August 11, 2008

"I'm not going to lie. The thought really crossed my mind for a split-second, 'There's no way.'"

Lezak!

82 comments:

Jenny D. said...

Awesome, awesome swim! Lezak has been waiting eight years for this swim and he got it! Plus he is a great guy. So is Cullen Jones.

And Phelps is the greatest swimmer in Olympic history.

Watch for Allison Schmitt, 18-year-old, in the 200 freestyle. I know her and she is a wonderful person and a powerful swimmer.

SteveR said...

Its very easy to overrate such things but it was really amazing to watch.

ron st.amant said...

Finally got the see the replay this morning. It was a really terrible mistake by Bernard, and with all the jawing he did about the US team before the event...karma.

But credit Lezak with a great run as well. The swimming thus far has been the most exciting events to watch.

MadisonMan said...

The coverage of that fabulous race is far too Phelps-centric.

Middle Class Guy said...

The French had made their hopes public. Their trash talking might have been their undoing; it motivated the Americans. “It fired me up more than anything else,” Phelps said.



I smell a French surrender in the air. Go team America!


BTW, that was a terrific peice of sports writing. Too bad the rest of the NYT is not as well written.

age group mom said...

Gotta love men in Speedos.

Ann Althouse said...

I was watching last night. Should have put up a post then. Really exciting and unbelievable, esp. after Phelps didn't impress. Loved the world record line that could not keep up with anybody in the pool.

MadisonMan said...

...I should add: Not in the NYTimes, necessarily, but in many of the stories I've read, it's all about Phelps and his 8 golds, as if his teammates did nothing.

Ann Althouse said...

"Gotta love men in Speedos."

Yeah, I wanted to see more torso muscles. But they have to wear their magic wetsuits.

downtownlad said...

The swimmers are not attractive at all. The gymnasts are much, much hotter. Its not even close.

age group mom said...

Phelps was nearly naked standing on deck watching the end of the race, his magic suit pulled down to, well, pretty far down.

Yes!

Ryan Lochte is a god.

Palladian said...

Underwater fisheye! Which is, I suppose, where fish eyes are usually found.

Palladian said...

"Phelps was nearly naked standing on deck watching the end of the race, his magic suit pulled down to, well, pretty far down.

Yes!"


Mhm. I agree.

downtownlad said...

The divers are more attractive than the swimmers. Like this Australian diver, Matthew Micham. But then again, he's gay.

http://www.smh.com.au/ffximage/2008/05/23/matthewmitcham_narrowweb__300x450,0.jpg

ricpic said...

...Phelps is the greatest swimmer in Olympic history.

Mark Spitz wasn't too shabby.

Original Mike said...

"smash"

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

(Maybe it means something different in French)

TitusGlassmen said...

OMG, I had to jerk off last night after I saw them.

Who knew there was a black swimmer too from the US-dont' see that much.

I nice circle jerk with that team would of been absolute heaven.

Or bukkake

TitusGlassmen said...

The olympics make me really horny.

ron st.amant said...

Ann, I don't think you can consider Phelps leg of the race 'unimpressive', he set an American record in his split after all.

William said...

Grantland Rice said that yacht racing was like watching grass grow. Aqua events are like watching water splash. You can't see the expressions of the contestants or for that matter even know who's ahead....And worse luck for the female contestants. They have to bask in their moment of glory with stringy hair, red eyes, and a suit that is meant to flatten not flatter the curves.

P. Rich said...

Lezak surged. Somehow over the last 30 meters or so he found another gear. An amazing display of talent and determination.

I feel for the three U.S. guys who swam the prelim, set a world record and didn't get to swim in the finals.

Altogether, an amazing sports spectacle. That's gonna be hard to top.

Original Mike said...

P. Rich: Not talent, according to one of the French racers quoted in the NYT article:

"Frederick Bousquet, who split a blistering 46.63 on the third leg, said, “We believed in the gold medal until the end.” He added, “The touch made the difference and experience overcame talent.”

And did anybody else notice the NYT could not bring themselves to report on Bernard's boast that they would smash the Americans?

PatCA said...

Fantastic! Then my Tivo stopped just before the medal ceremony. Grrr...

Writers have a saying: save it for the page. You don't go around blabbing about your ideas or you weaken them. The French just learned the sports equivalent: save it for the pool. They lost graciously, though.

PatCA said...

(Yes, Original Mike, I noted the editing of the French comments. Who do you think the NYT was rooting for, or do elites even "root"?)

Original Mike said...

I don't think Bousquet's comment was especially gracious, but maybe it came out wrong.

MadisonMan said...

Who do you think the NYT was rooting for,

I'd say the American team -- that would sell more papers and generate more web hits.

I agree that M. Bousquet's comments about experience winning out seems a little churlish, but I wonder if he made the remarks in english or en francais and suffered from a bad translation.

MadisonMan said...

I don't think you can consider Phelps leg of the race 'unimpressive', he set an American record in his split after all.

And it was just 0.01s off the old world record set by the French anchor. The record broken in that same leg by the Aussie.

Scrutineer said...

Ann Althouse: Really exciting and unbelievable, esp. after Phelps didn't impress.

From ESPN:

"Australia's Eamon Sullivan broke the individual record by swimming the leadoff leg in 47.24 -- ahead of Bernard's mark of 47.50.

"Oh, by the way, Phelps set an American record leading off, 47.51. But it was Lezak's anchor that everyone will remember. He got down and back in a staggering 46.06, the fastest relay leg in history though it doesn't count as an official record."

Phelps was 1/100th of a second off the world record. Pretty impressive, especially when you consider he isn't a 100m freestyle specialist like Bernard and Sullivan.

Original Mike said...

I'd say the American team -- that would sell more papers and generate more web hits.

I don't know, MM. The NYT seems more concerned with their agenda than their stock price, which has fallen over a factor of 3 in the last 5 yrs.

PatCA said...

Oh, true, "experience wins over talent." Kind of churlish, yeah, but let's give them the benefit of the doubt.

SteveR said...

An American, Hall, made a similar gaffe in 2000 saying the Americans would play the Australians like guitars. After losing he got to watch them air guitaring on the medal stand.

MadisonMan said...

After losing he got to watch them air guitaring on the medal stand.

I think the air-guitaring was just around the blocks right after the swim. At least I don't remember it during the awards ceremony.

EnigmatiCore said...

"I feel for the three U.S. guys who swam the prelim, set a world record and didn't get to swim in the finals."

But given that their world record lasted just until this race, and was beaten by 5 teams, and the US team that did race won by the smallest of margins, I think its pretty clear the right guys were swimming in the finals.

Original Mike said...

I've never understood trash talking. You're just begging the universe to slap you down.

Original Mike said...

It seems odd to me that you can swim a different team in the finals than you swam in the semis.

John said...

"Really exciting and unbelievable, esp. after Phelps didn't impress. "

What are you talking about Ann? Phelps set an American Record in the leadoff leg. Had it not been for Sullivan setting a world record, Phelps would have given the US a lead. Is anything short of a world record "failing to impress". That was probably the greatest swim race in history. Five of the teams broke the existing world record. That is amazing to think about, you break the world record and finish fifth. No one French or American, failed to impress in that race. Get off of Phelps' back.

MadisonMan said...

My recollection is that the team is mostly set at the US Olympic qualifiers. At least, that's how everyone but Mr. Jones got on it. I don't think you want your fastest tuckering themselves out -- or injuring themselves -- in the qualifyings at the Olympics. They can save themselves for the Finals.

John said...

"Phelps was 1/100th of a second off the world record. Pretty impressive, especially when you consider he isn't a 100m freestyle specialist like Bernard and Sullivan."


Phelps is a 400 meter guy, which is middle distance for swimming What Phelps did last night is like an 800 meter runner runing the opening leg of a 4x200 meter relay and coming within 1/100th of a second of the world record. It is just astounding.

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Original Mike said...

Given the rule, I'm not questioning the strategy. I think the rule is odd.

Original Mike said...

That was probably the greatest swim race in history. Five of the teams broke the existing world record.

It really was something watching that WR green line so far back in the pack.

Susan said...

And they're all considered part of the winning team so even the men who swam only in the semi final and not the final will be taking home a gold medal for that event.

SteveR said...

MM you may be right about the air guitaring and considering it was in Sydney, especially sweet regardless.

fivewheels said...

The NYT story was a good read, and it did have the benefit of focusing on Lezak rather than Phelps, but seriously, leaving out the "smash" quote is terrible, awful, pathetic journalism. That's easily the #2 element in the story, just behind Lezak's amazing rally.

What possible reason could there be to omit it?

Original Mike said...

Fivewheels: Three guesses.

vbspurs said...

Fivewheels wrote:

What possible reason could there be to omit it?

(Perhaps someone can Google this)

Knowing the NYT, I'm fairly sure when they reported on the Australian smack-down of the American 4x100 relay team in Sydney, they mentioned Gary Hall Jr.'s pre-race trash talking.

Not saying all liberals are like this, but there is something very twisted when they point out the worst of their own people, whilst giving "the Other", from foreigner to minority every benefit of the doubt.

This is why MSM refuse to call terrorists that, and resort to euphemisms like freedom fighters.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Jenny D. wrote:

So is Cullen Jones.

This sounds silly, but since the appearance of that Visa ad where he speaks of his mum's cheering during his swim meets, I've loved him.

I am the last person on the face of this world to take into account a person's race into my like of him or her, but I really REALLY like the fact that Cullen Jones is black, and that he was a crucial part of this stunningly beautiful American victory.

Trust a Kos diarist to somehow inject McCain into this story, and mention American racism...ugh.

Cheers,
Victoria

vnjagvet said...

Lezak's swim was as good as it ever gets in swimming. To run down someone like Bernard (before the race he was the world record holder at 100 meters) when you were behind by about .3 seconds with 25 meters to go is unbelievable. Lezak made up .5 seconds in 100 meters on the world record holder while Bernard was swimming his best time.

This just does not happen in world class events.

Original Mike said...

And, it was easier figuring out who was who during Jones' leg. Seriously. I have a very hard time following swimming races from the side shots. I wish they'd stick to an overhead view.

vbspurs said...

Lezak made up .5 seconds in 100 meters on the world record holder while Bernard was swimming his best time.

Again, as I stated in last night's thread, I am praying on my knees so that NONE of the swimmers later are revealed as drugs cheaters.

I have this vision of Floyd Landis, after a catastrophic Stage 16 in the Tour de France the previous day, just ripping apart the pelleton the next day.

Where did he get that energy! That was the most amazing comeback in the Tour de France ever! This never happens at this level!

I can hear the television presenters in my head then, still.

Please please, God, let this race have been clean.

Cheers,
Victoria

EnigmatiCore said...

"Lezak made up .5 seconds in 100 meters on the world record holder while Bernard was swimming his best time.

This just does not happen in world class events."

Bernard was swimming his best time, but he was not swimming his best. Lezak was hugging the side of the lane closest to Bernard, trying to draft off of him. Bernard, seemingly unaware that this could help, actually drifted closer to Lezak rather than away from him.

If Bernard is on the right side of his lane during the last half of his leg rather than the left side of his lane, he probably would have held on for the win.

But he didn't.

This is probably what the other French guy Bousquet was getting at when he said "experience beat talent." Ungracious to the Americans? Absolutely. But it was even worse to his own teammate, who he threw beneath the bus there, despite it being arguably true.

Original Mike said...

Don't even think it, Victoria. That would just suck.

vnjagvet said...

I second that, Victoria.

Original Mike said...

Interesting, EC.

vbspurs said...

Yes, I know. I feel like a heel even letting the thought cross my mind.

This is the sucky part of modern sports -- the uncertainty of anything.

/says the girl who cheered for Mark McGuire with all her heart...

vnjagvet said...

Good point, Enig. Rowdy Gaines observed during the race that Lezak was saving some energy while drafting Bernard.

That saved energy came in handy in the last 10 meters when both swimmers were struggling to get the first touch.

You could tell Bernard was struggling and tightening up from his thrashing splashing strokes at the end of the race. As Gaines put it, "tying up". Lezak was not.

100 meters in swimming is the equivalent of the 400 meter dash in track; mostly a sprint, but in the last 50 meters, an endurance contest. The more you struggle at the end, the slower you go.

garage mahal said...

This is why MSM refuse to call terrorists that, and resort to euphemisms like freedom fighters.

Whaa? Who in our MSM calls terrorists freedom fighters?

Chip Ahoy said...

"Ah, ici je suis, Bernard, dans parler de la France claque."

SMACK!

Ha ha ha ha ha

He weeps like a une petite poupée de bébé that weeps, no?

vbspurs said...

Garage Mahal, though I've seen it, I cannot find the reference to answer you in a devastating riposte.

But perhaps you might take Daniel Pipes' article on the topic as a response.

Extract (just about Beslan):

* Assailants - National Public Radio.
* Attackers – the Economist.
* Bombers – the Guardian.
* Captors – the Associated Press.
* Commandos – Agence France-Presse refers to the terrorists both as "membres du commando" and "commando."
* Criminals - the Times (London).
* Extremists – United Press International.
* Fighters – the Washington Post.
* Group – the Australian.
* Guerrillas: in a New York Post editorial.
* Gunmen – Reuters.
* Hostage-takers - the Los Angeles Times.
* Insurgents – in a New York Times headline.
* Kidnappers – the Observer (London).
* Militants – the Chicago Tribune.
* Perpetrators – the New York Times.
* Radicals – the BBC.
* Rebels – in a Sydney Morning Herald headline.
* Separatists – the Christian Science Monitor.


Whichever way people want to slice it, left-leaning MSM of any country go out of their way not to use words inflammatory words like "terrorists". The horror.

MadisonMan said...

Victoria, perhaps my glasses need cleaning, but I see no reference to freedom fighters on that list.

Palladian said...

The word "terrorist" is over-used. Sometimes enemies are just enemies.

vbspurs said...

Did you read my intro, Madison Man? I know.

Original Mike said...

I'm partial to "evil-doers", myself.

MadisonMan said...

..and I'm on the 2nd of your list: attackers. It's unclear to me whether they are talking about the Chechens who held the school, or the Russians who tried to clear it. And yes, the Washington Post does call them fighters, but also Muslim guerillas, hostage-takers and terrorists.

I admit that it looks worse if you just cherry-pick quotes. So sure, they call them fighters. But a story that used one word and one word only -- even if it is le mot juste -- is a boring read.

vbspurs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vbspurs said...

To get back to the topic at hand, the reason the NYT didn't mention Bernard's taunt (which added a key layer to the US victory) and did mention Gary Hall Jr.'s trash talking after the US defeat in 2000, is that MSM entities seem to delight in pointing out anything which makes the US and Americans look bad.

This goes hand-in-glove with their attitude to lessen the negative impact of those who oppose America in anything.

It's my impression to be sure, but one so evident that I think many share my opinion based on innumerable situations.

Cheers,
Victoria

MadisonMan said...

Here's my impression, based on reading the NYTimes article from 2000:

The relevant quote is:
With a relaxed, tranquil stroke that belied the fierce power in his legs and flipper-like feet, the Australian kept gaining ground, drawing even and finally touching the wall with a confident lunge. Without looking at the clock, he knew he had won, and he sprang from the pool.

Hall had promised his opponents that the Americans would ''smash them like guitars,'' but it was the Australians who won instead and celebrated with a mocking concert of air guitars.


In describing the celebrations of the Aussie team, the air guitars have to be explained, and Hall's taunting published. It is possible that, because the Americans last night were more gracious (and I doubt the smash-mouth frenchman is as big a dick as Gary Hall, Jr., so it's probably easier to be gracious), the necessity to add to the story with the Smash backstory is lessened and the writer and editor can focus instead on what mattered: the incredible swimming.

P. Rich said...

PS

Re "the touch". The WSJ made a big deal out of Lezak out-touching the French swimmer. Well, no one ever wins a swim race without out-touching everyone else. And to be in a position to out-touch everyone, Lezak had to first overcome a deficit to the current 100 meter world record holder. Touch schmuch. Lezak (and the rest of the team) was great. Let the French swim team and the MSM go eat cheese.

vbspurs said...

Madison Man, I think I've rarely seen such a need to excuse an entity on EXACTLY the same kind of situation, as I have your rationale in explaining both incidents.

If you cannot admit that the NYT couldn't bring themselves to mention the French's pre-race boasts, but HAD to mention the American one in 2000, both of which were extreme motivating factors in their respective victories, I think others can.

Cheers,
Victoria

Original Mike said...

MM: I have a real estate transaction you might be interested in:

water view

Call me. ;-)

MadisonMan said...

Victoria, do you want to read about the swimming, or the taunting? That's the question any editor is going to ask.

Regardless of the pre-race talk, it was an incredibly exciting race. I think we agree on that. I'm so glad I saw it -- it gains very little by knowing about the taunting. Watch the Sydney 2000 race -- also an incredible finish, by Thorpe that time. But anyone might ask: Why are they playing air guitars at the end? Where's the reaction from the Americans this time that demands such an inclusion of pre-race talk?

bill said...

vbspurs said...
...I have this vision of Floyd Landis, after a catastrophic Stage 16 in the Tour de France the previous day, just ripping apart the pelleton the next day.

Where did he get that energy! That was the most amazing comeback in the Tour de France ever! This never happens at this level!


A couple problems with this example. The comeback wasn't that amazing. Athletes often have a bad day followed by a good day, vice versa, or even in the same game a bad first half followed by a great second half. During Landis' comeback, the watts he generated were well within his normal range, so he didn't ride with an excessive energy level. What made the breakway work is that the other riders thought he had lost too much time to catch up and by the time everyone realized he wasn't slowing down and was a threat, none of the teams were able to work together to put together an attack.

Aside from that, many believe that the work done by the French lab was incompetent and that it's impossible to know if Landis doped. If anyone cares to delve into this I highly recommend reading the work done at Trust But Verify.


For starters, here's a recent one linking to a couple of opinion pieces in the science journal Nature about how just inaccurate anti-doping testing is.

MadisonMan said...

original mike: Waterfront/water view means flooding possibilities. I live near the top of a hill for a reason. :)

Original Mike said...

We might be closer neighbors than I thought.

vbspurs said...

Where's the reaction from the Americans this time that demands such an inclusion of pre-race talk?

Presumably, the NYT would've mentioned the French taunting if Phelps had made a tennis smash motion after the US victory.

Yeah, I'm sure that's the reason they didn't mention it.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Bill, thanks for the links on Landis. Personally, given his strict Menonite upbringing, and totally humble demeanour, I was hugely let-down when I heard he was accused of doping.

My gut tells me he did, sadly. But I'm glad to be given a lifeline of hope.

MadisonMan said...

original mike: I live on a street that was not originally named what it is now. But the original name is mentioned in a book by a famous Madison author.

Victoria, I'm sure they would have.

Original Mike said...

Hmmmm. A mystery.

Cedarford said...

Susan said...
And they're all considered part of the winning team so even the men who swam only in the semi final and not the final will be taking home a gold medal for that event.


I believe that is incorrect.

vbspurs said...

Victoria, I'm sure they would have.

You know what I'm sure of, MadisonMan?

That the USA team this time, didn't do as the Aussies did in 2000 and mock their opponents by gestures of revenge.

IOW, Phelps and Co. easily could've busted out with those "smashes" like the Aussie team did the "guitars".

But they didn't.

That was classy. They celebrated their victory more than rubbed in their win in the Frenchies' faces.

Did the NYT mention that? No.

I have NO DOUBT that if the USA team behaved like that, that the NYT would've rebuked them in passing.

The whole point is that MSM will lean against whatever the USA does: they will find something you can criticise them for, whilst they'll forgive other nations for the exact same thing.

Cheers,
Victoria

bill said...

I believe that is incorrect.

No, it's correct. Seven swimmers receive a gold medal for the 4x100 (USA swimming):

Michael Phelps
Garrett Weber-Gale
Cullen Jones
Jason Lezak
Nathan Adrian
Benjamin Wildman-Tobriner
Matt Grevers

MadisonMan said...

Garrett Weber Grill as he's known chez MadisonMan. A funny slip of the tongue by the daughter.

Here is a (IMO) funny article on Sunday night's races. You might have to view an ad 1st.