Tuesday Olybullets

August, 19, 2008
8/19/08
11:43
AM ET
  • Have you noticed that in a lot of sports, the elite athletes from all over the world went to American universities? That's especially true in track and field, it seems. And, it turns out, basketball! This is an amazing piece of news from Michael Lynch in ESPN Research: "In these Olympics, seven players who played Division I basketball at an American college are scoring in double figures. Amazingly, just one of them is playing for Team USA. Scoring at least 10 points per game in Beijing: J.R. Holden of Russia (Bucknell) 17.6, Dwyane Wade of the U.S. (Marquette) 16.2, Andrew Bogut of Australia (Utah) 14.4, Linas Kleiza of Lithuania (Missouri) 13.8, Patrick Mills of Australia (St. Mary's) 13.0, Sarunas Jasikevicius of Lithuania (Maryland) 10.6, Chris Kaman of Germany (Central Michigan) 10.4."
  • Germany's coach joins those who think Team USA is unbeatable.
  • Four elimination games tomorrow morning. Here are thoughtful previews of each.
  • Every sports fan should be forced to read this post by Dave at BlazersEdge about arguing doggedly for your team. When you do so, the simple truth is you may be wrong: "The thing that struck me was that watching live, and even in the replay, it didn't look like Phelps won! You could have sworn he was second until, apparently, they slowed down the replay to frame 1/10000th of a second apart. This got me thinking about what we observe in NBA games. How many times have we sworn we have seen something happen on the court but an official calls it differently? How many times have we looked at the replay as proof? Now granted the officials could also be mistaken in what they observe, but the point is are any of us 100% sure that we perceive reality correctly? In a world where even replays sometimes screw up should we be a tad bit easier on referees, coaches, and analysts who see things differently than we do? They're not perfect, but being specifically trained and focused on the matter at hand on average they're going to see things better, clearer, and more accurately than we do. The second notable moment was televised this past evening when American Nastia Liukin and China's He Kexin tied for first on the uneven bars and Lukin was bumped into silver medal position because of a tiebreaker. First of all the commentators went berserk over the scoring, claiming Liukin's routine was superior. Second of all they slammed the tiebreaker system. The criticism was so pointed that play-by-play man Al Trautwig asked whether He Kexin really thought she was the gold medalist when she took the awards stand. I'll admit right now I don't know enough about the sport to judge whether their critiques were correct. What struck me were the two words that failed to enter the conversation anywhere: Paul Hamm. Hamm was the American gymnast who, in the 2004 Olympics, had a disastrous fall on the vault but later came back to win the all-around gold because of a horrific judging mistake against South Korean gymnast Yang Tae Young. The controversy ran well after the Olympics were finished. I'll admit my memory isn't word-for-word perfect but I do recall the American gymnastics contingent defending that gold medal with teeth and nails bared and I believe the commentators basically followed suit."
  • Asked about the Dream Team vs. the Redeem Team, David Stern says he'd pay to watch.

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