Olympic Obsession: Day 16 (The End)

The London Games closed out with a big party. And now, we gotta go back to real life.

So, it closed with a rock concert. A pretty good one at that – even with Russell Brand and the Spice Girls singing.

(Seriously, Russell Brand singing? The Beatles? Really? Are you serious? No! No! No!)

But it was a good show, not over the top, fun and poignant.

We adjourn for four years to Rio. Or, 18 months or so until the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

But before we go, a few last sporting events:

The U.S. closed out with a couple of gold medals, including the expected one for the men’s basketball team. It was the type of game that was perfect to close the Games – highly competitive, close and entertaining.

Of course, the basketball game wasn’t the only one to meet those criteria. The men’s volleyball final was, well, wow. Brazil had two chances to close out a gold medal and sweep Russia. They didn’t, and fell apart. Russia won the final three sets, actually dominating the final two sets, to win the gold.

And with the soccer team’s loss to Mexico, that’s two blown chances for Brazil to go into their Games as defending Olympic champion in four years. There’s always more pressure on the home country to perform well in their Olympics, but for those two teams, the screws will be tightened.

The other American gold came in wrestling, giving the U.S. men two golds in a sport that has also been a bit of a victim of MMA fighting.

The marathon was great to watch. Sorry to see that two of the three Americans didn't finish, while Meb Keflezighi finished fourth. Despite finishing out of the medals, he looked proud and happy, carrying the American flag as he crossed the line.

BACK TO THE CLOSING: There were a few things that did stand out during the big event of the night.

Diamond Bar’s Alex Morgan got some serious face time as the athletes marched into the stadium, a good 30-plus seconds with her arm wrapped around teammate Sydney Leroux. As Al Michaels and Bob Costas showered praise on Morgan, you could almost feel them through the screen the people in the truck trying to figure out who that was with Olympic hero Morgan. Finally, Costas came through with Leroux’s identity.

I love the song “Imagine.” That was a pretty cool performance of the song in general. But NBC (or whoever was running the feed) almost blew it. They showed the people putting together the giant mask of John Lennon, and from the side, you had no idea what it was. I figured it was going to be a dove. Not until they went to the overhead shot (almost too late) could you tell what it was.

The fiber optic panels that are built into the stadium are amazing. I can imagine that AEG President Tim Leiweke was watching the Games and salivating at the idea of adding them to the design of Farmers Field. And, I’d bet, he’s looking into how much it’ll cost and how long it’ll take to install them into Staples Center (and if it can be done in time for February’s Grammy Awards, well, all the better).

I had no problem with Jessie J being a part of the ceremony, but as part of the Queen segment? I’m not hip, so I really don’t know much about her, but was there no one else available to sing that song?

It was pretty cool to see the Canadians break out their formal wear for the ceremonies. (OK, for those unaware, denim jackets are called “Canadian Tuxedos.”)

Supermodels? Um, OK, I guess? Eric Idle and a Monty Python segment. Brilliant!

Costas and Michaels, during the Rio presentation, mentioning that the Games will be an hour ahead of the East Coast, said that it would help solve some of their broadcast issues. Really? Really?!? I don’t believe you. I still see ample use of tape delay – especially for the West Coast, which can’t be trusted for tuning in live.

To close it down, they extinguished the flame. It was nice to see them drop the individual “petals” down and then shut them off one by one.

The last thing I figure I'll miss from these Games is all the NBC Sports Network promos. Because anything that keeps showing me highlights of the LA Kings winning the Stanley Cup is not a bad thing.

And with that, we finished up another gathering of athletics. I had fun. Hope you did, too. Well, back to real life. Oh, yeah, there’s an election coming up. Eh, it was fun while it lasted.


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