I’m watching Spain vs. France basketball right now, and later today is Argentina vs. the United States. No question the United States are the favorites for gold, but there are some really good teams, most with great NBA players.
From the double-overtime win by Argentina a few days ago, to Boris Diaw sipping an espresso in his room, I’ve been more engaged in following basketball at the Olympics than usual. And I love that so many Spurs players are everywhere.
Spain has Pau Gasol; Argentina has Manu Ginobili, who helped defeat the United States in 2004; Australia has Patty Mills; and France has Tony Parker. Gives me something to root for throughout the tournament.
More Olympics this weekend. First the U.S. basketball team, ahead most of the game and playing well, then losing in the last few minutes. Next, the women’s marathon, the heartbreak for England’s Paula Radcliffe as she couldn’t finish the race after leading the runners for the first dozen miles, then the come-from-behind bronze metal finish for the U.S.’s Deena Kastor.
Last week, Matt Haughey wrote about the genetic lottery:
“Every sport favors genetics to some extent, but I’ve always discounted them and held that anyone of any shape could rise towards the top if they trained hard enough. But at the absolute upper reaches of a sport, falling outside the norm becomes a liability and when the margin of error grows thin, you’re going to fall behind the best.”
I always think of Gattaca. Sure it’s fiction, but I think there’s some real truth to it — the power of the human spirit. The two brothers are far out in the water, and Anton asks Jerome how is he doing it, how can he swim further and do these great things when he is genetically inferior and all stats point to a heart that is long overdue for beating its last. The answer: “You wanted to know how I did it? That’s how I did it, Anton. I never saved anything for the swim back.”
Give it your all this week.