Team USA Takes Gold but Ginobili Injured

Created Thursday, 28 August 2008 19:08

Team USA Takes B-Ball Gold; Argentina Bronze, but Ginobili Injured

For Spurs’ fans, the finals of the Olympic basketball tournament must have been a conflicting time.  On one hand, Team USA rolled to the gold medal that eluded them four years ago in Athens, and put American basketball back on top of the world.  On the other hand, the players representing the home town team were playing for the powder blue of Argentina.  The San Antonio Spurs are like the UN of the NBA: there are so many nationalities and countries represented, that allegiances are sometimes tested.

Regardless of whether San Antonio Spurs fans were cheering for the home town boys’ Argentine team or for the USA when the two squads met late in the tournament and Manu Ginobili went down with an injured ankle, gasps were heard all the way from Beijing to Buenos Aires, and from San Antonio to Bahia Blanco.

Spurs fans know that with Manu in the line up and at full strength in last years’ NBA Finals, the Spurs stood a very good chance of knocking out the Lakers, and advancing to play the Celtics.  However, Ginobili’s bad ankle perhaps cost the team that chance.   To see him go down again in the Olympics with the same problem was a nightmare scenario for San Antonio.

Ginobili and the San Antonio Spurs do have some time to heal before the season kicks off, but starting off the season on the wrong foot is not something that San Antonio fans had in mind. . .

As far as USA basketball was concerned, the 2008 Olympics were a rousing success.  The Americans routed each team they played until the finals, where the Spanish team gave them all the wanted.  Earlier in the tournament, the US team beat Spain by almost 40 points in one of the most lopsided games of the Olympics.   In the gold medal game, the Spanish came prepared to play.

With as little as three minutes left to play, the outcome was very much in doubt.   Pau Gasol hit a jumper to make it a five point game, but just a few seconds later, Kobe Bryant hit a three pointer and got fouled.  Spain wasn’t done, as they countered with a 5-0 run to draw the lead back down to 4 points with just over two minutes left.  A Wade 3, followed by a layup by Bryant almost sealed it and the Spanish were forced to foul.

For the US, it was a team effort, and the antithesis of 2004, where Larry Brown led Team Bad Karma to the bronze.  In the end, the Americans were pressured, and their teamwork paid off this time with a 118-107 win, and the gold medal.


USA Leads in Total Olympic Medals

Created Friday, 22 August 2008 10:06

Olympic Games Underway, USA Leads in Total Medals

With the Olympics in full swing, some dreams are being fulfilled, while others are being crushed. With just a few days before the closing ceremony, let’s take a look at some of the highlights from the games in Beijing.

San Antonio’s track star, Marshevet Hooker,keeps running her best, although the Jamaican runners are blowing away all comers, and rewriting the record books in the process.  In the 200m, Hooker ran a personal career best and finished in  fifth place.  Two Jamaican runners took the gold and bronze, while one of Hooker’s American teammates, Allyson Felix, took home the silver.

The American track teams have been less than spectacular in this year’s games.  Team USA was expected to be one of the better teams in many of the events, but disaster struck both the men’s and women’s teams in the 400m relay.  In both instances, a dropped baton doomed the teams, as the women were disqualified for illegal passing, and the men did not finish.

Certainly the biggest story in Track and Field this year, was the emergence of Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter, who, in his own words, “blew the world’s mind.”  Bolt rewrote the record books in the 100m, and left spectators breathless, by even pulling up short at the end of the race and still setting the world record.  In the 200m, Bolt left no doubt.  He set a world record in that event also, taking the gold, and becoming the first person in history to set world records in both events.

While USA track has not had its best days, Team USA in basketball has been all that has been expected, and looks well on their way to redemption, after losing to Argentina in Athens.  The US has found itself pressed for a quarter, or even a half, but has ended up blowing out all their competition.  The combination of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade, and the other superstars has been too much for the likes of China, Germany, Angola, and Spain, even though many of those teams have NBA stars playing for them.  Spain was expected to be the toughest competition for the Americans–sporting several NBA players–yet the USA crushed them by almost 40 points.

As far as Spurs fans are concerned, Team Argentina–the off-season hideout for San Antonio Spurs’ Manu Ginobili and Fabricio Oberto–got off to a slow start, dropping their first game to Lithuania, yet quickly found their stride, rolling off four straight wins.  As of this moment, the Argentine Spurs are tied for first in the first pool, but are yet to play the USA.

It seems all but certain that the USA will run off with the Men’s Basketball gold, the only question being, will anyone even challenge them?

In another show of American dominance, Michael Phelps provided as much drama as perhaps there has ever been seen in the games.  Phelps was on a quest to be the first person to win 8 gold medals in a single Olympics.  Phelps and his swimming mates, had several close calls, including one race in which Phelps reached out to beat his Serbian competitor by literally a fingernail.  The race was so close, that it was unknown for some time who had actually won.  Eventually,  the video provided the answer: Phelps had won by 1/100 of a second.

Overall, at the time of this writing, the USA is ahead in the overall medal count by a count of 99 to 83 over China.  The Chinese, however, are ahead in the gold medal count, by a margin of 46-30 over the Americans.  Russia is far behind in third place, with 53 medals overall, and 16 golds.