mind games

Monday Myriad: Paralympic wrap, injured gymnasts and Diamonds

Shirley Reilly photo by USOC/Long Photography

Yes, the Monday Myriad is back! Mostly because I want to try to mention the big stuff and some fun stuff that happens on weekend, and soccer coaching/PTA/parenting duties don’t let me work an actual seven-day week. It only seems that way.

And we had a lot of long-term events wrapping this weekend. Feels almost like the end of summer, and not just because we have a nice cool front on the East Coast after the power-threatening storm front Saturday.

Here we go …

Paralympics: China dominated the final medal count with 231 medals, 95 gold. Britain was a distant second overall with 120; Russia a remote second in golds with 36. The USA finished with 98 medals (fourth) and 31 gold (sixth).

The U.S. highlights near the end were in the team events — silver in women’s sitting volleyball, bronze in men’s wheelchair basketball. The wheelchair rugby team lost 50-49 to Canada in the semifinals and rebounding to beat Japan for bronze. Women’s wheelchair basketball missed the podium, finishing fourth.

Also this weekend — Shirley Reilly got a long-awaited gold medal after several near-misses, winning the marathon in a sprint finish. Yes, that’s right — a sprint finish in the marathon. Think about that the next time your local pro athlete talks about a “gut check.”

As in the Olympics, the USA’s strengths were in the pool (41 medals, 14 gold) and on the track (28 medals, nine gold). Cyclists accounted for 17 more, six gold. The rest were scattered among wheelchair tennis (three), archery (two), judo (two), rowing, sailing and the three team sports above.

Chess: Armenia won the Olympiad, barely beating Russia on tiebreak. Ukraine took sole possession of third. China, which handed the USA its sole loss, took fourth. That left the USA in fifth, with Gata Kamsky and Hikaru Nakamura posting the eighth- and ninth-rated performances.

The U.S. women didn’t do quite as well, finishing 10th. They rebounded from some puzzling results with a nice run, only to run into Ukraine and then draw Mongolia. Top three: Russia, China, Ukraine.

Cycling: Alberto Contador won the Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain, for the European language-impaired). We can only hope he gets to keep this one. Spanish riders dominated, while Britain’s Chris Froome should get some sort of endurance prize for finishing fourth after reaching the Tour de France podium and medaling in the Olympics.

Track and field: The Diamond League is done, and I’ll be parsing the results from the complete track and field year sometime this fall. Or maybe when the Diamond League site stops bogging down. Season winners from the USA: Aries Merritt, Christian Taylor, Reese Hoffa, Dawn Harper, Chaunte Lowe.

Tennis: Serena Williams was challenged in the U.S. Open final but pulled out another win. Rain pushed the men’s final to today. Check CBS at 4 p.m. ET to see Andy Murray go for that elusive Grand Slam title against Novak Djokovic. No British man has won a major since the 1936 U.S. Open. As Channel 4 put it — no pressure, Andy.

Gymnastics: Women’s soccer isn’t the only sport with a post-Olympic tour. The gymnasts are doing it, too, but Fierce Five members Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney have been injured. In related news, the “McKayla is not impressed” Tumblr is running out of good ideas.

Women’s soccer: Transfer speculation! Jeff Kassouf takes a good look at the latest rumors on big-spending Paris St. Germain, finding the Christine Sinclair rumors plausible and the Abby Wambach rumors far less plausible. He dares not speculate on Hope Solo. I’d have to agree on all three counts.

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