You might say Michael Phelps, who won eight gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games, had a sub-par performance in his 2012 opening effort Saturday (July 28) in London. He finished fourth in the 400-meter indivudual medley. American Ryan Lochte won the gold.
“It’s frustrating, that’s all I can say,” Phelps said. “It’s pretty upsetting. The biggest thing now is to try to look forward. I have a bunch of other races, and hopefully we can finish a lot better than how we started.”
A Facebook posting from the esteemed wordsmith Mike Downey, former columnist for the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune (and who also labored at the Chicago Sun-Times many years ago with your humble correspondent when we were younger and the papers were better) may have summed it up nicely: “I hear submarine sandwiches can slow down a swimmer.”
Phelps has enjoyed a slew of endorsements since his 2008 success. Among them is Subway.
“It was just a crappy race,” Phelps said. “I felt fine the first 200, then I don’t know. They just swam a better race than me, a smarter race than me, and were better prepared than me. That’s why they’re on the medal stand.”
In his post-race interview with NBC, Phelps appeared as if he never had seen a reporter or a microphone or been asked a question. Maybe the shock of not winning put him in an unusual and awkward place. Guess he hadn’t prepared any remarks in case he didn’t win a medal. For what it’s worth, Lochte wasn’t a much better interview subject. Maybe he was in the pool — or not paying attention — when the swim team underwent media training.
Speaking of remarks, U.S. women’s soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo engaged Brandi Chastain in a war of words. Solo ranted on Twitter about Chastain’s comments on TV during the team’s 3-0 victory vs. Columbia. A legendary defender for the iconic U.S. team that captured the 1999 World Cup, Chastain apparently was referring to American defender Rachel Buehler with her remarks.
Lay off commentating about defending and gking until you get more educated @brandichastain the game has changed from a decade ago.
Its 2 bad we cant have commentators who better represents the team&knows more about the game @brandichastain!
I feel bad 4 our fans that have 2 push mute, especially bc @arlowhite is fantastic.@brandichastain should be helping 2 grow the sport
Its important 2 our fans 2 enjoy the spirit of the olympics.Its not possible when sum1 on air is saying that a player is the worst defender!
NBC had no comment and said Chastain was not available for comment. A U.S. team spokesman said Solo would address the situation when she meets next with reporters (Monday at the earliest).
Solo has a book that is due out two days after the Olynpics are over. Maybe she’s looking for publicity. Or Chastain’s job for the 2016 Games. Or both. Or maybe she’s merely trying to be a good teammate. Or all three.
Solo appeared in the 2011 ESPN the Magazine Body Issue. Which means the video-research department will work feverishly to locate something from that than from the 2012 Olympics. What a surprise. Anyway, the staff came through and provides this:
We will take a timeout from all this lovely Olympic stuff to make note of the Chicago White Sox acquiring left-handed pitcher Francisco Liriano from the Minnesota Twins for reserve infielder Eduardo Escobar and left-handed pitching prospect Pedro Hernandez. Liriano is a free agent after the 2012 season.
Liriano no-hit the Sox last season when he was 9-10 with a 5.09 earned-run average. He is 3-10 with a 5.31 ERA this season. His most recent start was July 23 against the Sox, who managed seven runs in 2 2/3 innings.
The deal provides a replacement for John Danks, who has been rehabbing from injury but might not return this season. Is the move coming too late? Perhaps by about six years or so. Liriano was an all-star in 2006 but has not returned to such form after elbow surgery in the 2006 season.
On a pitching staff fraught with fragility, Liriano, 28, should fit right in.
The U.S. Olympic swim team in action. Singing Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”:
How about some Olympic highlights. OK, from Friday’s Opening Ceremonies (they’re grander with capital letters, don’t you think?). Featuring Rowan Atkinson — otherwise known as “Mr. Bean.” And if you don’t know Mr. Bean, you should acquaint yourself with him:
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