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Dispatch: London Calling, 24/7

  • By Holly Bennett
  • Published Aug 2, 2012
Simon Whitfield served as the flag bearer for Canada. Photo: Delly Carr/Triathlon.org

“Dispatch” is an online column from Triathlete Editor-at-Large Holly Bennett that features pro updates, industry news, happenings afield and otherwise random reports related to multi-sport. Look for “Dispatch” every Thursday on Triathlete.com

I don’t know about you, but it’s been a long week. A long week of sitting with my butt stuck on the sofa and my eyes glued to the TV, soaking in as much Olympic coverage as possible. I just can’t pull myself away, despite NBC’s questionable “let’s act like Twitter doesn’t exist” scheduling foible. Still, I’m one of those millions helping the primetime ratings soar, riveted to tape-delayed battles for gold every evening. But even during the daytime my focus is fixed on London. It’s a luxury of working from home, yet it’s also a curse – even sports that don’t interest me in the slightest are sucking me in. There’s just something supremely addictive about the Olympics. The fact that it’s the freaking Olympics makes me excited and emotional for all the athletes, even in oddball pursuits such as the shooting events and table tennis.

We’re still a few days out from triathlon’s time in London’s limelight (unless you count Simon Whitfield carrying his country’s flag in the Opening Ceremonies, which I certainly do – how awesome was that!). Regardless, I’ve learned some interesting facts* and made some amusing observations through following my current obsession, which I’ll gladly share with you:

*I use the term “facts” loosely. The following are gleaned from NBC’s coverage, Today show segments, that ever-reliable source of knowledge known as Wikipedia and my own musings. Proceed with a grain of salt.

- Close your eyes while listening to NBC Sports. Al Michaels sounds exactly like Howard Stern. For a moment, I wondered whether America’s Got Talent had expanded to include sporting talent.

- I have total respect for the top players in table tennis. I was tempted to laugh at their Ping-Pong prowess, until I actually watched a match and witnessed their quick and nimble skills.

- If you accidentally discard part of your uniform in an ITU race (your sunglasses, for example), you could be called for a penalty. Not so in swimming. Case in point, the cap of Dana Vollmer that flew off during her world record gold medal-winning 100-meter butterfly.

- What woman doesn’t have a knee-weakening crush on Ryan Lochte? I’d even forgive his grills.

- Put five 15 and 16 year old BFFs in a room, ask them all the same question and you’re bound to hear pretty much the same answer, repeated five times over. But we’ll forgive the Fab Five that less-than-lively media moment – because of the fire and flair they brought to win a crushing gold medal victory in team gymnastics over heartbroken Russian rivals.

- Some Olympic parents put on more riveting performances than their offspring. If you haven’t yet seen the video of Lynn and Ricky, proud mama and papa to American Gold Medalist Aly Raisman, you’re missing a prime piece of entertainment.

- Prince Harry’s Olympic sport of choice is beach volleyball. The Prince, and just about every other hot-blooded male on the planet.

- Phil Dalhausser painted stripes on Florida highways prior to his reign as beach volleyball’s king.

- Dalhausser’s predecessor, Olympic legend Karch Kiraly, previously babysat for female beach volleyball Gold Medalist Misty May-Treanor. That’s just plain cute.

- “The husband and wife area” in beach volleyball refers to a moment when the two players fail to communicate. One thinks, “He’s got it,” the other thinks the same – thus both fail to go for the ball. That’s just plain funny (and oh so accurate).

- Olympic medals on swim relay teams go to the athletes that race in the qualifying preliminary round as well as those in the final heat. That’s just plain fair.

- Tug of War was an Olympic team sport from 1900-1920. Clubs competing for Team USA swept all three medals in 1904. That’s just plain random.

- London 2012 marks the first ever Olympic Games in which every participating country includes women athletes on their teams. That’s just plain cool (and about damn time).

- Dreams are shattered, tears are shed. Dreams are realized, tears are shed. Any way you slice it, there’s a whole lot of crying going on. That’s just plain Olympic emotion!

RELATED: Olympic Triathlon Television Schedule

For more Olympic coverage visit Triathlete.com/Olympics.

FILED UNDER: Features / Olympics TAGS: / /

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