Team" held off Spain 118-107 in a wild one, and the American women blew out the Aussies 92-65.
Baseball/Softball: This was a final hurrah for men's baseball and women's softball as Olympic sports. Both sports will be discontinued for the 2012 games in London because the IOC Euroweenies see them as "American" sports that don't have global appeal. In this Olympics, neither the U.S. men or women won gold medals. The U.S. men won the bronze, and didn't even compete for the gold medal (Korea beat Cuba) and the U.S. women were upset by Japan in the softball final, after dominating their group play. Baseball and softball were killed as Olympic sports, but synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics live on.
Football (i.e. Soccer): The U.S. Women successfully defended their gold medal in soccer by beating Brazil 1-0, while Argentina won the men's gold over Nigeria by the same score (1-nil). The U.S. men qualified, but didn't make it out of the group stage.
Handball: The Icelandic dream died in the gold medal game, after they lost to France 28-23. The Norwegian women dominated Russia 34-27 to win their gold medal. Team handball is the best Olympic sport there is!
Hockey: As in field hockey. The winners were Netherlands on the women's side (over China 2-0) and Germany on the men's side (over Spain 1-0). Spain won multiple silver medals yesterday. The U.S. women qualified, and finished 8th (losing to who-else Spain in the 7th place classification match).
Volleyball: NBC showed a lot of beach volleyball, which is sort of a made-up sport paid on sand by two-person teams, but they also have old-fashioned indoor volleyball. The American men won the gold medal after beating Brazil 3 sets to 1 and the U.S. women lost to Brazil by the same score to win the silver, but they beat the Brazilian women in fake volleyball.
Water Polo: The U.S. men's team, who were ranked 10th in tournament, made it all the way to the gold medal game before losing to Hungary 14-10. The U.S. women also got a silver medal, losing to the Netherlands 9-8. The Dutch women won gold medals in both water polo and field hockey.
Other sports: Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt were awesome. The U.S. won the most medals (110), but China won the most gold medals (51). The Chinese people put on a great Olympic games, but their government is still corrupt. If only Axl Rose would release the new GnR album to help steer them toward Chinese Democracy.