Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Like more than a billion other folks, I’ve been getting regular doses of Olympic hyperbole and I've found it near impossible to avoid getting swept up in the compelling competitions. Michael Phelps’s 1/100th of a second win in butterfly for his 7th gold may have been the most exciting swim event I’ve ever seen (rivaling seeing my 7 year-old complete his first 25-meter freestyle length – and in less the 2 minutes!) And Shawn Johnson has the most infectious smile ever, coupled with thighs that look as thick and strong as tree trunks, and I was thrilled when she won the beam yesterday. And the pain and frustration of Lolo Johnson’s hurdles loss was palpable. The Olympics are theater writ large with drama and tragedy on a grand scale.

One thing I wondered: did the “princess of the pole vault,” Yelena Isinbayeva, remind anyone else of Jennie Meharg?

And another intriguing local connection that you might notice on your TVs these days: was that expatriate Justin Dray visible in the currently-running ESPN Monday night football commercial?

PS: I have to apologize to regular commenters -- I just found a backlog of comments that had been "unmoderated" going back to August 14th. Blogger usually notifies me of comments but for some reason those had been sitting unnoticed. Sorry!


Anonymous said...

Is Justin the guy mixing at the board in the first Ad?

Angelika HausFrauSki said...

I LOVE the Olympics. Athleticism on that level is so fascinating to me...not only because of the putting-aside-our-differences poignancy of it all...the drama of triumph and defeat and all that...but also, because I am a walking insurance liability, being that fit and coordinated is just so far beyond my personal experience that it's almost like watching an alien species in action.

So yeah...fascinating. :)

Dave T said...

The full beard and sunglasses make it a little tough to pick him out but that's him!

Frank Creasy said...

Okay Dave - it COULD be Justin, not sure, and certainly LOOKS like him...but there is a guy doing commercials out there who is the Justin Dray doppelganger. He showed up first in a Yellow Book commercial with David Carradine. I congratulated Justin on the commercial (the dude looks like his twin, no lie), and Justin told me it wasn't him and that he wanted to kick that dude's butt for taking work away from him! But really...I think the doppelganger is bigger than Justin, so maybe best they don't meet!

As for the Russian pole vaulting gal - yeah, I see the resemblance to Jennie. But Jennie's WAY prettier. Right, Scott???? (Man, you should have been on this one before ME, dude!)

But as for the Olympics overall: I am LOVING it. While I'll always miss the ABC crew, NBC has done it very well this time. Of course, my sport - wrestling - gets relegated to USA network or MSNBC at 5 a.m., despite the amazing gold medal win by Henry Cejudo at 55 KG (121 pounds - just about my high school wrestling weight, believe it or not! And even then, I had to lose almost 15 pounds to make weight!) Anyway, Cejudo is just amazing. The kid went straight from high school to international competition and has a gold medal at age 21. THIS is why the Olympics are so great: Stories of athletes like Cejudo who expect no bonus, no contract, no endorsements, nothing at the end of their long ordeal and sacrifice but a possible Olympic medal. That kind of character, coupled with the amazing displays of sportsmanship we've seen at these games, is what we've all been missing for too long from the NFL, NBA, and MLB in America.

And for those of us over 40, two words to give us ALL hope: Dara Torres!

Enjoy the end of the games everyone! GO USA!

Scott Wichmann said...

Yeah, it's Justin. I spotted that ad because I watch WAY too much ESPN and I asked him if it was him-- Bingo!! I think it's great that he's already making headway in LA-- We're proud of him in the 804!!

Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed these olympics, but I have really enjoyed the "secret" olympics. The events that we didn't see! Trampoline? We won medals in Sailing? Table Tennis was fun to watch. We don't have a Men's Handball or Field Hockey teams? We should get a program going!

I swear I'm 16! Check my library Card!

Chinese Gymnist

AKA Jeff C.

HEK said...

Wow...she DOES sort of resemble Jen...maybe her cousin.