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Sports Perspective: Olympic updates

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Posted: Wednesday, August 8, 2012 4:00 am | Updated: 3:13 pm, Tue Aug 28, 2012.

The 2012 London Olympics are underway and in top shape. Starting with the chaotic opening ceremony to Michael Phelps’ record-breaking 22nd medal, the 30th Olympic games have excited from day one.

Tucson native and Sahuaro High School graduate, Caitlin Leverenz will be bringing a bronze medal back to Tucson after placing third in the 200-meter individual medley behind Ye Shiwen of China and Alicia Coutts of Australia. Shiwen set a world record in both the 200 and 400-meter individual medley and is now being accused of doping. The sixteen year old had won medals before but was never expected to do this well.

Swimming legend Michael Phelps has been winning medals without a problem. I guess you could say that he isn’t having his best Olympics having won only four gold medals and two silver medals. In his defense, it’s hard to repeat eight gold medals as he did in Beijing in 2008. These will be Phelps final Olympic games, which makes him as the most decorated Olympian of all time. In all, he has 22 medals and only four aren’t gold.

Phelps started his Olympic career at the young age of fifteen at the 2000 Olympics in Australia. He did not win any medals in his first Olympics and first time out of the country. However, he went on to win eight medals at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. He brought home six gold and two bronze medals. That was the beginning of his excellence as he followed with the perfect eight gold medals in eight events. Phelps is a once in a century kind of Olympian and it is hard to believe that his performance will be out done or even matched for a long time.

His fierce competitor, Ryan Lochte has been dominating the pool when Phelps isn’t winning gold. In these Olympics alone, Lochte has won two gold medals, two silver and one bronze. In fact, he even beat Phelps in the 400-meter individual medley by 4.10 seconds as Phelps finished fourth.

Both the men and women’s basketball teams have crushed their competition as they sit on top of the rankings. Neither team has lost or really even had a close game with the exception of the men’s team recently edging out Lithuania.

The men’s team has been referenced to The Dream Team, referring to the 1992 US Olympic team, which starred its first professional athletes. With Lebron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant on one team, it’s hard to believe they will ever be beat. In fact, opposing players are even asking for their autographs, as did Mohamed Hadidane of Tunisia when asking Kobe Bryant to sign his shoe. From that moment on, you have to believe that United States basketball is simply superior and is on track to win gold.

The powerhouse women’s gymnastics team has truly captured the spotlight in London. As expected, the group of teenagers won gold. However, they weren’t done there. Gabby Douglas went on to win gold in the individual all-around event becoming the first African-American woman gymnast to win gold in that event. Following her, McKayla Maroney went on to win silver on vault due to her unlikely fall.

The United States has simply dominated in volleyball. Both the men and women’s teams on the court and on the sand have been winning match after match. The indoor women’s team, ranked first in the world have yet to lose as they are ever so close to advancing to the quarterfinals.

The men have been solid other then their recent loss to the Russians. Despite their loss, the Americans look to regroup and attempt to advance to the quarterfinals on a tougher route.

On the sand, we are known for the dynamic duo of Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rodgers who won gold in Beijing. In an upset, they were eliminated by the young Italian duo leaving only Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal to win a medal for the United States.

Two-time gold medalists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh have cruised through to the

Semifinals as they prepare to play the Chinese. If they can beat the Chinese, it might be an all

American final as Jennifer Kessy and April Ross have reached the semi-finals and are matched

up with Brazil.

Thus far, the Chinese and Americans have dominated the Olympics. The current medal count is 61 for the Chinese and 60 for the United States. The host country, Great Britain is in a distant third with 37. Nonetheless, the Olympics have been action packed and riveting so far. Look for the United States and China to continue their dominance in the Olympics.

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