This year, my just-over-slight interest in the Olympics has grown a bit, as it does every year.
A small explanation of my previous statement: I've never been much for sports. I derive little to no pleasure from practising them and the halcyon days (isn't this a lovely phrase, "halcyon days"? I really should use it more often) of my nation's Olympic prowess are long gone. However, my father is somewhat of a fan, and the Olympics are something to bond over for us. We really don't get enough of this.
Not long ago Swimming was "our" sport. Now it seems swimming has gone into the background for us, along with everything else, as no sport in particular is on the spotlight or even on the foreground, with live transmitions taking place from 3:00 AM to well into the wee hours of dawn.
So, my highlights are as follows:
Jamaican runner Usain "Lightning" Bolt has been having quite the streak, scoring nothing but first places, with the sole exception of Men's 200m Round 1 - Heat 5, where he came second only to Rondell Sorillo, and setting the World Record for the 100 metres dash.
Diving, my all-time spectacle of choice, provided a lovely entertainment for a not-as-lovely bout of insomnia with the Woman's 10 metres platform semifinal. China's Chen Roulin, who would come to take the gold, won first place over 40 points ahead of second place Mexican diver Paola Espinosa, who would see her spot taken by Canada's Emilie Heymans, retaking the spot she'd lost during the semifinal to a bit of bad luck. Not far behind her, China's Wang Xin, who had managed third place during the semifinal, improved slightly on her own performance. Both British divers, Tonia Couch and Powell Stacie qualified, but managed only 8th and 10th place respectively. Australia's Melissa Wu secured 8th place at the semifinal and went on to finish 6th at the final, performing far better than a very disappointing, albeit also Australian Alexandra Croak.
Still in the water, the Women's 10km Marathon was led most of the time by Brits Kerri-Anne Payne and Cassandra Patten. Surprisingly, right at the home stretch, Russia's Lasira Ilchenko pushed herself in a mighty sprint straight to first place. German swimmer Angela Maurer showed a hearty effort herself, but couldn't outdo the two brits.
Australia's Steve Hooker* set the Olympic Record in Men's pole vault after managing a 5.96 metres leap on his third atempt, well above Russian athlete Evgeny Lukyanenko's best result of 5.85 metres.
I've also been watching some volleyball and beach volleyball, but hardly any of it live. I'd just like to leave a bit of a recommendation to all aspiring Olympic Athletes reading this that if you have a funny name, such as, oh say, Brazillian Volleyball player Fofão (not a typo), have your jersey read either your first or your last name accordingly (I can't tell weather Fofão is a first or last name. In either case, I wouldn't have gone on in front of the world with that printed on my back). Best of luck.
Pax vobiscum atque vale.
* ArabianShark would like to remind you all the neither Olympic Medalist Steve Hooker nor his father, Eric Hooker, an athlete as well, appreciate you sniggering at their last name, so kindly show these Hookers the respect and admiration they have earned on the field.