Top 5 Sports Stories

07/27/2012 11:37 am ET | Updated Sep 26, 2012

TGIF everyone here's my Top 5 for July 27, 2012 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • The Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Olympics will be staged tonight starting at 8:12 p.m. London time.
  • Roger Bannister is now the betting favorite to light the Olympic cauldron.
  • By Sunday, all NFL training camps will be in full swing.
  • The lawyer for the Penn State "shower victim" says his client plans to sue the university.
  • Neil Reed, the Indiana basketball player who coach Bob Knight was caught on tape choking in 1997, has died after collapsing in his California home. He was 36.
  • Not a bad start. 23-year-old Mets pitcher Matt Harvey became the first player since 1900 to have at least 10 strikeouts and at least two hits in his major league debut. He struck out 11 and allowed three hits in five and one-third innings as the struggling Mets beat Arizona 3-1.

2. Olympics Fever

I asked on Facebook at "Len Berman's Top 5" your favorite Summer Olympics moment. Some responses.

R.F. Nadia Comăneci's stunning gymnastic performance in the '76 Olympics in Montreal.

D.C. Ben Johnson's race in 1988. Even though he won (and then lost), there was enormous hype for that race and his run (though tainted) was something to see.

M.H. HAS to be Kerri Strug hands down!

B.A. Frank Shorter entering the stadium in the lead, but suddenly, what's this, someone is ahead of him after all? How could this be?

Editor's Note: It was 1972 in Munich. An impostor was on the track in front of him. He was finally removed and Frank won his rightful gold medal.

My favorite moment was interviewing Rulon Gardner in Sydney after he shockingly broke Alexander Karelin's 13-year winning streak in Greco-Roman wrestling. Rulon acted as if it were just another day on the mat.

3. Ambush Advertising

Give Nike its due. They're not an official Olympic sponsor, but that didn't stop them from filming athletes in London for this commercial. OK, it wasn't THAT London, and THEY aren't Olympic athletes. Pretty clever, eh?

4. Friday eMailbag

When I wrote that "statues are for heroes," P.S. responded, "Statues are for heroes and dictators."

When I wondered if Phil Mickelson, like Tiger Woods, may never win another major, R.N. wrote: "If his TV ads don't lie, at least he may have a medical reason (psoriatic arthritis) for his less than stellar showing of late. What's Tiger's excuse?"

In regards to Mike Piazza's wife saying that Mike thinks that Roger Clemens famously threw bat at him in the World Series in "'roid-rage," E.D. writes: Whether or not Clemens was on a 'roid-rage' will likely never be known.

What is known, is that Roger Clemens is still the only baseball player to have thrown a piece of equipment at an opposing player and not be ejected from that game.

And Linda G. gets the "coveted" Top 5 LOW award, "Line of the Week." When I talked about a messy Olympic sport that was tried out in 1900, she wrote: "I was never in favor of bringing the Olympics to NYC, but if they bring back live pigeon shooting, I *might* have to reconsider."

5. Spanning the World

This week's Spanning the World highlight comes from a race track in Minnesota. The race caller thought it might be fun to call the action on helium. Good idea? You decide.

Spanning the World airs monthly on NBC's Today Show. Next up: Thursday, August 30th in the 8:30 a.m. half hour.

Happy Birthday: A-Rod. 37.

Bonus Birthday: Gold medal winning figure skater Peggy Fleming. 64.

Today in Sports: Yankees pitcher Tommy John commits three errors on one play. But the Yankees beat Milwaukee anyway 16-3. 1988.

Bonus Event: The BBC declared that there was no monster in Loch Ness. I'm glad they cleared that up. 2003.

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