During these Olympics, Poseur will spend each day watching and reviewing one sport. He also promises to stop referring to himself in the third person.
Today's Sport: Archery
Archery was an Olympic sport as far back as 1900, but around 1920, someone decided that it should be dropped from the Olympic roster, and didn't return to competition until 1972. In one of those odd quirks, sometime in the 1980s, South Korea decided to absolutely dominate the sport.
I'm not sure why South Korea is so archery mad, but they absolutely dominate the sport. They have 34 of the 44 World Championships since 1990, making them perhaps the single most dominant nation at one particular sport in the Olympics, save the Americans at basketball.
The Favorites: South Korea
Well, duh. I just finished telling you how much they dominate the sport. As I settled in for the team competition, I fully expected South Korea to win. I also fully expected to be sick of hearing how one of their archers is legally blind. Sure, it's a cool story, but that does seem like a real knock against the sport, doesn't it? You don't see any blind baseball players.
The Gold Medal: Italy
Italy benefited from the US pulling off the huge upset. The US faced off against the South Koreans in the semifinals and to be perfectly honest, it was an incredibly tense and fascinating match. I was riveted, and it was clear that we were watching two of the best teams in the world. The US went into their final three shots only needing 9's, and they went 10, 10, 10. Won the match with authority.
Then, they got to the finals and started hitting 8's all over the place. The confidence the Americans seemed to have in the semifinals just evaporated, and the Italians won by simply being more consistent. After digging themselves a hole, the US did come roaring back with some huge shots, but Italy held them off and won the gold by nailing a 10 on the final shot.
Poseur's Enjoyment Level: Medium
The South Korea match was tense, but by the time it was over, I was ready for it to be over. Watching archery is watching guys stand around and fire at a stationary target. It's difficult, but hardly visually stimulating. I liked the built in tension and the upset was nice, but I highly doubt I'd watch archery in any other context.
Swimming and Track Update
The first Lochte-Phelps duel was a bit of a dud. Lochte launched to an early lead and never looked back. The only drama was whether Phelps would medal at all. He didn't.
NBC felt that I wouldn't want to watch this live because they are pure evil, so I watched it on their website, on a feed that kept timing out probably because millions of people were logging on to watch the biggest event of the day live. I don't begrudge NBC having a prime time show, but show the live event to us hard core fans during the day. You can broadcast again in the evening for the casual fans during the clip show.
The big news in the pool was the domination of the Chinese. Ye Shiwen won the gold medal in the 400 IM in a performance that bordered on inhuman. While everyone else slowed down during the last leg, Ye got stronger and turned a body length disadvantage to Beisel to a body length lead. It was kind of great, even though I passionately rooted against her.
Those of y'all who are under 30 missed out on the Cold War Olympics. Let me tell you something, they were awesome. Rooting against the dirty Soviet commies gave us a convenient villain in every event. It was riveting television. All of this peace and harmony stuff has made the Olympics a little too, well, harmonious. Hatred makes good sport fandom (even if the athletes likely don't share this antipathy). And let's face it, rooting against the recently insurgent Chinese sporting power is good, clean fun. It makes me feel like a kid again.