The Olympics have closed out now, and what a ride it’s been. Gruesome injuries, incredible sportsmanship, and a few athletes absolutely dominating the competition. All in all, we got exactly what we wanted: the realization of human potential. Let’s look at some great things you might’ve missed.
What were those pink dots on the Team USA uniforms?
You might have noticed all the sprinters on Team USA had little pink dots on the sides of their racing kits. At least they looked like dots.
I was curious, myself. I went to the Nike store in Santa Monica, where the Track and Field kits were on display, to find out. They were actually little rubber fins to help with aerodynamics.
The unsung heroes of Rio
Ashton Eaton is perhaps the greatest athlete to ever live, but is never going to get his due. Basically, the scoring system on the decathlon is too complex for the average person to understand, and the average person also doesn’t understand the difficulties that go into being world-class at 10 events. “He’s not as fast as Usain Bolt, though,” is a common refrain from people unfamiliar with Eaton’s level of skill. “He didn’t throw it as far as those other guys” is another. Even with his face plastered all over Nike promotions, United adverts, and Visa commercials (not to mention the several NBC features centering on him and his fellow multi-event medalist/wife Brianne Theison-Eaton), I was asked by everyone I watched the Games with, “Who’s that?”
Laurie Hernandez should’ve been the Simone Biles of these Games. 2008 brought us Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson, while 2012 had Gabby Douglas as the stand-out. Things were all set for this 16-year old phenom to have the spotlight, but she seemed to be bested at every turn by Biles, who may very well be the greatest gymnast of all time. The team seemed to consist of Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, and the other ones. No doubt, Raisman and Biles are phenomenal, but while still a high school student Hernandez was able to hang with the best ever and even beat her out once.
And then again on the track, 17-year old Sydney McLaughlin showed tremendous power by reaching the semi-finals of the 400m hurdles. That a high schooler could generate that kind of sustained speed is quite frankly amazing.
Trayvon Bromell is a name that created a lot of hype at Baylor University. He was the first teenager to break the 10-second barrier in the 100m and was tracking ahead of where Usain Bolt was at his age. He had a less-than-stellar showing in Rio, having an injury that caused his last-place finish in the 100m finals, but he kept going to lend a hand on the relay team. There, he had the unenviable task of facing off against Usain Bolt on the anchor leg. He stood his ground and overcame imperfect handoffs and a lead deficit to crash over the finish line for a third-place finish. Bromell gave it his all and while USA was disqualified, bis individual performance was a stand-out, especially for a first-time Olympian.