RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 05: Michael Phelps of the United States carries the flag during the Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium on August 5, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images) Photo courtesy of curated-news.com
AND SOME THOUGHTS REGARDING LOS ANGELES’ BID TO HOST THE 2024 SUMMER GAMES
Now that the flame has been extinguished and that Olympic flag has been passed to the representatives from Tokyo, where the 2020 games will be held,
The biggest thing that comes to my mind about this just-concluded Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, the first Olympics in South America…
Is that on the fields, courts, track and in the water at least, it was a great Games.
Despite the problems and issues plaguing Rio before and during these Olympics, such as the concerns over the Zika virus and the raw sewage streaming into the bay where the sailing and rowing competitions were held,
Not to mention the diving pool turning green with algae, the pipes leaking in the Australian team’s rooms, and the crime that people unfortunately experienced.
And a bus that took swimmers to the wrong venue.
When push came to shove, none of that seemed to matter as the competitions went on over the 17 days that the torch was lit, Team USA in particular having an Olympic Games that is best described in one word:
L.A’s and USC’s Allyson Felix putting in the work on the way to her two gold medals in the 4×100 and the 4×400 meters. Photo courtesy of justjared.com
With 121 medals, the third most of all time – 46 of them gold – obliterating the rest of the field.
And not just due to Michael Phelps’ five gold medals, bring his total to an all-time record 23 (28 medals overall) over a four-Olympics period.
Or Katie Ledecky’s coming out party with her four golds in the pool.
Or the men’s and women’s basketball teams doing as expected and sweeping the gold medals in their tournaments; special congrats to SoCal’s representatives on the hardwood, Chino’s Diana Taurasi, who won her fourth gold, as well as Compton and USC’s DeMar DeRozan, Palmdale’s Paul George, Los Angeles’ Klay Thomson, and the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan on the men’s side.
There were MANY heroes of these games, as I was quite glad that the team with so many athletes from the L.A. area, the women’s water polo squad, won their second straight gold medal.
Allyson Felix did SoCal proud with her golds in the women’s 4×100 and 4×400 meters.
One of the two runs that got Allyson Felix and her three teammates the gold. Courtesy of YouTube
As well as shooter Kim Rhode from El Monte, whose medal in skeet shooting marked the sixth straight Olympics that she has won a medal.
And – though she’s not a SoCal native – Simone Manuel, who in a Jackie Robinson-like fashion became the first African-American woman to win a gold medal in swimming.
Of course I couldn’t have missed the two ugly Americans of these Games as Hope Solo, the women’s soccer goalie who called the Swedish team cowards after suffering a huge upset in their hands, her heavily favored team ending up with nothing, disgraced herself and everyone else in showing a level of poor sportsmanship that five-year olds in youth soccer wouldn’t show.
Not to mention Ryan Lochte lying about he and three of his swimming teammates being robbed at gunpoint; I wouldn’t be surprised if Lochte is forced to return his gold medal in the 4×200 freestyle relay.
That women’s soccer team, by the way, earned my selection as the biggest disappointment of these Rio Games along with Compton’s all-everything-in-tennis Williams sisters, who except for Venus’ silver medal in mixed doubles absolutely flopped as they experienced something they had never experienced in the Olympics before: losing.
Now that the negativity is out-of-the-way, I wanted to focus on what my number one memory of these Games were and are, the athletes that I found myself paying the most attention to:
Our wonderful and golden Final Five, who dominated gymnastics in these Games. From left: Madison Kocian, Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and Laurie Hernandez. Photo courtesy of justjared.com
The women’s gymnastics team, better known as the Final Five as Aly Raisman, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian, Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles earned my personal distinction as the Darlings of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad.
Being that they not only won a record nine medals, including the team all-around for the second straight Olympics, with Biles reinforcing her distinction as (in the opinion of more or less everyone) the greatest gymnast of all time with her individual all-around title and her gold medals in the vault and the floor exercise,
How they could not captivate everyone in Rio, the U.S., and worldwide?
They certainly captivated me!
And in a case of the-best-thing-about-all-of-this, one of those Final Five will get to further captivate and enchant gymnastic fans in the L.A. area as Madison Kocian will be joining – and performing on – UCLA’s gymnastics team this January.
Needless to say, I’m very much looking forward to seeing her!
Simone Biles putting the exclamation point on her team’s Gold Medal-winning performance in the all-around, courtesy of YouTUbe
A very special shout-out for these Games has to go to a long distance runner who – while she’s not from SoCal – showed that she was the polar opposite of Solo as Abbey D’Agostino, after tripping over New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin in the first heat of the women’s 5000 meters, helped Hamblin up, the two of them finishing the race together.
And with what ended up being a torn ACL, forcing her to miss the final!
The team that’s loaded with athletes from Southern California, the gold medal women’s water polo squad. Photo courtesy of dailymail.com.uk
If that’s not the perfect example of outstanding sportsmanship, I’d very much like to know what is as both D’Agostino and Hamblin deserve gold medals for what they did on that track.
Now that it’s all over until they light the torch and get things going again in Tokyo four years from now…
I wanted to express a few thoughts about a city who has put in a formal bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics:
This one – Los Angeles, California!
I’ll just say this:
IF THE INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE DOES NOT AWARD THE 2024 GAMES TO L.A., THEN THEY ARE TRULY A CORRUPT ORGANIZATION.
The reason is very simple…
Not only has Los Angeles hosted two very successful Olympics, in 1932 and 1984, but in response to the IOC preferring cities with new venues to host the Games, this area has seen at least four arenas built since Carl Lewis, Edwin Moses, Greg Louganis and Mary Lou Retton did their thing in ’84:
- Staples Center in downtown L.A.
- StubHub Center in Carson
- Honda Center in Anaheim
- Galen Center on the USC campus
The Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan, enjoying himself during Team USA’s title run with Klay Thompson (left) and Jimmy Butler (right). Photo courtesy of fansided.com
As well as UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion being renovated in 2012 and the plans that USC has of the Coliseum going through a complete renovation by the time the Olympics begin in ’24.
And the two new stadiums scheduled for completion by then; the Rams’ new facility in Inglewood and the soccer venue which will host the new MLS team, which will be located where the Sports Arena currently stands.
Plus the fact that unlike other cities that have recently hosted the Olympics, L.A., despite its obvious problems with the homeless and gangs, is considerably safer than many other cities in comparison.
With a public transportation system that has enormously grown since 1984, the advent of several rail lines making it easier to get around without a car than it was in the past.
If that IOC has any integrity, awarding Los Angeles the Games will be a no-brainer slam dunk.
But considering that committee – check out the report that HBO’s “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel” had on them in their latest episode sometime – we’ll just have to do the proverbial “wait and see” dance.
In the meantime, I’ll continue with my feelings of satisfaction that these Olympic Games were good, despite everything.
I’ll remember these Olympics fondly.
The traditional lighting of the Olympic torch, spectacular as always. Photo courtesy of thestar.com