posted 2012-09-21 19:16:09

The Olympics in Review

Hunter students respond to the 2012 London Games    

Remoy Phillip

Contributing Writer
“Usain Bolt made me proud because I’m Jamaican,” said Bronx native and Hunter junior Halanya Graham, referring to sprinting’s biggest superstar. Bolt, who won gold medals in both the hundred- and two-hundred-meter dashes at the Beijing Games in 2008, continued his Olympics dominance in London by winning gold medals in both events again.

In reference to the United States’s par- ticipation in the 2012 Summer Olympics, Graham said, “I guess [the Olympics] stood out because the community of color in America has been so big. Seeing all of [the American athletes] overseas like that was really inspirational.”

There were plenty of moments from this year’s Olympics, both for the United States and for the rest of the world, that were causes for celebration. NBC, the network that televised this year’s Olym- pics in the United States, shattered ratings records. According to the Los Angeles Times, the head-to-head battle between American swimmers Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps in the 400-meter medley brought in 28.7 million viewers while the opening ceremony alone brought in a stag- gering 40.7 million.

These Olympics were important to a lot of different communities around the world. “I hostess at a restaurant and bar,” said Hunter junior Gabby Brito, “and it’s a Spanish place, and on that day, we had both Brazillians and Mexicans shouting at, and with, one another.” Brito was referring to the gold medal soccer match between the storied Brazilian soccer team and Mexico. In the end, Mexico upset Brazil 2-1, giving Mexico its only gold medal of the 2012 Games.
Andrew Arrieta, a Political Science major at Hunter, echoed Graham’s earlier thoughts by saying it was “interesting to see the multi-ethnicity of all the American athletes. The kid from the Bronx on our gymnastic team was inspiring.” Arrieta was talking about 19-year-old John Orozco, a member of the U.S. Men’s Gymnastics Team.

The gymnastics competitions not only displayed our diversity, but also displayed America’s competitiveness. Gabby Douglas and the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team made headlines by taking the gold over Russia. The American team hadn’t won a gold medal since 1996, and with expecta- tions high this year, they didn’t disappoint.

Then there was the constant talk about this year’s version of the U.S. Men’s Basketball team. Throughout the sporting world, and especially between casual fans, there was talk, some fun, some aggressive, that this year’s Lebron James and Kevin Durant-led team was as good, or possibly even better than, the 1992 Dream Team led by Michael Jordan and Larry Bird.
Even with all the Dream Team pres- sure on them, the Men’s Basketball Team went on to win the gold medal in London. But the debate between which team is bet- ter, the original Dream Team or this 2012 edition, continues to rage on. And what was also clear about this year’s Olympics basketball field was that the rest of the world came to play as well. “Spain is much better,” said Hunter senior Edgar Marshall. In addition to the U.S. Men taking the gold medal, Spain took silver and Russia took bronze.

Switching the conversation over to swimming, Marshall went on to say that “Michael Phelps just went out there and [...] looked like he was having fun.” Phelps was doing more than having fun: he was making Olympic history. Phelps became the most medaled Olympian of all time by winning the 18th gold and 22nd overall medal of his career at the London Games.

Phelps was widely quoted as saying that these were his last Olympics and that after London he would be retiring from competitive swimming. When asked how he would channel all that competitive energy, his response was simply, “My golf game needs work.”
The track and field events, like always, were especially competitive and enter- taining. Usain Bolt, as well as his fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake, dominated the men’s sprinting. Also, Paralympian Oscar Pistorius (South Africa) made news by becoming the first double-amputee to run in the Olympics. In another inspirational story from track and field, Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang, who fell and injured his leg in the middle of his event, was able to get up and hop across the finish line as the roar- ing crowd cheered him on.

In both the individual and team events, and even in the glorious spectacle of the opening ceremony, where among other things James Bond jumped out of a plane with Queen Elizabeth, the 2012 London Olympics were exciting, entertaining, inspiring, and fun.

For two weeks, the games brought the world together, athletes and spectators alike. There were underdog stories and blowouts. Tears were shed, batons were passed, dreams were made, and all in all, the Olympics did what they were always designed to do: they provided a stage for the athletes of the world, for the fans of the world, to stand together side by side, regardless of color, creed or gender. At least for fourteen days, the whole world could compete as equals.