League of Their Own Olympians

 

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Photo by Ribbie (2014) atop Forte Duque de Caxias in Rio

 

In these Rio Olympic games, some stories of domination are being written. In this segment called “In a League of their Own” from the Olympic desk of Ribbie’s weblog, Ribbie comments on the competition.   Ribbie was last in Rio during the 2014 World Cup, so the reporting is almost live.

The USA men’s basketball team is in a league of their own, and is expected to win Gold again. The league of their own, of course, is called the NBA.  And while other national teams sport NBA players, team USA’s roster is made up of ONLY NBA players.  Same is true of Team USA on the women’s side – an all WNBA roster.  The women have won 42 consecutive Olympic basketball games, or is it 43?  They are 58-3 all time winning Gold in the last 2 games.  The men have won 14 of 18 Olympic Golds since 1936.  Seems unfair that professional players play teams comprised of, well, in most cases, other professional players from far less competitive leagues, right?  In their first games, the NBA All-Stars beat China by 57 points and the WNBA stars beat Senegal, Africa’s best team, by 65 points. Don’t get me wrong, I like seeing these games; the lack of competition make the NBA/WNBA players seem even better than they really are, to be honest.  I don’t care for the lopsided scores; however, which must be somewhat of an embarrassment to the other teams, though to be fair, Olympians DO like playing against the best.  That said, the Olympics should be about fair competition, in my judgement, which is why I favor a return to a competiton of amateurs only.

Chinese Diving.  Wu Minxia has won more Gold medals in diving than any other Olympic diver in history and is the oldest diver, at 30, ever to win a Gold medal.  She’s still got the golden touch  and is the gold standard in the diving world.

Team USA in women’s gymnastics is in a league of their own.  They could be the best gymnastic’s team the world has ever seen.  In the team competition, they’ve left the other nations behind in the qualifying round, way behind. Simone Biles could win multiple Gold medals in the team competition, all-around and in some of the individual events, possibly as many as 5.  The others have a chance at Gold in their individual events when not up against Biles.

Beach Volleyball – the native California Kerri Walsh with partner Mysti May-Treanor won 3 consecutive Gold medals for the USA and is back for a fourth with a new partner, April Ross.  The towering 6’2″ Walsh is in a league of her own.

Team USA soccer, or football, if you like.  The USA women’s team has won Gold in the last three Summer Olympics and look to be on their way to successfully defending their title.  With the dominant captain Carli Lloyd scoring at will, team USA is clearly in a league of their own.

USA Swimming.  Michael Phelps, whose maiden wins date back to 2004, is STILL swimming and STILL winning in the pool. He’s won so many medals, he’s lost track.  Ask him.  I bet he won’t know how many he has, most of them Gold too. Mr. Phelps is undubitably in a league all his own.

The USA has been fortunate enough to have the great sisters Serena and Venus Williams represent, who have been playing in a league of their own winning 4 Gold Medals in Olympic competition. They could repeat as doubles champs.

Others leagues of their own include Italian Fencers, German and Slovakian  Canoeists, and Danish Rowers.  And the dominant French handballers, in a sport about as silly, but not quite as silly as Water Polo, where Hungary has traditionally dominated, look to be the team to beat.

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