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Olympic Outlook: Why has swimming become the football of summer?

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer
Kim Rhode: American badass and five-time medal-winner in skeet shooting. (US Presswire)

Five thoughts to match the five Olympic rings for what transpired Sunday in London.

1. So much swimming to go. Yeah, the U.S. losing the 4x100 freestyle men's relay is a bummer, but we've still got tens or races to play out still. What I've noticed already is how easy it is to overreact to the state of American swimming with each passing medal, or medal that passes by; it's almost like how sports fans in this country have come to issue an ever-new, always-true edict on most teams following every weekend of the football season.

Let's just calm our hormones a bit. Each race exists in its own box, and we can react to that and that alone, yes? We can cobble an editorial on how good, bad or great USA Swimming is once the last swimmer in our country's Speedo touches the wall in London. We've got miles of laps to finish out still. Lochte's legacy is much more on the line than Phelps, by the way. And since it might get lost amid criticism for the U.S. losing to France, I have to remind everyone: Phelps swam the fastest leg in that 4x100 relay (47.15).

2. Where we'll never lose to France. Michelle Obama was on hand to watch the men's USA basketball team whip up France, 99-71. The win improved the men's team to a 55-1 record under Mike Krzyzewski. Kevin Durant led the way with 22 points. I find myself surprised by how much I want to watch men's hoop when I know the U.S. is just going to cruise anyway. Speaks to the star power, clearly. Dynasties are good for basketball and always have been.

So, David Stern, why do you want to alter the identity of USA Basketball to 23-and-under?

3. Why soccer stinks as an Olympic sport. It's the same reason we shouldn't have golf or tennis. Flatly: Athletes in those sports compete in international or international-esque tournaments/games so consistently that the aura of playing in the Olympics isn't as heavy as it is for, say, basketball players. When Spain -- the best assembly of players in the world, easily -- is losing this early, it's telling. You put Honduras' team in Ireland uniforms, toss them in the Euro, and Spain isn't losing. It just isn't.

The Olympics are about so many things, but I think the desire to get certain sports into the Games shields a lot of why said sports don't really make for great fits. Seriously -- who cares about tennis three weeks after the most prestigious tennis event in the universe just completed on those very grounds?

4. Table tennis drama. Imagine Kobe Bryant playing in a one-on-one game against some NBA scrub -- someone like Kirk Hinrich or Jared Dudley -- and getting beat. That's what table tennis saw, or almost did, on Sunday, when the third-ranked player in the world, Li Xiaoxia, was nearly taken out by the U.S.'s own Ariel Hsing, all of 16 years old.

The United States has never, ever been proficient in table tennis. Hsing is seen as the future of the sport, someone who can actually give this noble nation of ours a chance at not sucking at the world's most addicting, best-in-a-basement hobby.

5. With a gun. You're damn right that's a Steely Dan reference. Kim Rhode, above, won a gold in skeet shooting for the United States Sunday, and aside from the fact she nailed an obscene 99 out of 100 targets -- think Duck Hunt, only 1,300 times harder -- she really deserves a lot of love for becoming the first American Olympian in an individual sport to win medals in five straight Olympics, meaning she's now the answer to a great trivia question. I love when the niche athletes in the niche sports take over really impressive, hard-to-beat Olympic records.

Biggest non-story of the day: The reaction to Hope Solo being all Hope Solo. Rightfully, she won't be disciplined for speaking her mind about what Brandi Chastain said over the airwaves about how badly the U.S. looked in its game 3-0 over Colombia on Saturday. Almost every day we're going to have some story about the Olympics get blown out of proportion. Personally, I can't wait to see the levels of ludicrous we reach.

GIF of the Day:

United States saber man Daryl Homer speaks for all of us in one way or another. I plan on heading to bed tonight as such after a day of Rhode-level blogging.



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