Starting with a few bits of news:
– Both U.S. teams won their first matches at the 2014 Chess Olympiad, then faltered today against high seeds. The U.S. open team lost 2.5-1.5 to the Netherlands, while the U.S. women lost 3-1 to China. Only eight rounds to go.
– The U.S. women’s volleyball team had a disappointing 1-2 start in the monthlong World Grand Prix, righting the ship against Japan.
– Nothing else happened.
Seriously. It’s a slow week. Thank goodness two UFC fighters decided to throw down … at the press conference. That’s actually kind of rare for the UFC.
The week in tweets and videos …
Top THIS, Vegas …
Wiping the floor: Simone Biles won the Secret Classic, thanks in part to this:
Close finish: You’d expect a margin of 0.27 seconds in a 100-meter race, but 10,000 meters?
Weekly reminder of global press protocols (or lack thereof):
Best prep for climate change: Hey, just make biathlon a summer sport.
Most dangerous PR position: UFC’s Dave Sholler had the unfortunate task of attempting to keep Jon Jones off Daniel Cormier.
One more reason to visit Barcelona …
You’rrrrre … um … out?: This isn’t supposed to happen in beach volleyball.
The first year after the Olympics is always the least meaningful in gymnastics — that 17-year-old sensation of the next Games is only 14. But when four gymnasts combine for 12 medals, it’s worth noticing.
And quadruple medalist Simone Biles is still just 16.
U.S. gymnastics wraps up most successful World Championships ever | OlympicTalk.
To do truly accurate gymnastics projections, we’d probably need spies in small gyms in China, Romania, Russia and elsewhere. We can’t do that, so we’ll just go with the 2011 World Championships and whatever we had from the previous list.
In women’s gymnastics, that means we’ll have near-total turnover. Few gymnasts last multiple Olympic cycles, and this time, we’ve seen world champions from 2-3 years ago fall far back. The USA had several gymnasts attempt comebacks, but the young guns are just too good.
Men’s gymnasts have a bit more longevity, so we have more competitions from which to choose. We’re a little more confident about those picks. Maybe.
(Update: I’m going to plug this informative gymnastics blog that is tracking each country’s participants through all the nagging injuries and team selection dramas.)
On to the rings, bars, ribbons, trampolines and horses (not the equestrian kind) …
Continue reading 2012 medal projection update: Gymnastics
Some sports (track and field, most forms of skiing) are big in the Olympics and have well-established international competitions through the year. Some sports wallow in obscurity, even at the Games.
Then there’s gymnastics, one of the biggest sports in the Games but one shrouded in mystery the rest of the time. U.S. gymnasts stay busy with domestic events, some of which attract a couple of overseas athletes, but the sport doesn’t have the weekly showdowns of top names that some sports maintain each year. The international federation keeps world rankings, but Chinese and American gymnasts in particular are underrepresented.
Gymnastics does have an annual World Championship, so we have a few results to check. But don’t ask which countries have the best 15-year-olds training in secret, ready to be breakout stars in London.
China is always strong in gymnastics, but repeating their medal haul from Beijing would be quite an accomplishment.
Continue reading 2012 gymnastics: China takes show on the road
Time for that annual tradition for much of the country: Watching the Westminster Dog Show. (Or, if you work in journalism, creating Westminster-related content that will get startling traffic numbers.)
It’s fun to watch, but does anyone really have a clue about the judging? We see the judges peek in their mouths, stroke their coats and watch them trot, but if not for the expert commentators, most of us couldn’t tell first place from last.
That difficulty isn’t unique, though. Judging is an issue in MMA, even though the actions and their impact are often easy to see.
Then come Olympic sports — gymnastics, diving, figure skating, etc. The action is subtle and often goes quickly. Having seen Olympic diving first-hand in Beijing, I can offer this recap: Jump, flip flip flip, splash. Sure, you can judge the splash, but everything else happens too quickly for most mortals to process. The splash just tells us whether or not the diver got through the whole thing. (As Norm MacDonald once said, there are two types of cliff divers — “grand champion” and “stuff on a rock.”)
Which brings us to a poll …