Thursday, August 14, 2008

Weighing in on Michael Phelps, medal counts, today's WOD, and Elizabeth tomorrow

The Olympics are an amazing thing when you sit down to think about it. Athletes from countries all over the world, doing what they love to do, and giving it their all. There are amazing performances to watch time and time again, and plenty of inspirational stories to hear. But one thing that has irked me since the beginning of the games is the constant running commentary on the medals. I understand that announcers and analysts will always look at past times, games, bouts, matches etc. and compare teams and athletes. It's what they do. But what has driven me nuts since day one, is how these people seem to think that just because their predicitions have not all be correct, something is terribly wrong, and someone had an awful performance. I've heard it in swimming a lot with the American women. So and so was favorited in this event and didn't make the medal stand. Well, yes, this may have been the case, but so what? The athletes in the games are working their butts off and giving it their best. The reality of the matter is though, that sometimes even though you're giving your best, someone else is too, and their best today might just be a little bit better than yours. I really wish the announcers would lay off the athletes, stop trying to put the US on the medal stand for every damned event, and be proud of the athletes for training their butts off and swimming for their country in the Olympics.

It also drives me nuts that the media is keeping a running tally of how many medals each country has. Honestly, who cares about how many medals each country has? The Olympics have turned into the biggest pissing contest ever. I swear. Why should it matter if the Chinese have more medals than us? Honestly? Why should it matter if we have more than Australia? What matters is watching these athletes give gutsy performances and celebrating their efforts. How sad is it that instead of celebrating personal bests, we lament them because they were not good enough for a medal? In the end, what is more important? A medal? Or knowing that someone did the best they could? Medals are nice, and pretty, and shiny, and we all know how I love shiny things, but seriously. Let's get back to the real reason that the Greeks started the Olympics. Pride. Pride in oneself and pride in one's country. I'm proud of our athletes, but not for our media for putting the focus of the Olympics where it doesn't need to be.

Now, as for Michael Phelps. I know that everyone in the world has become a bandwagoner for him. I get it. He's in the media, it's hard not to follow his story. But what I wish the media would focus on, is not that he swims fast. I know that. The world knows that. The world by now has caught on to the fact that "The Cube" is a damned fast pool. What makes Michael Phelps good is not that he is fast. What makes Michael Phelps one of the best athletes around, is how he is winning these medals. He is breaking world records, yes, but BUT, he is doing it over a period of 9 days. He is swimming 17 times. I'm not sure even I as a former swimmer can comprehend just how much focus and energy that must take. It's not as if he is just going out and giving one great performance for each race. He's not. He's doing prelims, semis, finals, and swimming in some cases multiple races on each night. Michael Phelps is not good because he's fast, he is damned good because he is sustaining it. There is a HUGE difference there. This is what sets him apart from other amazing athletes in history. Not only that but he is doing it with one of the most demanding programs I have ever seen. I'm not sure if any of you have attempted to swim a 400 IM before (100 of each stroke) but it's flat out brutal. Butterfly is by far the most demanding of the four strokes and to start a race with that, and then have to do the other three... ai caramba! Not only that, the man swam the 200 fly! C'mon! He is either that good, or a serious masochist. I'm going to put my two cents in on the former. Anyway, I'm not telling you to respect Michael Phelps because he's fast and he breaks world records and my isn't that amazing. No, in that pool breaking a record is apparently as common as seeing a KB at CrossFit. You're more surprised it if DOESN'T happen. Respect Michael Phelps because the dude has the cahones to keep breaking the records over 9 days with an insane program. Dude deserves the credit.

Today's WOD... 3rd long one of the week... oi vey!

No warm-up today. Today it was straight to the chaos! We had chaos on the menu again... mmm... isn't chaos delicious? :P
Buy in + 5 rounds + buy out for time
Buy in 50 Ab mats
400 M run
10 TGU (women 25 men 35)
10 L-sit pull-ups (or progression)
10 Burpees
Buy out 50 Ab mats

This took 46:11 today. I was using the ropes to do L-sits from the floor. They are not as easy as they look. I was smoked. My shoulders were still sore from earlier this week so TGU form got a little shaky towards the end, but still got 'em done.

Tomorrow is Elizabeth... last time I did RX'd weight with a pink band on dips. Jerry has said before that once you get off bands you should never go back. I officially got a single ring dip today. Tomorrow I am going to attempt a full RX'd Elizabeth with no band. I have a feeling I will fatigue early and it will take me a loooong time to do this workout. I'm fully anticipting 30 minutes or more. Wish me luck... I may die. Death by ring dips... but what a way to go... :P


Justa said...

I understand the focus on medals to a degree. As a Yankee fan, watching a world class player like A-Rod choke in the playoffs every year, you realize that it's important to go the distance and win. Yes, it is about the competition, but you can't deny that a measure of competition is victory. Many of these athletes compete all year long, and it isn't unreasonable to expect them to shine on the biggest stage. Anyway, I'm sick of the NBC coverage of the Olympics. They try to make up fake drama and make everything like it's life or death. That woman walking around asking stupid, insulting questions of the Chinese should be shipped home immediately.

Good luck with Elizabeth tomorrow. Do your best...and be proud!

Katie said...

Justa, I know what you mean. I'm not saying that athletes shouldn't be expected to perform, but I hate when an athlete has just swum or done a personal best and the announcers are like, you didn't medal, what do you think went wrong? Nothing went wrong... they swam/did a pb... the other people were just faster. That's what annoys the pants off of me. I'm not sick of the coverage. I actually wish they were doing more. I like to watch the things I wouldn't normally get to see. I love rowing. I think it's uber neat. I love volleyball too. I just wish the media would stop being retarded.

Kurt T. Fuller said...

I'm with you on ring dips. Three people I WOD with could probably rip off 30+ at a time. I can't.

I will say, however, you should check out the OPT vs. Bionic videos. Once you learn Bionic's "kipping" ring dips, you'll be better off.

Much like the pull-up though, it's something difficult to learn.


Tami said...

I think maybe the problem with the media coverage at the Olympics is that they have a LOT of air time to fill, and they think they need to fill it with talking. What they should fill it with, of course, is more sports. Duh. Also, a lot of the people talking think they are a lot more interesting than they actually are.

Oh, and Michael Phelps is a mutant (and I mean that in a good way.) They should add him to the TV show Heroes. His super power would simply be that he is Michael Phelps.

The Wigan Crossfitter said...

I find it hard to understand how people whose major athletic achievement is to get up off the sofa and turn off the TV can take any sort of pride in 'their' athlete winning a gold for their homeland.

Its the dedication I admire. Each individual has busted a gut to get to those games.

I know the euphoria attatched to a PB, when an athlete reaches that I really am pleased for them.

Jen said...

What pisses me off about the coverage of the Olympics - on tv and in the press - is when they say X athlete "settled" for silver or bronze. Basically, if they didn't win gold, they had to settle for the next best thing.. a less illustrious medal (metal?) Nothing about winning 2nd or 3rd. I heard about a kayaker (?) from Togo who WON bronze, the first ever medal for his country, and acted like he won the lottery, the gold, a day at the Playboy mansion, a trip to the moon, etc.

America is a country of 'one upers' - we don't keep up with the Jones's, we have to be better than them, and reiterate it every day, and shove it in your face, say 'na-na-na boo-boo!' and 'suck it, Mao' with a crotch grab and spit a la Rosanne Barr. Hence, the medal count.

Oh, and good luck with your workout. I'm doing "Nancy" for the first time Sunday.

keturah said...

They should get rid of all these damn Olympics and do crossfit workouts for time. Judging criteria would focus on movement, speed, and load....

Prize would be a free trip to interview and get close to the man behind crossfit, Coach Glassman. And that's my two cents :)

Katie said...

LOL Keturah I love your two cents... :)