Olympic Roundup: Where the nets caught fire for 40 minutes
Five thoughts to match the five Olympic rings for what transpired Tuesday in London.
|Team USA had a lot of this going around. (Getty Images)|
1. London is burning, or at least the nets. Team USA basketball put up the most points ever scored in an Olympic game, 156. They set the record for most points by a U.S. player with Carmelo Anthony's 37, and the record for most threes in a game with 29.
To say they were on fire is giving fire too much credit for destruction. They were so hot they should have handed out protective suits to the audience. They couldn't miss. Any of them. You name it, they nailed it. It was truly one of the most awe-inspiring performances of basketball in history.
2. Phelps wins, swimtality. The final race in the epic Michael Phelps vs. Ryan Lochte rivalry ended without much of an epic feel. Phelps bested Lochte for gold in the 200-meter individual medley, third straight gold in the event, and finishes as the greatest in his sport and the greatest Olympian, ever.
There may never be another run like the only that Phelps experienced from Beijing through London. And he finishes in the 200-meter IM setting the record and besting his rival. He lead the entire way. After an auspicious start to these Olympics, barely qualifying and failing to medal in his first event, Thursday served as an argument-ender in several aspects: whether he should have returned for these Olympics, whether he's still the best swimmer in the world, and the rivalry with Lochte.
As Matt Norlander said, "scoreboard."
3. Kayla Harrison, a real American hero. Kayla Harrison's story would have been spectacular without the story of her life. To have trained so long and so hard to become a champion, and then to win the United States' first gold medal in judot, would have been an incredible story for the young lady.
But to consider what she went through as a teenager and what it must have taken to be willing to get back on the mat day afte day after day, that's something that can't be put into words or even medals. This is one of the best stories in Olympic history, and her emotional appearance on the podium represents hope for a country that has been rocked by athletic scandal about child sexual abuse in the past year.
It doesn't heal the victims and it doesn't change the terror, but Harrison's courage and drive for greatness stands as the very thing the Olympics should be about.
4. Boxing, still a joke. The guy was on the ground, holding his head, praying for a merciful end to the match. And then all of a sudden, his hand is raised in victory.
This is a sport that has problems at every level and in every way. I'm not going to advocate its disassociation from the Olympics like my colleague Matt Norlander did, but there has to be a significant investment on the part of the IOC to ensure this nonsense doesn't occur again, or they should just let the WWE in on it and be done.
5. Just a reminder, the Chinese are nuts about training. The story of the girl who won gold in diving, only to be informed her mother has cancer and her grandparents are dead, something kept from her during training, is just the lastest in a series of brutal stories surfacing about the same time they do every four years.
It's a cultural differential, and two things are absolutely 100 percent certain about it. It's never going to change on account of American or global outrage, this is how they do things and how they live their lives. And two, we're never going to stop being shocked and appalled at what these athletes go through in order to achieve the level of atheltic greatness their country demands of them.
Biggest non-story of the day: Athletes made to pay thousands for winning gold! Only not really.
In case you missed it... some Lithuanian fans are not exactly great at the whole sportsmanship thing.
GIF of the Day, via SBNation:
The record-setting Jamaican sprinter had one of his nine gold medals stripped
This could be the best Olympics ever
Hundreds of athletes are implicated across more than one Olympics
Biles hopes to add another heap of gold medals to the United States' cache
If you've got a problem, yo, he'll solve it
The coaches made headlines for all the wrong reasons during the Olympics