Monthly Archives: July 2012

Revenge is so délicieux for French relay

LONDON — One of the enduring images of the 2008 Beijing Olympics is the primal scream that Michael Phelps uttered on the pool deck when Jason Lezak, seemingly seized by an out-of-body experience, delivered a swim for the ages.
In overtaking France’s Alain Bernard, Lezak — who swam 100 meters in 46.06 seconds — secured relay gold for the United States and, not so incidentally, kept alive Phelps’ historic chase for eight gold medals.
That day in Beijing, Phelps threw his arms up toward the sky as if he were signaling a touchdown by his favorite team, the Baltimore Ravens. Garrett Weber-Gale, who had raced the second leg of that relay, grabbed Phelps from behind as if he were about to body-slam him to the deck, or punch him, or something. The French, just over to the side, looked on in stunned silence.
Revenge, you know, is so délicieux.
Yannick Agnel, who is just 20 years old, gave France its Lezak moment Sunday night at the Olympic pool, not just tracking down Ryan Lochte — Ryan Lochte! — but reeling him in and thrashing him by a full second to give France the victory in the men’s 4×100 freestyle relay.
The win is France’s first in the history of the event. Not only that — it’s France’s first relay victory of any kind, men or women, in the history of the Summer Olympics.
The winning time: 3:09.93.
The U.S. took silver, in 3.10:38.
Russia got the bronze, in 3:11.41.
Australia, which had widely been expected to not only contest for a medal but for the win, inexplicably finished fourth.
The silver serves as a marker of sorts for Phelps. It is his 17th Olympic medal. He needs one more to tie Russian gymnast Larisa Latynina, two more to become the most-decorated Olympic athlete of all time. It is also the first silver medal in his Olympic career; he has 14 gold medals and two bronze.
The 4×100 men’s free relay is a key touchstone for the U.S. national program, laden with history and tradition. The swimmers and coaches take it tremendously seriously, and after the Australians thrashed the Americans at the 2011 world championships in Shanghai, great care and thought was given to 2012 race plan and strategy.
Last year in Shanghai, the Australians won the relay. France took second, the U.S. third.
The Americans had won the 400 free relay at the 2005, 2007 and 2009 world championships — Adrian bailing them out in Rome in 2009 with a stirring anchor leg — and of course in Beijing in 2008.
In recent years, Phelps typically had gone first in the relay. That’s the leg he swam in Beijing, for instance.
Here, though, he went second.
The reason: James Magnussen, the Aussie lead-off man, is the open 100 world champ. The Americans countered with Nathan Adrian, the fastest U.S. 100 sprinter.
Magnussen went 48.03 Sunday night. Adrian gave Phelps the lead, with 47.89.
Phelps then ripped off a 47.15, which would prove the fastest U.S. time Sunday evening, and ought to put an unequivocal and immediate stop to the ridiculous talk after the 400 IM about whether he was through.
“I felt a lot better today than I did yesterday. i mean, I was happy,” Phelps said, meaning about his swim itself. “I was able to put yesterday behind me and kind of move on t today. hopefully we can just move forward from here and keep heading in the right direction.
Cullen Jones went next. He was on the 2008 relay, too. Here he went 47.6.
When he jumped in, Lochte had a lead of 55-hundredths of a second.
This was not Lochte’s only swim Sunday evening. Roughly 85 minutes earlier, he had raced the semifinals of the 200 free, easily qualifying for the final.
At 350 meters, Lochte still had a lead — but it was down to 30-hundredths of a second.
Over the final 50 meters, it was déjà vu all over again. Just this time, it was a French guy running down an American guy.
And a few seconds later, on the deck, it was a bunch of French guys screaming for their lives.
Lochte swam his 100 in 47.74. There’s zero shame in that. Anything under 48 is more than world class.
Agnel just did it in 46.74.
“We knew the Australians would be strong, but they were very nervous, perhaps like us in 2008,” Clement Lefert, who swam the third leg for the French, said, according to Associated Press. “We were very relaxed, like the Americans in 2008.
‘And four years later, we got our revenge.”
Lochte offered no excuses. He said, “I mean, the 100 free, I don’t really swim it — haven’t swum it in a long time, so I think I was really excited. I think I over-swam the first 50, which kinda hurt me the last 50.”
He also said, “You would think, doing distance events, I wouldn’t get tired. But sprinting definitely takes a lot out of you. I made that mistake. We were able to get a medal. I guess that’s good.”
Just not good enough. nbcolympics

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Posted by on July 30, 2012 in Uncategorized


LONDON OLYMPICS: Phelps Proves Human After All

The crowd at the Olympic Aquatics Centre arrived late, as if they were trying to stall off the inevitable. Anyone with a prized ticket to the first big showdown of the London Games had to know Michael Phelps was in trouble earlier in the day when he barely qualified for the final of the event he owns two gold medals in.

That was a shocker, but what happened Saturday night in the Olympic pool was simply mystifying. No self-respecting London bookie would have even dared to lay odds that the greatest swimmer in the world – no, make that the greatest swimmer ever – wouldn’t even win as much as a bronze medal in his first race in these games.

The great swimming showdown to open the Olympics was a giant bust – unless, of course, your name is Ryan Lochte. The surfer dude from Florida dominated the 400-meter individual medley from the opening stroke, making an early case for himself as the face of swimming in these games while thrashing a guy he never used to be able to beat.

And in the process, Lochte may have shattered the Phelps mystique once and for all.

Untouchable in Beijing. Oh, so human in London.

This wasn’t just a loss, it was a blowout. By the time Phelps finally touched the wall in fourth place, Lochte had been resting there for more than 4 seconds – an eternity in swimming.

What followed next was almost as revealing. While Lochte celebrated, Phelps climbed slowly from the pool, like it was a chore just to make it out. He then trudged off to answer a few questions from reporters and try to figure out where it all went wrong.

Worn out already, and six races still to go.

“It was just a crappy race,” Phelps said by way of explanation “I felt fine the first 200, then I don’t know.”

Not surprising, if only because the athlete is always the last one to know. At age 27 Phelps has a lot of mileage under his long arms, a lot of history to have to live up to. He’s been swimming for medals since the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and seemed almost giddy when he tweeted on Friday that he had finished his last practice as a competitive swimmer.

Maybe he didn’t have the fire inside for training. Maybe he’s starting to slow just a bit from the wear and tear.

Or maybe he just had what he claims he had – a bad day.

Lochte would be among those interested in finding out. He once lost 17 straight races in the 200-meter individual medley to Phelps, and the two meet Wednesday in that race in their only other confrontation in the games.

“I’ll tell you what, it’s weird. It’s weird not having Michael next to me on the medal stand,” Lochte said. “Michael to me is still one of the world’s greatest … and no matter what happens he’ll go down as one of the world’s greatest.”

Phelps was always taking a chance that he might be swimming in one Olympics too many, surely one 400-meter IM too many after declaring four years ago that his win in that event would be his last. The draw of these games was too much, though, with a chance to add to his haul and become the all-time greatest medal winner in Olympic history.

He’s got plenty of races left to do that, if things remain according to plan. Six in all, and all he needs is three medals to surpass the record of 18 won by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina. There’s a chance he can even add to his total of 14 gold medals, which is five more than the second-best number on the list.

“The biggest thing now is to try to look forward,” Phelps said. “I have a bunch of other races, and hopefully we can finish a lot better than how we started.”

It’s not going to hurt his legacy if he doesn’t. That’s already encased in gold, the six he won in Athens and the record eight he grabbed in Beijing, when he set Olympic records almost every day. He surpassed Mark Spitz there to claim the title of best swimmer ever, and it’s going to be a long time, if ever, before someone takes it from him.

Spitz took his seven medals and retired, content to make a living off his brilliant performance in Munich. Phelps has made a pretty good living himself, despite the fact he’s an introvert with little charisma until the moment he gets into the water.

He came back for one last Olympics expecting great things because, well, he’s always done great things. Aside from his first Olympics – when he was a 15-year-old qualified in just one event – he won medals in every Olympic race he had ever been in before Saturday night. The total was both staggering and historic – 14 gold and two bronze in 16 races – so much so that he makes the short list of any compilation of greatest Olympians ever.

That’s what made it so hard to watch for a crowd that, once it arrived, was pumped for one of the hottest matchups of the games. Phelps didn’t exactly flounder in the water, but he fell behind early to Lochte and then was passed by two other swimmers before finally finishing in 4:09.28, well off the world record of 4:03.84 he set in China.

It’s too early to declare him finished, too soon to say he’s washed up. But there’s a crack in the facade, something that should give hope to anyone competing against him over the next week.

“A lot of people say Michael is inhuman, but you know what?” Lochte said. “He’s just like all of us.”

He wasn’t in Beijing, hasn’t been for a long time.

All it took was one night at the pool in these Olympics to change that. Copyright Associated Press

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Posted by on July 29, 2012 in Uncategorized



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Posted by on July 22, 2012 in Uncategorized



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Posted by on July 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


No ‘made in China’ controversy for RP Olympic team uniforms

By Alex P. Vidal

LOS ANGELES, California – While the US Olympics team uniforms were provoking much amusement, discussion, outrage, and eye-rolling in one of the United States’ largest apparel design and manufacturing hubs here over the fact that outfits were made in China, the small Philippine contingent is set to parade in the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games opening ceremonies on July 27 proudly behind the made in the Philippines Barong Tagalog uniforms.
The Philippine Olympic team composed of track athletes Marestella Torres and Rene Herrera; swimmers Jasmine Alkhaldi and Jessica Lacuna; boxer Mark Anthony Barriga; BMX rider Daniel Caluag; judo practitioner Tomohiko Hoshina; shooter Brian Rosario; and weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, will wear the barong Tagalog designed by one of Manila’s top fashion designers, Rajo. Laurel.
Josephine Cuneta reported in the Wall Street Journal Southeast Asia that Laurel has been chosen by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) to design and create clothes for the Filipino athletes during the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics.
His plan is reportedly a modern-world makeover of the traditional Philippine barong Tagalog which is an embroidered formal shirt, typically worn untucked, and commonly used at Philippine ceremonial events. It is widely seen as one of the more distinctive visual elements of Philippine culture.


Laurel said the typical barong is steeped in tradition dating back to the 1600s. Some say the shirt – which sometimes uses a sheer, see-through fabric made out of pina fabric (a textile derived from pineapple leaves) – was forced upon locals by Spaniards during the colonial era so that any hidden weapons could be kept in plain sight. Others say it stemmed from a desire to have loose, breathable and comfortable garments in the Philippines’ tropical heat, with the fine embroidery coming later.
Laurel invoked “simplicity and elegance” for choosing barong Tagalog, it was reported.
“I want to pay great respect to the tradition of the garment. I’m just going to give it a more tapered fit, a slightly cropped length and small fabrication changes. Headwear (inspired by Filipino tradition also) will feature in the design,” Laurel was quoted in the report.
Cuneta said Laurel, whose work has been worn by American supermodel Tyra Banks, said he’s using black, gold and mocha as primary colors for the stylized barong Tagalog, in a rayon fabric to give it a more modern feel (and to help keep the athletes warm in London’s cooler climate). The embroidery will feature a modern design with dark cobalt and blue threads symbolizing good fortune and luck. The barong Tagalog will be paired with weight wool flat front trousers, he said.


The main accessory for the small contingent of nine Philippine athletes and 13 officials will be a salakot – a traditional wide-brimmed hat, often made with rattan or reeds – with gold leaf that Laurel hopes will catch the light as the Filipino representatives enter the stadium.
Here in Los Angeles, the decision of American sports authorities to have the red, white and blue uniforms manufactured in China has provoked a storm of criticism in Congress, where “made in America” is always a popular election-year theme, according to Los Angeles Times.
“The issue has rippled across the nation with frustration, resignation and understanding as the preppy outfits unveiled this week drew some unexpected attention,” LA Times reported.


In response to the controversy, Ralph Lauren Corp. has announced that it was committed to producing Team USA uniforms for the 2014 Winter Olympics in America.
The company announced: “Ralph Lauren promises to lead the conversation within our industry and our government addressing the issue of increasing manufacturing in the United States.”
Saying she was “appalled” that New York-based Ralph Lauren did not manufacture at least a part of the Olympic uniform in America, Galina Sobolev, the designer of high-end Los Angeles clothing line Single, quipped: “It’s unpatriotic, and it really speaks very poorly for what we represent as Americans if we send our Olympic team to London wearing garments made in China.”
She added: “The Italians would never have their uniforms made in China, they would make them in Italy.”

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Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Uncategorized



Rodolfo Vera Quizon, Sr., OGH, (July 25, 1928 – July 10, 2012)

Dolphy, or Rodolfo Quizon Sr., passed away Tuesday at 8:34 p.m., at the Makati Medical Center, thus ending one of the longest and most colorful lives and careers in Philippine show business history. He was 83 and about to turn 84 on July 25. Dolphy starred in over 100 movies, including several reprising his lovable lead character in John en Marsha, a long-running television show. He is survived by 18 children with six different women.

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Posted by on July 10, 2012 in Uncategorized


Tears from Andy

By Alex P. Vidal

LOS ANGELES, California – I thought I would be seeing for the first time a great professional athlete agonizing in defeat and crying without tears.
Tears did not flow from Andy Murray’s eyes until he was able to finally hiss a plethora of “aaaaaah” and “hmmmm” while holding the microphone during the awarding ceremony as crowd that included some of the most prominent figures in London cheered him.
My heart goes out for Murray who finally let loose his tears following his failure to nail this year’s Wimbledon title in Wimbledon, England losing to Roger Federer in a nerve-tingling 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 championship Sunday, July 8.
The championship appearance against the same man who subdued him in three other major titles was too much for the 25-year-old British right-hander as he was under tremendous pressure to conquer the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world as host player.


It was apparent the Scotland-born Andy, who began playing at three, was emotionally burdened when realization that he had been conquered in his own territory beckoned.
As a Briton, he was expected to record history and create a stir in the most prominent grass court in the world especially that the World Summer Olympic Games was scheduled to unwrap weeks later. A young and charismatic tennis player with 22 singles career titles, what a feting honor for Great Britain had he won this year’s Wimbledon title while the universe awaits the opening of the biggest summer sports conclave weeks later.
Inside the stadium, Prince William’s wife, Kate, sat in the Royal Box along with David Beckham, British Prime Minister David Cameron and a slew of former Wimbledon champions.
Many of them left a bit disappointed as well.
With his victory, Federer regained the No. 1 ranking from Novak Djokovic, allowing him to equal Sampras’ record of 286 weeks as the top-ranked player.


At the start of the match, Murray was the one dictating play and winning the tough points. He broke Federer in the first game of the first set, and then broke again late before serving it out. It was the first — and only — set Murray has won in his four major finals.
The second set was much more even, and both had early break points that they couldn’t convert. Federer, however, finally got it done in the final game of the set, hitting a backhand drop volley that Murray couldn’t get to.
Both held easily to start the third set, but then the rain started abruptly, suspending play for 40 minutes. Shortly after they returned, it turned into a one-man show.
With Federer leading 3-2, they played a 26-point, 20-minute game in which Federer finally converted his sixth break point — after Murray had slipped on the grass three times. Federer lost only five points on his serve in that set.


Murray’s mother, Judy, is a former Scottish national coach and father, William is a retail area manager. He has one older brother Jamie (born Feb. 13, 1986), who also plays on the ATP circuit. Andy grew up playing soccer and tennis and once was offered to play with Glasgow Rangers. His favorite musician is 50 Cent.
Based in Barcelona since age 15, Andy won US Open junior title (defeating Stakhovsky) and advanced to doubles SF (with brother Jamie) in 2004. He finished No. 10 in world junior rankings in 2004 and won the Canadian Open junior title in 2003. He also finished No. 6 that year.
Andy considers the US Open as best place he has played and was awarded the 2004 BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year Award.
Standing six feet and three inches, Andy was twice named LTA’s Young Player of the Year. His favorite surface is hard and he considers his serve as best part of his game. He admits he is a big fan of TV comedy show, “Entourage” and played first full men’s singles match with roof closed at Wimbledon on June 29, 2009 vs. Wawrinka. Andy works with fitness trainers Matt Little and Jezz Green, physiotherapist Andy Ireland and is coached by former World No. 1 Ivan Lendl since January 2012.

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Posted by on July 8, 2012 in Uncategorized