The 2012 Olympics Offer Serious Surprises…And Not All Are Happy Ones!
The agony of defeat is known by almost every athlete in the universe, but the Olympics is showing something far different – the absolute “surprise” of defeat. Oh, yes, the “well-known’s” who were said to be the all-out winners before the contests even began are falling apart – from every country – and it all began with the favorite cyclist representing the home town that’s hosting the Olympic Games.
On Saturday Mark Cavendish failed to win that gold medal that he was supposed to ‘have in the bag.’ People were stunned. They were also stunned by the fact that the U.S. Gymnasts had a faux pas, as well as the fact that Phelps is NO WAY going to go away from this Olympic Games with forty thousand pounds of gold medals around his neck. In fact, he’s sinking far more than swimming this time around.
Cavendish was the talk of England, however, with more than one person extremely flabbergasted that he didn’t pull it out at the end. And then, Cavendish made his feelings known when he commented: “The crowd was tremendous the whole way around, but the Aussies just raced negatively.” The Australian team was not exactly happy about his response.
It was an inevitable fact going into Saturday’s race that the world champion cyclist would – no doubt – attain the first gold medal for Britain at the 2012 Olympics. And you would think that at least he and his “English” team would have been mentioned when the race came to its conclusion. But it was Alexander Vinokurov from Kazakhstan who beat Rigoberto Uran Uran from Columbia in a sprint; not one member of ‘Sky Team’ was a factor.
Even the U.S. had to walk away with a frown because Taylor Phinney lost out on the bronze by a mere wheel. But the biggest ‘sore loser’ award still had to go out to the 28th place Cavendish who truly made sure that everyone knew this was a race that was run “very negatively.”
I, for one, can’t imagine sitting by the side of the road for hours on end watching these cyclists go by as they struggle to stay ahead on the one hundred and fifty-five mile course. But the British people were the absolute best supporters in the world as they sat, stayed and cheered their team and Cavendish on! I was personally amazed that Box Hill had to be climbed nine times during the race – not as steep as you would imagine but, wow, talk about tedious!
Mark Cavendish will still walk away – and did – with the Tour de France in his pocket and fans everywhere cheering for him. In fact, Cavendish has won 23 Tour de France stages and was named in 2012 as the Tour de France’s best sprinter of all time. 2012 has definitely been Cavendish’s year. He won various stages at the Tour of Qatar, even though he had to battle through an illness, and then won the Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. There were many other stages won – including that lovely ride to secure the Tour de France. Cavendish and his “Sky Team” were beyond thrilled and certainly positive heading into the Olympic Games…and who knew forty seconds would make such a huge difference when all was said and done. BUT…it did.
Cavendish, Phinney and others will ‘rise’ again; it’s not like the Olympics was the end of their careers, or something. But the literal surprises that have cropped up in the first weekend of the Games have people wondering if the big names will disappear while the unknowns will have a chance to really shine (which is actually what the Games were supposed to be about once upon a time, when professional athletes were not allowed to be a part of it.)
Even though cycling and swimming seem to be seeing a complete ‘professional breakdown’ the world of tennis is still heralding some of the most well-known names in the biz.
Yes…the Williams’ sisters are still in the mix, which is not a shocker. Serena and Venus actually made short work of their opponents even though the rain falling postponed the matches by a bit. Of course, it’s probably a ‘gift’ to competitors when Mother Nature decides to halt these incredible women who seem unstoppable most of the time. Venus didn’t take long to win 6-3, 6-1 against her first opponent, Italian tennis player, Sara Errani, and Serena actually headed into her second round and basically mirrored her sister’s work taking the win from Urszula Radwanska of Poland, 6-2, 6-3.
Serena and Venus have gold medals to their names. In fact, they have three: two were won together in doubles, and Venus took the gold in 2000. Serena just recently won her fifth Wimbledon title. So if these women go all the way to the gold, it will come as no real surprise. What would really be fun to watch is Serena and Venus have to go against each other for the gold. (I bet our First Lady, who seems to love these matches, is hoping to see that happen, as well).
Even Federer is still going strong. Federer has just won his seventh Wimbledon but, oddly enough, he almost became yet another Olympic surprise when he just edged out his opponent in the opening-round of play. Federer had to go against Alejandro Falla, which is an opponent that has not been easily beaten in the past. Although Federer started out well, Falla suddenly came alive and won the final three games of the second set. In this ‘best-of-three’ match, Federer just managed to escape with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 victory. Perhaps the next competitors will be slightly easier for him.
But if I have to call your attention to one tennis athlete this year it has to be John Isner, who won his first Olympic match by beating Belgium’s Olivier Rochus, 7-6 (1), 6-4. The real thrill is not that Isner won, it is watching this 6-foot-9 man (who really should be part of the basketball team) get ace after ace after ace – 24 in total. I mean, it’s quite impossible to even return this guy’s serve seeing as that the ball bounces in and then up into the atmosphere. But…the surprises did keep coming. Isner and his partner, Andy Roddick, actually lost their opening doubles match, and the U.S. men’s top-seeded team of Bob and Mike Bryan just walked away with theirs.
Is there anything else that’s not a shocker to anyone? Oh, yes…the U.S. Men’s Basketball team looks as if they are standing alone on the court. But, then again, they really will have to meet up with a significant foe in order to fail. After all, these men not only have stellar careers, drive, talent and supreme skill on the court – but they also have those good, old American egos that all billion-dollar players seem to earn.
However, surprises do keep on coming from everywhere, so I would have to say to the U.S. basketball fans: Be prepared for just about anything!
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Until Next Time, Everybody,