Sunday August 24, 2008

Welcome back to an exciting edition of Today’s Sports Update. I’m Sebastian Maldonado bringing you all of the latest news in sports. This update is over-flooded with the Olympics, and it continues with your regularly scheduled sports news. Let’s get to it.

The Olympic Games have become another worldwide success. The success has started with China’s extravagant opening ceremonies. The medal count has the US in the lead with 110 total medals. The Chinese have 100 medals, while Russia has 72. Great Britain, the next spot for the Olympics in 2012, got 47. However, the Olympic Games have not been without controversy (see The Athlete’s Court).

The main attractions were Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt. Swimming medals were taken by nearly every country, as most races were down to the wire. Australia has dominated the majority of their swimming races with strong performances, specifically their gold medal performance in the women’s 4×100 medley. Jamaica dominated the track scene. Usain Bolt won the 100-meter dash, with a world record time of 9.69 seconds. He then went on to win the 200-meter dash in world record time of 19.3. No track athlete has won both dashes since Carl Lewis in 1984. He also took part in the 4×100 relay race. That also was a world record. Volleyball was conquered by the men and women (indoor and outdoor). Let’s not forget USA basketball’s “Redeem Team”, as they have gone undefeated in dominating fashion. No opponent has matched them blow for blow, and they are now gold medal winners.

College football is just around the corner. Old is new for the classic rivalries, such as Ohio St. vs. Michigan. The system is the same, as every college team vies to win the BCS (Bowl Championship Series) Sports Illustrated has Georgia taking on Ohio St. in the championship game. It’s too early to tell, as anything can happen within this year. LSU, last year’s BCS champion, is looking to repeat with new quarterbacks.

Baseball has been heating up over the past few weeks. The National League has become a circus. The Mets, Cubs, and Diamondbacks are currently leading their divisions. Yet, others are looking to topple them or get a wild card spot. The Philadelphia Phillies, Florida Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, and Los Angeles Dodgers are all hunting them down. The Brewers are currently in the lead for the wild card. The American League is a different story. In the East, the Rays are beating the Red Sox in the standings. Both teams are trying to leave the Yankees in their dust, but the Bronx Bombers are still hanging by a thread. The Central contains the White Sox and Twins in a dead heat. The West has the Angels running away with their division.

Here is the listing for the next UFC PPV. It’s called UFC 88: Breakthrough, and it will be live on September 6th at 10PM eastern/7PM pacific. The main event features one of the most popular light-heavyweight fighters, Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell. The former Light-Heavyweight champion will take on Rashad “Sugar” Evans. This match could determine the number one contender for the Light-Heavyweight Championship. One of the under-card bouts features former Middleweight champion Rich “Ace” Franklin taking on Matt “The Hammer” Hamill, the only deaf fighter in UFC history. Other bouts include Nate “The Great” Marquardt, Karo “The Heat” Parysian, and Dan “Hollywood” Henderson.

Time for the issues to be heard in:

The Athlete’s Court:

  1. There wouldn’t be an Olympics without controversy. It has been reported that Chinese gymnasts have been under age. Some girls have been reported to be as young as 14. The IOC (International Olympics Committee) investigated the Chinese, specifically He Kexin, Yang Yilin, Jiang Yuyuan, Deng Linlin and Li Shanshan. However, no evidence has been discovered. The IOC (International Olympic Committee) is still investigating.
  2. The new system for judging the gymnastics team is difficult for the casual fans. It’s more frustrating for the experts. Instead of 10 being the highest, the highest score to obtain is at least a 16. Some performances from the US have never looked better. Yet, people are shocked that the majority of them (notably Shaun Johnson and Nastia Liukin) are getting silver and bronze. The judges have reportedly received hate mail from angry Americans whose identities remain “anonymous”.
  3. The Chinese have taken fire for their Olympic setting, but they’ve also been the target of racism. Spain’s basketball teams and Argentina’s women’s soccer team have pointed their eyelids away from their noses, making the eyes more “squinted”. This act is a direct sign of making fun of the Chinese.

Time for the magic man to take over!

Pure Magic:

If there are many examples of a dream team, would Michael Phelps be the ultimate athlete? Let us speculate. The ultimate athlete must be able to come through for his or her team. The ultimate athlete must show dominance in his or her sport. Lastly, the ultimate athlete shows tremendous sportsmanship and lets his or her actions do the talking for him/her. If Michael Phelps is the ultimate athlete, then he personifies all of these qualities. He won an unprecedented 8 gold medals, 3 of them relay matches. Many people called Phelps’ performances “extraordinary”. He has set numerous world records for the freestyle and butterfly individual events, and he took part in setting three relay world records. His teammates and Americans have started to call his act “Phelpsian”. Others have called his physique “abnormal”. He’s 6’4″, but the height is virtually made up of his torso. His wingspan is 6’7″, and he has a size shoe of 14 inches. His appearance is unique to say the least. Yet, when he’s in that water, he appears to be inhuman. Phelps has performed an act that has made this country proud. Phelps has made the entire world his oyster. It’s amazing what he has done. Now, the world is wondering what the “ultimate athlete” will do next.

Congratulations To:

  1. All gold, silver, and bronze medalists won their medals through hard work and tremendous effort.
  2. Starting quarterbacks are all the rage. J.T. Sullivan won the job in San Francisco. Matt Ryan won it in Atlanta. Kurt Warner could be the starting QB for Arizona. (Stay tuned for more NFL news in next week’s Sports Special: NFL Preview.)

Final Thoughts:

The USA basketball team has won Olympic gold. This team was unbeatable and unstoppable. It reminded basketball fans of the first Dream Team that was formed in 1992. This brings us the question of what is the better team: Dream Team vs. Redeem Team. The answer may be tougher than you think. However, each match-up has an intriguing story. We all know the story of Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James. We all know the potential of Magic vs. Kobe. Yet, here’s a match-up I’d like to see: Patrick Ewing vs. Dwight Howard. Why is this big-man battle intriguing? Patrick Ewing was a dominant force for the New York Knicks. He is now an assistant coach for the Orlando Magic. Howard was tutored by Ewing, and Howard had the best season of his career (so far). It would be a classic story of the student versus the mentor. Who would win in a battle of the Dream Team versus the Redeem Team? It’s too tough to call, but I’ll leave that for you guys to figure out.

Remember, if you disagree with anything I say, feel free to email me at I look forward to hearing your opinions and criticism. After all, you readers keep this column going. Until then, take care you KNUCKLEHEADS!!!

Yours truly,

Sebastian Maldonado

Copyright © 2007 by Sebastian Maldonado


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