Tuesday, July 31, 2012

London Olympics 2012: Swimming

Time sure flies…

It was only 4 years ago when the Olympics had taken place in Beijing, China during the summer of 2008 but it seemed like it had just happened yesterday. Now, 4 years later, the Olympic games are finally back in London, Great Britain. Besides the United States, I’m also supporting other countries such as China, Korea, etc. However, despite being an American born Chinese, I’m supporting China more than my home country because of the strong influence from the Chinese culture as well as from my Dad who is a big fan of China.

One of the sports I enjoy watching the most would be swimming. The most memorable swimming event from the Beijing Olympics was USA swimmer, Michael Phelps, making history by snagging 8 swimming gold medals. I have never been a fan of Michael Phelps but it’s always fun and interesting to watch him racing against other competitors. However, the Michael Phelps I’m seeing this year is different from the legend I saw 4 years ago. I was expecting him to be winning more gold medals for this year’s Olympics but he has not gotten any for the first 3 days until Day 4, which is today, after the 4x200 meter Freestyle Relay final with his teammates.

I’m not really against Phelps but something I find annoying about him from watching the last few day’s swimming competitions is his arrogance; it seems like he is too confident in his ability to win, causing him to depend more on his natural talent rather than on his training. I guess his lack of effort in training and dependency on his talent is the reason why he has a hard time winning this year. After the 4x100 meter Freestyle Relay a few days ago, Phelps & his teammates, which include Ryan Lochte, almost took the gold home but were eventually beaten by the French team who managed to take the lead during the last few seconds of the race. Back in Beijing 2008, France had lost to the US in the same race but now France has finally avenged their loss by grabbing first place. Ryan Lochte was the last person to put a finish to the race for the US team but was caught up by the French. After the race, it was a major disappointment for the US especially for Phelps who had not gotten any gold medal at that time. Lochte didn’t seem too happy with the results because he felt like he had caused the team’s loss but it shouldn’t be his fault as he had the most pressure being the last person to finish the race. Well, at least a silver medal is better than nothing. Anyways, I want to congratulate Team USA for winning their first gold medal in today’s 4x200 meter Freestyle Relay. Michael Phelps has made history again.

In this year’s Olympics, there is a new rising star named Ye Shi Wen who is a 16-year-old female swimmer from China who has recently won 2 gold medals from her swimming competitions (the 200 meter and 400 meter individual medley). In fact, she is the first Chinese swimmer to win gold medals for China’s swim team. Because she has broken the world record in the 400 meter Individual Medley, she became known by many people as the “Chinese Michael Phelps”. I was amazed by how fast she can swim because she had even beaten Ryan Lochte’s time. However, there has been a controversy over whether she has been doping since many people especially the U.S. swimming Coach find her abilities too good to be true. When I heard this piece of news, I find it to be really ridiculous of the US Coach to be suspecting a 16-year-old of doping. Of course, a book shouldn’t be judged by a cover but I’m sure his suspicions were definitely motivated by jealousy. But it’s great news to hear that Ye Shi Wen has passed the drug test today, refuting the coach’s claim on doping. I really admire how hard working she is. To get to the position she is in today, Ye Shi Wen has been training for 2 ½ hours each morning and 2 ½ each afternoon everyday for 9 years and it has all paid off in the London Olympics.

Another great swimmer I have recently become fond of is Park Tae Hwan, the very first Asian swimmer to win a gold medal in the Men’s 400 meter freestyle race during the 2008 Beijing Olympics and also the first Korean swimmer to win a swimming medal for Korea. Although he has not won any gold medals in this year’s Olympics yet, he is still satisfied with winning 2 silver medals in both the 400-meter & the 200-meter freestyle relays. During the 400-meter qualifying round, he was disqualified for a false start but then was reinstated back into the competition; he ended up winning a silver medal which was tied with Chinese swimmer, Sun Yang’s time. The 1,500 meter freestyle relay is the remaining race for him. I can’t wait to see how he does.

Another one of my favorite sports to watch is gymnastics but I will talk about that topic in my next blog post.

Now, off to watch the Olympics! :D

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