Monday, August 30, 2004


The Athens 2004 Olympics came to a close last night and Team Philippines once more failed to bring home the much-coveted Gold medal. As expected, our taekwondo jins and boxers played magnificently but were once again unfavored by judges' decisions. Our best ever finish was 16-year-old Toni Rivero's semi-final stint in Women's Taekwondo where she lost to a Greek opponent last Saturday. It was such a heart breaking lost that would have given us at least Silver if the circumstances were different. She delivered several blows and even knocked-off her opponent thrice, but was not given the points she deserved! She's truly great but was not given a fair playing field (Heck, they are in Greece for crying out loud!). Well, at least Toni will be more prepared for the 2008 Beijing Games.

ATHENS, Greece -- Their bodies were beaten but their heads were
unbowed and their spirit unbroken. That's how it ended for the brave
taekwondo fighters who put up the Philippines' final stand in the 28th
Olympic Games Saturday. It was a dramatic end to a roller coaster of a
day-the courageous Donald David Geisler III being taken out of the arena
in a stretcher and the youthful Mary Antoinette Rivero putting up a never-
say-die fight against a vastly superior opponent.

Read it all here.



The golden boy of Athens is American swimmer Michael Phelps who took home 6 golds and 2 bronze in various events. This child prodigy, who was first expected to upseat Mark Spitz on his world record 8 gold medal wins in the 70s, was the star of the 200m and 400m Individual Medley, 200m and 400m Butterfly and the 4x200m Relay Medley. He won his last and sixth gold while warming the bench since he gave his Butterlfy slot to teammate Ian Crocker (he swam in the heats and the semis thus he was also awarded). Michael's Athens waterloo was the highly charged up and exciting 200m Freestyle where his rival Ian Thorpe was proclaimed king. The much-celebrated (and only) swimming duel between the two magnificent tankers was also shared by Silver medalist Pieter van de Hoogenband of The Netherlands. Phelps received his other bronze at the 4x100m Relay Medley.

Michael Phelps

I truly love the swimming races at the 2004 Olympics. The Australia, US, Japan and The Netherlands Team dominated the Aquatic Center on the first week of this great celebration of humanity. I love the Australian Women Swim Team who are so talented and also good-looking than their counterparts from other countries. There's also a new batch of swimming darlings like Aussie's Jodie Henry (who won the 100m Free beating Inge of The Netherlands), Leisel Jones, Brooke Hanson (a perennial finalist in several swim events who looks like Donita), Fil-Am Natalie Coughlin (a Fil-Am who's now being asked to represent the Philippines in the SEA Games next year and Asian Games in 2006) and returning champion Inge de Bruijin of The Netherlands (who got long nails to help her in "touching the wall").

For the men's division, there was Sydney champ (and my favorite) Ian "Thorpedo" Thorpe who defended his title in the 400m and 200m Freestyle (who also got a bronze and a silver in other events), Pieter van de Hoogenband of The Netherlands also managed to bring some of the limelight to him when he won one of the best swimming events - the Men's 100m Free. Other favorites are Aaron Peirsol of the US (100m & 200m Backstoke Gold) and marathoner Grant Hackett of Australia who won the 1,500m Free. One of the swimmers who stole the show from Phelps and Thorpe was Gary Hall and his resplendent American flag-inspired robes which he wore for his 50m Free event which he eventually won. That definitely gave me a good laugh.

Brooke Hanson and Leisel Jones of Australia

Allen Iverson must be crying buckets at this very moment. Imagine, a bronze for Team USA Men's Basketball? Geeez! That's quite an unacceptable but nevertheless humbling experience for the great nation. What surprises me is not actually their poor finish but Argentina's win. I was expecting that Lithuania will bag it once the US was out of the way. Too bad. Their lost to Italy was unexpected and Italy's lost to Argentina was unerving. Anyway...Argentines all over the world are probably all out and celebrating right now since they also won Men's Soccer. Evita is definitely smiling on her grave.

As the Americans, the Chinese and the Australians celebrate their outstanding performances... the Greeks mourn for their several 'fallen' (read: doping) athletes...
...and as the Filipinos reviews the current "sport & training" situation (again) here in the Philippines...
I have nothing more to say but SEE YOU ALL IN BEIJING!

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