Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Iceland Iceland Baby

Midway through this second week of the Olympics, after Michael Phelps stopped winning another gold medal every day, and NBC kept showing gymnastics and beach volleyball day after day, I could feel Olympic fatigue starting to set in.

And then I ended up getting swept up in Icelandic team handball. Iceland has never won a gold medal in any sport, but their handball team is on the verge of a medal after upsetting Poland earlier today.

Next up for Iceland is a semifinal matchup against Spain, and then onward to the finals against Croatia or France (or the third place game if they don't win, but I'm sure they will!).    

The final four in women's handball are Norway, Korea, Russia, and Hungary.  Denmark won the last three gold medals, but didn't qualify for the Olympics, so I'm pulling for my ancestral home of Norway.  Norwegian women are really good in handball.

For people who don't know team handball, it's one of the coolest sports around. It's a combination of soccer, water polo, and ultimate frisbee, played on a basketball court with a small ball, and the games are on MSNBC in the middle of the night because the U.S. isn't very good at it.

I don't know why because team handball seems like a very "American" sport. It's high scoring and fast-paced and every game seems to end 25-24. Plus it just requires a basketball court, which isn't a hard thing to find. I think a summer handball league in the U.S. might catch on, but until then, the Olympic games my only opportunity to watch it.

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