|Michael Phelps says goodbye to the Olympics in London the only way he knows how. (Getty Images)|
Five thoughts to match the five Olympic rings for what transpired Saturday in London.
1. So long Michael Phelps, the best swimmer all-time rests his case for being the greatest Olympian. On Tuesday, colleague Matt Norlander wrote the following about the Phelps/greatest Olympian debate:
They're two completely different sports, and I've yet to hear a pusher for one side even acknowledge the incredible discipline and skill it takes for the other. Different athletes, different eras, different sports. We don't debate Walter Payton vs. Michael Jordan, so let's do the same here. Phelps isn't even done in London and this propped-up talking point is already taking off. Everything doesn't have to be a debate.
Ahh, but debates are so much fun Matty! Phelps stated his case on Saturday by closing out his Olympic career (so he says) with the Men's 4x100 medley relay in the final swimming event in London. Helping the American team to gold gave Phelps 18 total, to go along with two silvers and two bronzes for a total of 22 Olympic medals. That's double the amount of golds than any other athlete in modern Games history.
We'll have plenty of time once the closing ceremonies are over to discuss Phelps vs. Carl Lewis or Jesse Owens as to who, exactly, is the greatest Olympian of all time. For now, as we try to live in this great moment, we just have to admire what has happened in the pool the past week. It's been a grand, historical run for Phelps where all we as fans can do is stand up, clap politely and look on with amazement.
|Serena Williams rolled through the field to capture her first gold medal in Olympic singles. (US Presswire)|
2. Serena Williams wasted no time at all in grabbing her singles gold. 63 minutes! That's all it took for Williams to run over one of the best players in the world, Maria Sharapova, in the gold medal match at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. This wasn't just an ordinary tennis match, this was a work of art, a golden masterpiece if you will. You could tell by her emotions afterward that this was something that she wanted badly and it completed one heck of a career that isn't over yet. After winning Wimbledon a month ago, the American dropped only 17 games during the entire Olympic tournament and just four in the medal rounds.
Serena can go for double gold in London, and a record total in tennis of four golds, when she teams with her sister Venus in the women's doubles final. Serena has yet to drop a set in any match this tournament, a remarkable run for one of the best players in history.
3. Eight gold medals for the American women in London. We thought the Women's U.S. Swim Team would rebound across the pond but they responded as well or better than most thought coming into these Games after a disappointing two gold medals for the squad in Beijing. The 4x100 medley relay of Missy Franklin (backstroke), Rebecca Soni (breaststroke), Dana Vollmer (butterfly) and Allison Schmitt (freestyle) capped off a great meet in the final event by setting a world record to add an exclamation point on the eighth gold medal for the team. Franklin, Soni and 15-year-old Katie Ledecky became stars with their performances in the pool, likely inspiring a new generation of swimmers just as Phelps and Ryan Lochte have done for the men.
In short, they came, they swam, they dominated.
4. Fast meets faster on the Olympic track. As swimming winds down, track and field starts up to shift the drama to the Olympic Stadium over the final week. Saturday gave us three great moments, two of which delighted the home crowd. After setting a record in the hurdles the day before, Britain's Jessica Ennis brought out the Union Jack in droves after racing around the track in the 800m to win the heptathlon and give London a lively buzz as the host country picked up the pace in the medal count. Later in the evening, Mo Farah became the first Briton to win the 10,000m thanks to a huge kick at the end that left us with this great image. His training partner, American Galen Rupp, finished right behind him and the two shared a warm embrace on the track before Farah memorably hugged his daughter to the adoration of the crowd.
For the final event Saturday night, Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce defended her gold meal in the 100m by edging out U.S. sprinter Carmelita Jeter by just .03 seconds. Three Americans total made the field, with Tianna Madison and Allyson Felix finishing 4th and 5th, respectively. It was quite a day at the track with plenty more action still to come.
5. Keep dreaming Team USA. This is what you get for talking about beating the Dream Team Kobe and LeBron, the ridicule comes right now, after the United States narrowly edged Lithuania by five points. The defense, especially on the interior, was iffy while Linas Kleiza knocked down big shot after big shot from the outside to look like a Hall of Famer. Team USA missed an impressive number of three pointers and could take advantage of forcing over 20 turnovers to extend the lead in the second half. Thankfully LeBron bailed the team out by simply taking over in the final few minutes to give the squad a win that will hopefully serve as a wake up call following a record-setting 83-point win over Nigeria.
Biggest non-story of the day: It was really, really Wimbledon this weekend and although the tennis didn't seem to suffer too much, it did cause havoc on those responsible for securing the flags during the medal ceremony. Photos from the All England Club sent Twitter a flutter early on Saturday once Old Glory came flying down during Serena Williams' gold medal presentation but while it was a funny moment -- everybody in attendance seemed to get a chuckle about it -- it didn't really mean much.
Now, if the Brits did it on purpose as payback for 1776, then we've got a problem. Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel had a nice column on the moment.
In case you missed it: Very cool photo gallery of Oscar Pistorius making Olympic history... A reversal of a really bad ruling in boxing will keep Errol Spence's Olympic dream alive... Here's everything you need to know about a sport you can actually get a gold medal in, racewalking... Usain Bolt has a really bizarre pre-race ritual.
GIF of the Day:
In what might be the GIF of the Olympics, Serena Williams celebrates her gold medal by breaking out a crip walk.