It may take a decade or so to come to pass, but in my opinion here are the final results of a few races tonight in Rio…
Men’s 200 Free:
Gold – Chad Le Clos, South Africa
Silver – Conor Dwyer, USA
Bronze – James Guy, Great Britain
Women’s 100 Back:
Gold – Kathleen Baker, USA
Silver (tie) – Kylie Masse, Canada / Fu Yuanhui, China
Women’s 100 Breast:
Gold – Lilly King, USA
Silver – Katie Meili, USA
Bronze – Shi Jinglin, China
Of course, this being freedom of speech and all, feel free to disagree.
16-year-old Toronto teen Penny Oleksiak already owns two Olympic medals in Rio… Her older brother Jamie is in the NHL, a defensive beast for the Dallas Stars… Making the proud Oleksiak clan Canada’s new first family of sport…
Alison and Richard Oleksiak have done something right. And that goes well beyond granting their children with some serious genes. Mom was a swimmer, dad was a Hall of Fame high school athlete growing up in Buffalo. Penny is the youngest of four, and it’s taken a couple Olympic medals for her to claim the title of best athlete in the family.
Of course, she’s also laid claim to perhaps being called the best athlete in all of Canada right about now. But let’s talk family first. Here’s what it looks like to watch your daughter win Olympic silver.
On night two of Olympic swimming in Rio, Oleksiak raced to that silver in the 100 fly, in a World Junior Record. One night earlier, she anchored Canada’s bronze medal winning relay in the women’s 4×100 free. It was Team Canada’s first Olympic relay medley since Mark Tewsbury led the Canadian men to medley relay bronze back in 1992 in Barcelona. It was Canada’s first women’s relay medal since the boycotted 1984 L.A. Games, when the women won bronze in the medley.
On the first night of swimming in Rio, Aussie Mack Horton out-touched China’s Sun Yang for gold in the 400 free… He did something that few athletes have the courage to do these days: He called his competitor a “drug cheat” and questioned why “athletes who have tested positive are still competing”… A good question. Why aren’t more athletes stepping up, stating the same, and showing the courage of their convictions?
It started with some warm-up pool taunting. Sun was trying to get into the 20-year-old Horton’s head. Word is he splashed him. (‘Bush league psych-out stuff’, in the words of the Big Lewbowski’s Jesus Quintana…) Horton wasn’t having it, and he wasn’t afraid to speak up either. He was soon telling the media that “He just kind of splashed me but I ignored him because I don’t have time or respect for drug cheats. He wasn’t too happy about that so he kept splashing me. I just got in and did my thing.”
His thing: To win Olympic gold in the 400, taking down Sun, the defending Olympic champion, by .13.
Then, at the post-race new conference, with Sun sitting next to him, he stuck by his previous comments, stating “I used the word drug cheat because he test positive. I just have a problem with athletes who have tested positive still competing.”
Longhorn Townley Hass is a newly minted Olympian and the future of the U.S. men’s 200 freestyle… He is also intimately acquainted to the epidemic of gun violence in America. Nine years ago, his sister Emily was among those shot in the Virginia Tech massacre…
On the morning of April 16th, 2007, 10-year-old Townley Haas was sitting in elementary school in Richmond, Virginia. His oldest sister, Emily, was sitting in French class at Virginia Tech University a little over 200 miles away. Soon after 9am, a gunman, a senior English major by the name of Seung-Hui Cho barricaded the doors of Norris Hall and began executing classroom after classroom in one of the worst mass shootings in American history.
One of the rooms he entered was the one where Emily Haas was studying French. Seung-Hui Cho entered armed with two semi0-automatic weapons. His executions continued, killing 11 of Haas’s classmates around her, before turning his gun on himself and committing suicide in that, the last room he would reach. Emily Haas had been shot twice in the head. But she was one of the lucky ones. The bullets grazed her skull and left her lucid enough to perform an act of extreme heroism. She managed to place an emergency call in quiet and kept police dispatchers on the line. Her call was credited with helping first responders to find the killer’s exact location.
When he was found dead in that room police discovered 203 live rounds left in his weapons. As State Police Superintendent William Flaherty stated at the time, “We was well prepared to continue on.”
The call placed Townley’s sister Emily may have helped save untold lives. 32 people were wounded that day at Virginia Tech. 17 more were wounded, Emily Haas among them.
On night six of the U.S. Olympic Trials, Cal’s Ryan Murphy stepped up to a throne that has long awaited him…
The torch was officially passed a little after 8pm. It wasn’t when he touched the wall in a lifetime best and secured his second Olympic berth. It wasn’t when he embraced his friend and fellow Olympian Jacob Pebley in the lane beside him. It wasn’t when he high fived his Cal teammates and coaches, who have all been killing it this week in Omaha.
It was when Ryan Murphy rose from that rock star platform during the awards ceremony and found Aaron Peirsol waiting for him. The symbolism was on obvious display. Peirsol was there to do more than just pass Murphy his medal. With a tight hug on the podium, Peirsol was there to pass on the tradition.
Much was made of that American men’s backstroke tradition after the 100 earlier in the week. It extends for four decades now, through a succession of dominant dorsal champions. But the 100 back was really David Plummer’s story, even as Ryan Murphy touched the wall first. Tonight though, he is the headline. He is America’s new standard bearer of his stroke.
Nathan Adrian, Caeleb Dressel, Ryan Held, and Anthony Ervin – Olympians in the men’s 100 free… A snapshot of collective pride and joy…
“Veterans, meet rookies. Rookies, meet veterans,” said Brendan Hansen in his post-awards interview.
There stood a pair of Olympic champions alongside a pair of wide-eyed Olympic rookies. All four beamed like there was no place on the planet they’d rather be. And there wasn’t. How could there be? These four gentlemen were the latest newly minted 2016 Olympians in Omaha and there was no hiding their bursting pride. They’d all taken long roads to this spot.
It was the destination all along. It was hard to tell who was happiest.
First came Caeleb Dressel, the next chosen one of American sprint kings who’s always appeared uncomfortable with the mantle of heir apparent. This is a man who followed one of the most stunning high school careers in history by quitting the sport for six months. The expectations got to him, there’s no way around it. But now those expectations were fulfilled. The weight was lifted from those tattooed shoulders.
“Olympian,” he told Hansen. “That’s a title that no one can ever take away from you.”