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Friday, August 12, 2016

Olympic highs and lows for swimming - and what's with the team suits not being worn by all?

Maybe most people only have a passing interest in swimming, but having been on the swim team in high school, I actually get really into it.   It's amazing to see how things have advanced in terms of times and how swimming is different by these champions vs the rest of us.  But wait there's more...
I wanted to cry when I watched Missy Franklin.  Who knows what's going on with that. I have wondered if it wouldn't have been better for her to go pro right away and then go to school later.  There is nothing wrong with working for awhile and then doing school - especially with athletics.  You have to strike while the iron is hot.  And now, the iron is not so hot when she didn't win any medals on her own.  This is just after having launched a line of swimwear for Speedo in 2015.

And then there was world record holder Ryan Lochte not winning the gold or even placing for a medal in the 200 IM. Both he and Franklin go home with medals for the relay events they swam in, even though Franklin didn't swim in the actual final, swimming in the event at all earns you a medal.

There were some really great moments in swimming history.  Simone Manuel was the first African American woman to medal in swimming.  I don't know about your swim team, but we didn't have any African Americans on it.  Were were all Asian, Caucasian, and Hispanic.  So this is great because it will encourage more African American girls to become involved in the sport.

There was some humor.  BBC swimming journalist and Olympic swimming medalist at the London 2012games, Rebecca Adlington, was caught picking her nose on camera while Katie Ledecky won another gold medal in the foreground.  I think no less of Adlington's accomplishments.  But I laughed so hard that my husband heard me cackling from the other size of the house.  And then we watched it together.  I won't deprive you of this joy, so check it out while you can since the IOC might take it down soon.  They carefully control the use of their image - Olympic Rings and all.  (That's actually not that funny when you think about it.)  But seriously, with everyone under a microscope for the Games, you would think Adlington would have taken the time to grab a tissue - especially after how much money it cost her to get a nose job, it's somehow ironic that the same nose caused her a different kind of disgrace.

My disappointment is that international athletes get short shrift.  During the opening ceremonies, the camera continually cut away from the proud delegations to Americans chanting USA and saying hello to their moms.  I like that stuff at the end, but this is the only chance to see these athletes in their uniforms, so proud to bear their nation's flag.  Sure, there were a few stories, but not as many as I would have liked.

Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan won the first gold medal in swimming for his country, but the news was local boy Josh Prenot.  While we could have been watching more sports, we were instead forced to watch American athletes warming up, too many profiles of athletes we already know, and too many closeups gone wrong.

What continually bothered/bothers me in swimming is that, despite the team suit, swimmers wore whatever they wanted - or whatever their corporate sponsors wanted them to wear.  Quite frankly I don't like that.  Michael Phelps wore his own brand. And other swimmers wore other non-matching suits.  The official suit is made by Speedo. So, once you have professional athletes with endorsement deals, they suddenly can't be seen in other-branded suits.  But that meant there was no unified look to the team.  So instead of everyone wearing the team Speedo, you see swimmers in TYR and Arena.

It almost seems that the IOC should allow athletes to thank their sponsors directly.  But it's hard to say how much of a difference silence makes when Phelps wore Under Armour gear, as well as his own brand and did not wear the team suit.  Apparently the IOC allows swimmers to pick their own suits.  I think it's strange since this is almost the only team that did not wear a unified suit.  This article about Phelps basically breaks it down how this all works.

And, geez, would the announcers please shut up a little bit?  They talk so much it almost seems like radio where every moment of air time must be filled.

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