In spite of the traditionally poor coverage of the Olympics by NBC (who should be ashamed of some of the decisions they have made -- like not showing all of the Opening Ceremony), I have to admit this is turning out to be a great Olympics. The Brits have done an excellent job of hosting the event, and everything seems to be coming off like clockwork with no real problems.
And let me say that the team sent by the United States is representing us exceptionally well. It's no real surprise that they have racked up an impressive medal total, and will undoubtably win even more in the coming days. I am very proud of all of these young athletes -- both those who medaled and those who didn't. They should all be very proud of themselves.
But in the spirit of the Olympics, I would like to point out the accomplishments of the athletes of three other countries -- athletes who have defied Olympic tradition to bring glory to their respective countries. I am speaking of athletes from Mexico, Grenada, and Guatemala.
The sport of football (we call it soccer here in the U.S.) is huge in Mexico. But as important as that sport is in Mexico, and as well as they have done with it on the international stage, they have never been able to win a medal in it in the Olympics. But the team they sent this year (pictured above) has finally remedied that. Yesterday, Mexico beat Japan 3-1, assuring them of a spot in the final game (and either a gold or silver medal). And they did it by scoring three goals on a team that until yesterday had not given up a single goal throughout the entire tournament. To our friends south of the border, I say well done!
The tiny island nation of Grenada (the Spice Island) had never won a medal of any color in the history of the Olympics. That was also remedied a couple of nights ago. A young runner from Grenada won the gold medal by easily out-distancing all the other runners in the 400 meter race. His name was Kirani James, and he is a young man with a lot of class (showing respect for a fellow runner who was a double-amputee by switching name tags with him after the semi-final).
Finally, we come to Guatemala. That country had also never won a medal of any color in the history of the Olympics. But they have now. A young Guatemalan named Erick Barrondo grabbed the silver medal in the 20 kilometer race walk, with a very gutsy performance.
I congratulate these fine athletes, and the countries they represent.
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