OT: The 200 Meter Dash Tonight, and non-Lochte Olympics Open Thread

Submitted by stephenrjking on August 18th, 2016 at 2:40 PM

Tonight Usain Bolt, already the greatest sprinter in history, attempts to win his third gold medal in the 200 meter dash. It is the race he was born to run. No other man has repeated as a 200 champion, and he is attempting to win it for a third time. As in the 100 meter dash, he smashed and gutted the world record for the event, producing times that have not been approached by anyone else.

As a visual spectacle I actually have a bias toward the 200 when it features compelling athletes. The image of the runners sprinting full-out around the bend and catapulting down the straight is spectacular. I'm looking forward to this.

This has been something of a golden age for the Olympic games, with both Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt emerging as superstars and all-time greats in two of the crucial disciplines of the Games at the same time. Both merit and have received worldwide attention, athletes that transcend their sports and the Games themselves. In four years the Tokyo games will be notable for their absence, and it is likely that fan interest will be reduced as a result.

Should be a fun night. The team competitions are moving into the late stages of competition as well, medals are coming soon. Open thread time. About the games, not... legal issues.

Comments

Brendan71388

August 18th, 2016 at 2:45 PM ^

Really looking forward to this as well as the 4x100 relay whenever it is. Bummer US Women's volleyball couldn't get by Serbia to the gold medal match, but hoping they can salvage the bronze like the beach team did.

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amaizenblue402

August 18th, 2016 at 2:45 PM ^

I'm really looking forward to the 200 tonight. I expect Bolt to win but the way that he wins is what has my interest. The fact that he just looks like he's not trying at the end while everyone else is charging full speed ahead is just not fair.

stephenrjking

August 18th, 2016 at 2:57 PM ^

Denard, of course, is not as fast as Bolt. Ironically, though, Bolt is not particularly fast in distances that matter in football relative to other sprinters. He often trails at 35-40 meters before his massive stride length devours the last half of the 100. People speculate that he could be a great receiver (just heart Tirico and Michaels talking about it) but he really is born for this particular sport.

I have wondered how fast Randy Moss could have been if he had become a sprinter instead of a football player. Tall, lanky, fast? Sounds familiar. He's got millions of reasons to be fine with the path he chose, though.

DrewGOBLUE

August 18th, 2016 at 6:35 PM ^

The notion that there's a big difference between football and track speed is ridiculously misguided, at least when comparing NFL combine results with the time it takes a sprinter to hit 40 yards in a 100m dash.

And that's simply due to the fact that there's no starting gun or whistle used in the combine; players take off on their own accord. However, in an Olympic race, the reaction time for a sprinter to simply initiate movement off the block can add another 0.2ish seconds.

 photo usain-bolt1-1024x436 1_zpscgt5evt7.jpg

Taking this into account, Usain Bolt probably runs at least a 4.25 at the NFL combine. You've also got the time it takes the timer guy to begin the timing. So all things considered, it's not inconceivable Bolt could push 4.1s

stephenrjking

August 18th, 2016 at 7:23 PM ^

4.25 would put Bolt in Randy Moss territory, and I wouldn't be surprised by a 4.1. That's not what I'm talking about, though. If Bolt can run that fast, so can a dozen other sprinters--his true advantage is in the last 60 meters when his long stride distances the competition. Those last 60 meters are almost never a factor in football.

All of this is separate from the question about whether he is tough or agile enough to make good use of the speed. My point is that Bolt is, as a sprinter, not uniquely better suited to football than, say, Justin Gatlin.

GoBlue519

August 18th, 2016 at 3:02 PM ^

Barring an injury, Bolt can't lose.  I hope my fellow Canadian can give him a bit of a run and come away with the silver.  For once I would love to see Bolt run through the line and put up his best possible time.  He always seems to shut it down, even in the big races, instead of putting up times that nobody could ever touch.  Hard to believe that I often think "what if" when it comes to the greatest sprinter of all time.

justingoblue

August 18th, 2016 at 3:06 PM ^

This happened yesterday, but I had the incredible privilege to watch my high school cross country teammate and friend win silver in the 3000m Steeplechase. Really an incredible feat. First mens US steeple medal since 1984 and broke an Olympic record that had stood since 1988 (granted Kipruto beat it by a better margin).

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/international/ct-evan-jager-silver-steeplechase-olympics-20160817-story.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/18/sports/american-evan-jager-overcomes-two-decades-of-history-in-steeplechase.html?_r=0

http://www.wsj.com/articles/at-rio-games-evan-jager-uses-his-man-bun-power-for-good-1471455976

DrueDown

August 18th, 2016 at 3:09 PM ^

But if running were any more boring, they'd call it soccer.

Every night in prime time it's 2 hours of a race to determine a race, the same thing over and over and over.

Where's the fun stuff like discus, shot put, pole vaulting, javelin, rugby, hammer throw ..etc.? All I've seen is a 10 second clip here and there.

So much disappoint.

ElBictors

August 18th, 2016 at 3:17 PM ^

Bolt will win going away but it's still amazing history in the making. 

 

You'd have to expect that NBC will downplay coverage of Lochte during tonight's broadcast and I'm more than happy to refocus on what really matters.

stephenrjking

August 18th, 2016 at 3:30 PM ^

I haven't payed that close attention but they've been giving it coverage, even in prime time. What I saw last night was a bit of a gloss on Lochte, but Lauer did thoroughly recount a conversation with Lochte and identified some inconsistencies. 

Re: Bolt - I can't remember another situation in an Olympics contest where a foreign athlete was such a popular figure in the United States. Just gauging from what I've seen, including social media, he is enormously popular, and it seems that most people prefer him to American athletes. Gatlin is kind of an obvious villain, but he's still American... but nobody is really getting behind other Americans, either. We are fascinated by Bolt.

And it's kind of cool. I'm not the type to get the willies at American jingoism as some are, but I still think it's enjoyable that Bolt is an international star, a citizen-of-the-world type that everybody can enjoy. I think his citizenship helps in places that aren't the US, and in the US our appreciation for talent and showmanship allow him to do just fine as well. Just look at how other athletes in mainstream sports respond to him.

Michology 101

August 18th, 2016 at 3:19 PM ^

Great news! Our women 4x4 100 relay team will get another chance to earn a spot in the final. They're going to have a timed run by themselves. They just have to get a better time than China to be in the final.

I think they'll easily do it.

NittanyFan

August 18th, 2016 at 4:58 PM ^

beat a woman who was the 3-time defending Olympic champion.  The storyline was very similiar to Karelin vs. Gardner back at Sidney 2000.  

NBCSN aired it live, but I'm guessing NBC squeezes the replay into primetime.

Alton

August 18th, 2016 at 6:12 PM ^

The USA is ranked #28 in the world in men's field hockey--nowhere near good enough to make the 12-team Olympic field.

One of the great forgotten international sports rivalries was India & Pakistan in men's field hockey:  India won 5 golds and Pakistan won 3 from 1948 to 1984.  Now the sport seems to be dominated mostly by Australia and Northern Europe.

Wendyk5

August 18th, 2016 at 8:42 PM ^

I just watched the race with Caster Semenya, the woman runner from South Africa. I'm just not sure what to make of her. She clearly has a lot of male attributes -- the musculature, especially, and the lack of hips. Not trying to be snide here; any thoughts?

stephenrjking

August 18th, 2016 at 10:01 PM ^

There is no way this can be discussed without violating politics, because this is a raging political issue. I don't even want to link articles I've read about the issue because they all necessarily have positions. Google it. There are reasons for what you are observing. What they mean? Draw conclusions for yourself.

stephenrjking

August 18th, 2016 at 9:42 PM ^

Bolt again. Amazing. Very slow time for him, yet he had the field crushed with 100 to go and was never challenged. He kinda ran out of gas at the end. Given the field, it seems like it was just a slow track/race. I don't know enough about track to understand how or why, though.

Winning anything three times in a row is amazing. Bolt owns it. Just remarkable.