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Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Further Thoughts Midway Through RIO 2016

Despite all the naysayers, including me, and dire predictions, the Rio Olympics thus far seem to be rather successful. Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt surely will be remembered 84 years from now when Sports Illustrated opines as to who was the greatest athlete of the 21st Century. (Assuming SI still exists in one form or another.) And Simone Biles demonstrated how far women athletes have come in the last quarter century in demonstrating not just grace but strength and power on a par with any of her male counterparts.

Still, there have been a few low points. First, was the action of the Olympic Committee punishing non-offending Russian Athletes for the sins of their predecessors. Even worse was the despicable behavior of certain athletes from Arab countries manifesting everything the Olympics is not by refusing to either shake the hands of or even compete against Israeli athletes.

I cannot remember any prior games where coaches and athletes complained of being mugged, or of contracting illness from the polluted water venues, or of having to wear protection six weeks after the games to ensure they don’t pass on the Zika virus to their mates when they return home.

Speaking of which, pole vaulter Hiroki Ogita is certain to replace Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards as the athlete achieving the most fame for Olympic failure. In the first round of the competition, on his attempt to clear the bar at 17 feet, 3 inches, it seems Mr. Ogita brushed the bar off its moorings in a rather impressive fashion:


Let’s avoid the junior high humor and not even mention this is why Milton Berle gave up pole vaulting for a television career.


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