“It is amazing being here (China), because, in the United States, you never have crowds like this or anything. And they go crazy.” – Ariel Rittenhouse, a synchronized diver who placed fourth
When pride comes, then comes disgrace; but with the humble is wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2)
What have been your favorite highlights for the Beijing Olympics?
What makes those especially touching to you?
How do you see God working through these Olympics?
I love the Olympics and what they mean to the spirit of competition, inspiration, and good will among nations. We hear so many neat stories and witness unusual twists of events that shape the destinies of not just individuals, but even nations. Today I’d like to share some of my personal favorite highlights and low points following the first 3 days of the Beijing Olympics.
Highlights of Beijing Olympics 2008
1) The Opening Ceremonies were the most spectacular ever. The synchronization of thousands of Chinese performers was incredible.
2) Record Olympic attendance (7 million people) with great sportsmanship manifested by the Chinese people. According to Ariel Rittenhouse, a synchronized diver who placed fourth, “It is amazing being here, because, in the United States, you never have crowds like this or anything. And they go crazy.”
3) President Bush’s attendance. He is the first sitting U.S. President to attend the Olympics held out of the U.S.
4) Michael Phelps first gold medal victory in the 400 meter Individual Medley
5) The comeback story of American Dara Torres. She became the oldest swimming medalist in history, at the age of 41, by taking silver with the U.S. 4×100-meter freestyle relay team. Twenty of the 31 other women in the relay Sunday were not even born when Torres first took the Olympic plunge at the age of 17 in 1984. Torres’s anchor time of 52.44 seconds was better than any other woman swimming that leg except for the 100-meter world record holder, Libby Trickett of Australia.
Torres was already the oldest Olympic female swimming medalist in history, after coming out of retirement the first time to take gold in the medley relay in Sydney in 2000. But after this latest, more improbable comeback, she is now the oldest swimming medalist of either gender. She is now the first American swimmer to compete in five Olympics and has won 10 Olympic medals, the most on this powerhouse American team, although Phelps already has nine (and counting). On August 16, Dara goes for gold in the 50-meter race.
6) Park Tae Hwan becoming South Korea’s first swimming medalist ever by winning the men’s 400-meter freestyle at the age of 18. What a comeback for someone who disqualified in the finals in the 2004 Olympics in Athens after a false start. This was especially neat to me because my wife is a full-blooded Korean.
7) The story of the 43 year old woman gymnast competing for Germany in her 5th Olympics. She won the team gold medal for Russia at age 19. Her search for a cure for leukemia in her young son led her to Germany and the German team.
8) Michael Phelps got his second gold medal in his quest for eight thanks to a late comeback in the 400-meter freestyle relay by Jason Lezak, who lunged to the wall just ahead of the French anchor. The U.S. team’s time of 3 minutes, 8.24 seconds shattered its previous mark of 3:12.23 set the night before in preliminaries. This victory silenced the arrogant boasts made by the French relay team beforehand.
9) The stunning comeback of the USA women’s gymnastic team after a very auspicious start. Samantha Peszek, who had been expected to compete in all four events in qualifying, was practicing a tumbling pass when she injured her left ankle shortly before the team came out to compete. Her teammates said they heard a pop. Martha Karolyi, the women’s national team coordinator, decided to hastily rework her lineups, with Chellsie Memmel and now Peszek, both out with ankle injuries, competing only on the uneven bars.
1) Without a doubt, the low point of these Olympic Games has been the stabbing death of Todd Bachman when he was attacked at a popular tourist site in Beijing. Todd was the father of former Olympian Elisabeth Bachman-McCutcheon and the father-in-law of the U.S. men’s volleyball team.
2) The loss of the second of two twin brothers (Paul and Morgan Hamm) for the U.S. men’s gymnastic team.
3) On the uneven bars, Liukin, a U.S. gold-medal favorite in the event, fell backward on her dismount, rolling awkwardly onto her back. Her father and coach, Valeri, leapt off the podium in disappointment.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the opportunity to watch these amazing Olympic Games in Beijing. While we don’t understand the details, we know LORD that You are shaping the destinies of nations as a result of these Olympics. Bless the remaining 14 days with Your peace and good will. May there be much eternal fruit as a result. Thank You Jesus. Amen and hallelujah!
Link of the Day
U.S. Gymnasts Overcome Injuries in Qualifying
Blessings to soak in the Olympics with God’s eternal perspective!
Joseph Peck, M.D.
The Time Doctor
Author, I Was Busy, Now I’m Not
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