Saturday, August 16, 2008

Day 8 RECAP: Phelps Steals Gold, Usain Bolt Runs Lightning Fast 100m

Sorry for the very late post, Olympic fatigue has set in...(actually I had family obligations to attend to.)

We're going to try a new format in this recap. This past week, I've felt that this blog has turned into a news feed. I want to give readers the interesting stories, not to mention the big stories that have come out of these games but sometimes I've given you just the news and none of the analysis and commentary that this blog has been able to give you before. And while you can go just anywhere for Olympic news, I want to make reading these posts worthwhile.

- Michael Phelps Wins By A Touch in Men's 100m Butterfly
How could this not be our Olympic highlight of Day 8? The finish was so amazing and unbelievable that I'm still stunned at how Phelps was able to out touch Serbia's Milorad Cavic. But the touchpad doesn't lie apparently nor do the cameras. Even though a protest was filed by Cavic's coach, FINA stated that the replays make Phelps the clear winner.

Of course we all know by now what that win meant. That was his 13th gold medal win overall, his seventh in this Olympic Games, tying Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals in a single Olympic Games. But for Phelps, it wasn't enough to be the best. Phelps has to be the best in dramatic fashion.

Feel Good Olympic Story of the Day...
The Olympics always provide touching moments of personal glory, an athlete overcoming obstacles to gain triumph, and emotions that can only occur at the Olympic Games. We find our feel-good story of Day 8 in the sport of sailing. Meet John Dane III (right). He and his son Austin Sperry are competing in the Star dinghy class in sailing. On Saturday, they took an unexpected overall lead following second and fourth place finishes in races on Day 8.

The feel-good part of this story is that the 55-year-old is finally competing in the Olympics after 40 years of unsuccessful attempts. He first tried to go to the world's best sporting event in 1968 at the age of 18 in the Dragon boating class. Then he tried for three consecutive Olympics in three different boat classes, all with unsuccessful tries to make the Olympic team.

It wasn't until Dane paired up with Sperry that a potential medal winning team was born. But after three of the 11-race series, the duo isn't going to think about medalling anytime soon.

Also see: Drained New Zealander barely makes medal ceremony 11:19 am EDT (AP)

Of course with 29 medals being awarded on Day 8, there were bound to be close finishes. And while Phelps definitely takes first place in the close finish highlight of the day, and quite possible of the Olympics, there were other notable highlights where the medal wasn't decided until the very last second.
American teenager Vincent Hancock won gold for the United States in the men's skeet event after a shoot-off with Norwegian Tore Brovold, who failed to hit the third target of the shootout. The former world champion and shooter of the year is only 19 years of age as is one of the younger Olympians of the U.S. Olympic team (outside of gymnastics that is).

Hancock had a one point lead coming into the final round and missed one target after making the first 19. The Norwegian made all his targets, setting up a shoot-off with the score tied at 145.

Team Highlight of the Day:
While individuals succeed to win on their own, the collaborative effort of multiple individuals often brings greater glory than the effort of one. Here's the team highlight of the day.Today's team USA win over Spain serves as our team highlight of the day. It was slated to be a huge matchup between two undefeated teams as the Redeem Team took on the defending world champions in a battle for the top spot in the group.

It was a game where every U.S. player on the squad scored, led by Lebron James with 18 points. Dwayne Wade and Carmelo Anthony finished with 16 points. This 119-82 win will be known for the Americans' ability to score outside of the three point line, The Americans were 12 of 25, making seven of its first ten attempts from outside the arc.

Upset of the Day...
With 205 nations competing, any athlete from any country could win at any time during these 17 days of competition. We've seen great upsets in this first week of competition, from China defeating Korea in archery to the American victory over France in the 400m Freestyle relay. Here's today's upset from Day 8...

Belgium defeated Italy earlier today in the men's soccer quarterfinal by a score of 3-2. The defending world cup champions lost when the 10-man Belgian squad went ahead in the score following Moussa Dembele's late strike in the second half. It was a back and forth game that was ultimately decided in the 80th minute when Dembele scored his second goal of the game. Belgium was reduced to ten men when Thomas Vermanlen ran over Robert Acquafresca in the 17th minute, allowing Italy to strike first in a penalty kick.

This amazing feat that put Belgium in the soccer semifinals makes this game our upset of the day.
Belgium secures 3-2 soccer win over Italy 9:26 am EDT (AP)

Other highlights...
- Federer wins Olympic gold in doubles
Federer wins gold in Olympic doubles
- Usain Bolt wins 100m in world record time, Tyson Gay fails to make final
Bolt breaks own world record to win 100
Gay flops in men's 100 semifinals at…

So I hope you enjoyed that revamped recap, I think this is better compared to the usual recaps that I've been giving you this week. I think I'll do this for the rest of the games so get set for more interesting reads.

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