Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dazz's 2012 Olympic Power Rankings--Part I

   Watching the Olympics at my house sees two kinds of talk. We either collectively moan and groan about how much we do not like this thing or that thing or one person (totally justifiably) thinks differently and then it is Cut the Comments, Smartass and a certain individual spends the rest of the evening in subdued silence.
   Hence these Grand Finale Olympic Power Rankings.
   There were some really great things in these Olympics. There were also some things that made you me scream aloud. Some things kept me glued for hours on end, and other things made me storm off and boycott the evening. To put it all in perspective, According to Dazz put together the conclusive Power Rankings of these 2012 Games. Keep in mind that a low ranking does not make one thing better than something that is not in the rankings at all. Rather, a low ranking indicates that something sucks. Not a tough system here, folks.

20. Andrea Kremer
   A huge pet peeve of mine is stupid questions. You know who asks a lot of stupid questions? Andrea Kremer. Case in point (and this is a paraphrased example), “Michael Phelps, you just won more Olympic medals than any athlete in the history of the world. How do you feel?”
   Answer me this, Andrea. How do you think he feels? You know what, no, he probably feels tired. Oh wait, he is saying he feels great? No way. Thank you for that in-depth, bare-bones, absolutely raw piece of reporting. Sheesh. Bet he feels like punching you in the mouth. Sorry, I had to vent a little.

19. The Dream Team “debate”
   I refuse to sit here and break down the hypothetical time-machine game between the ’92 team and the ’12 team. This is no debate. Sure, the modern “dream” team has two of the best players ever in Lebron and Kobe, and they have two of the best modern players in Kevin Durant and Chris Paul. After that, is there really a stand-out against the likes of MJ, Magic, Bird, David Robinson, Ewing, Stockton and Malone, and Barkley? What do you say there? Russell Westbrook? Melo? Shut up before you look stupid. Let the grown-ups talk in peace.

18. Missy Franklin’s Personality
   I never really bought the whole “I’m smiling all the time! My life is full of rainbows and flowers and it never rains and sun has a face on it and when I walk out my front door to go to swim practice little blue birds follow me!” act. My sister Alexis is a competitive swimmer as well (she is at the junior national meet right now, by the way, if you know her wish her luck), and cannot emphasize enough how fake that whole schpeel is. As someone who goes to swim practice twice a day now, here is what I will tell you: swim practice sucks. You stare at the same line for at least an hour and you do the same motion thousands of times in a row. Nothing changes. You do not race. You look down and breathe when you need to breathe. And it hurts the whole time. And you feel horrible afterward. She seems fake to me, I cannot really explain it. No one likes swimming that much, except for someone who has a really good PR rep, and I promise you her parents would pay for that.
   And did you see her gold medal interview? When things lulled after a question, she held it up for blue-collar America to see and giggled out, “Look at how preeeety it is.” What are you five?

17. Tim Bennett
    He is the gymnastics announcer for NBC, the really eccentric-sounding guy. This is not a total rap on him; he knows a great deal about gymnastics, to be sure, but the problem is he does not communicate any of his knowledge to the home viewer. I do not know about you but I know very little about gymnastics. Tim Bennett could write books about it, so when he is in the background of the broadcast going Ooh! and Eep!, I want to know why. He did improve as the Games went on, particularly with how the judges score landings, so we will cut him some slack. He actually climbed a few rungs on the Power Rankings ladder over the course of the Games.
   Then he totally jinxed McKayla Maroney by overblowing how dominant she would be on the vault. She was not impressed. Neither was the Dazz team.

16. Nastia Liuken
   Not so much her as it is the image NBC painted of her. Did you see the way they totally made her off to be this total prophetic saint of wisdom during the gymnastics competition? It was one of the most blatantly cornball things I have ever seen come out of the Olympics. They kept putting some quotes of her on as voiceovers. It sounded like she wrote them down and recited them. It was really old really fast. It washed her up faster than Leo washed up in limbo during Inception (wondering if that metaphor was a stretch . . . wondering . . . persuading myself . . . nah, no way). All they did was remind me how much more interesting the 2008 team was than this year’s team (save Gabby Douglas, but we will talk about her later). It was like NBC needed someone from the good ol’ days to come and lend credit to this team so that people would care about them. It was not pretty. Speaking of this group of gals . . .

15. The “Fab Five” Nickname
   There needs to be a rule in sports about nicknames. For those who are unfamiliar with the original Fab Five, the nickname comes from a group of freshman on the ’91-‘92 University of Michigan men’s basketball team who took the unimaginably-young team all the way to the NCAA Championship Game. I know I was not around for their primes, but I understand that they were a craze. They brought the swag. They brought the game. They were the cool kids on the block, so to speak.
   The women’s gymnastics squad did not have that same vibe it seemed. The OG Fab Five were actual buddies who goofed around together. Admit it, during these Games you wondered at least once if this whole hug-fest thing was just a big act. The Fab Five did not jive (. . . keep it) with me.
   Anyway, there needs to be an unwritten rule that teams cannot steal nicknames from other teams. Exceptions exist, of course, and one could borrow a nickname if a) the original team was crappy, or b) if 35 years have gone by since the original team. While we are on this topic, there is a nickname Hall of Fame, and if a name is inducted, it is never to be used again. Hint: The Dream Team is in the Nickname Hall of Fame.

14. Ryan Lochte
   Not to say that he did not have a fine Olympics, of course. He had a great Olympics, by most people’s standards. The problem is he had a crap-shoot Olympics by his standards. This was supposed to be his time. He was supposed to take the swimming crown from Michael Phelps and establish his reign as the face of American swimming. Instead, he took home one fewer gold than Phelps, and while he dominated the 400 IM, his comments afterward about being the better swimmer than Phelps failed to hold water after he choked away the last stretch of the 4x100 free relay, and then came second to his rival in the 200 IM.
   Aside from that, he sounds like a caveman, wears a grill, rides a scooter without mirrors (because I guess that’s cool or whatever), and has his own customized designer tennis shoes. He also apparently only has time for one-night stands, and this behavior was further evidenced by his comment that having a girlfriend during the last Olympics was a “big mistake” because he missed out on the Olympic Village . . . shall we say, proceedings.
   Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a winner for the World’s Biggest Tool Award.

13. Kobe Bryant’s Reputation
   This Olympics he looked to change his ways by pretending to be a good teammate, bombing more shots on London than the whole year of 1940 (bad taste . . . yeah), and making silly accusations about his (team’s) place in history.
   Hey, wait a second . . .
12. Usain Bolt’s Trash-talking
   I will give him this: he backs it up. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest sprinters of all time. He has the hardware, he has the records, and he has his place in history. I do not mind someone declaring that they are looking to go out onto the track and crush everyone—that is a competitor. What I do mind is someone declaring that the other runners in his heat are “running in [his] service” or talking about how honored everyone should be to be in the same race as he is. It is wearing on me a little. He can back up all of his trash, of course, but I just wish he did not have to be a total jerkwad (Man, I cannot wait until I can use profanity on this blog. I feel like I am in third grade here) while he did it.

11. Track Cycling
   Ok, I like the last two-thirds of the deal. It is exciting, it is strategic, it is tactical, breakneck, and seemingly dangerous. But the first lap . . . what the hell is that all about?! They just mope around for a whole lap “working on their positioning” and staring at each other like they are trying to burn holes in each other’s tires. It is the stupidest thing you have ever seen. The announcers tell you that they are trying to take an advantageous position on the track, but it just does not explain why one biker will not just suddenly start sprinting off and catch the other by surprise. I do not understand. At all. They have to have the stamina. I should be a coach of that sport. My biker and I would be undefeated. All that tactical streamlining stuff cannot be that complicated anyway. You can do all that while going fast. Easy.

Look for Part II--coming soon!

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