The Olympic Games are over and only the most die-hard naysayer would admit that they were unsuccessful. What follows is a list of eight personal observations and my respective opinions for most of them.
1. The Jamaican 100m and 200m running select are the best ever. Usain Bolt is the undisputed king of the sprint and Yohan Blake is clearly one for the future (expect him to regularly pip Bolt in the next 2-3 years) and take over the athletic mantle at Rio. The Americans performed admirably but will have to wait for this tide of Jamaican runners to wash through before they can exert themselves as the primary sprinting power. Both Justin Gaitlin and Tyson Gay are currently grabbing at straws in these events.
2. The US can console themselves with an excellent Olympic performance. The American medal haul of 46 Gold, 29 Silver and 29 Bronze meant that they finished first in all three categories. They won the Lion’s Share of the medals in Athletics (29) and Swimming (31) and continued to show strength across the board (taking medals in Judo, Shooting, Soccer, Volleyball, Water Polo, Rowing, Basketball and Tennis etc). One area of weakness though is boxing where the Americans (who once dominated this sport) are now at the periphery of the discipline. I suspect that the rise of MMA (which seems to have come at the expense of boxing) may have something to do with this outcome.
3. Brazil needs to up their performance if they want to duplicate the British success when they host in 2016 in Rio. Both the Men’s Soccer and Volleyball Teams literally blew Gold Medal opportunities that should have been theirs for the taking. Kudos to the Brazilian Women’s Volleyball for salvaging some pride by taking Gold in their final.
4. Olympic Soccer showed once again why it is a poor relative to both the World Cup and the European Championships. The Asian teams excelled in the Mens tourney and the Mexicans ground their way to the finals defeating a Brazilian team that lacked heart. The Women’s competition was far more enjoyable with Canada being robbed by some awful officiating from a rightful place in the final that might have led to a Gold Medal for my country. In any event the American team should be congratulated for successfully tilting the balance of power in Female Soccer in their favour.
5. The Biggest Winners of this tournament was team GB who put behind them a series of historically inept British Olympic performances to take home 29 Gold and 65 medals altogether. The Brits finished 3rd in the first category and 4th in the secondary well ahead of the Germans and French. Performances in Cycling and Rowing were especially noteworthy but like the US and China for that matter the Brits showed much promise in spreading their medal haul across a variety of disciplines. A special mention must be made of the success of Track and Field Stars Jessica Ennis and Mo Farrah as well as cyclists Victoria Pendelton and Chris Hoy. I doubt whether the British medal success will continue in Rio but its certainly something to aim for.
6. The Kenyans had disappointing running results. The East Africans were hoping for seven or so Gold medals in London 2012 but had to settle for two instead. Nevertheless the 800mk world record set by David Rudisha (somebody finally cracked the 1 minute 41 second mark) was one of the game’s highlights. It was also neat to see a Botswana athlete pick up a silver in this event.
7. Other nations who disappointed in this Olympics included: Turkey (5 Medals), Canada (17 Medals but only 1 Gold), Morocco (1 Bronze), Greece (2 Bronze medals – didn’t they invent the Olympics? Cheez….), Portugal (1 Medal), Egypt (2 Medals), India (6 Medals for 1.2 + billion people – none of the medals were Gold), Indonesia (2 medals for 200 + million people), Belgium (3 medals – none Gold), Bulgaria (2 medals – none Gold – weren’t they once a Weightlifting powerhouse?), Argentina (4 Medals – only 1 Gold), Venezuela (1 Gold), Pakistan and Israel (no medals).
8. Some of countries that performed at a very high level included: South Korea (13 Gold and 28 Medals overall – the South Koreans finished fifth on the Gold Medal count ahead of Germany, France, Italy and most importantly for them – Japan), New Zealand (6 Gold Medals – 13 Medals altogether), Jamaica (12 Medals – four Gold all in the prestigious sprint events), Kazakhstan (13 medals of which 7 were Gold – they tied Japan for Gold) and North Korea (4 Gold).