Happy Monday everyone, here's my Top 5 for July 30, 2012 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
- France overtook the U.S. to win the 4 x 100 freestyle. With silver, Michael Phelps won his 17th overall medal, one shy of the all-time record.
- After two days of competition, China sits atop the medals standings with 12 (six gold). The U.S. has 11 medals (three gold).
- British bookmakers offered refunds. Nobody could possibly guess that the Olympic cauldron would be lit by seven young largely unknown athletes.
- Here we go. After sweeping the Giants, the Dodgers and Giants are now tied for first place. And after winning two of three from the Yankees, the Red Sox are alive just four games out of the wild card.
2. Fuzzy Math
Only at the Olympics. Twenty-four women will compete for the all-around gold medal in gymnastics tomorrow night. American Jordyn Wieber isn't one of them. It doesn't matter that she's the defending world champ, or that her qualifying score was better than 20 of the women who will compete. The rules state only two gymnasts per country advance, and even though she was fourth overall two Americans were better. One might think that the best 24 gymnasts would compete for gold but one who thinks that would be wrong.
Whenever China is involved, the speculation runs rampant. If it's not the age of their gymnasts in Beijing, it's people wondering if they're doing things naturally. China produced some real stunners on the opening night of the Olympics, their first ever male swimming gold and then a world record in the women's 400 IM. Not only did 16-year-old Ye Shiwen get the record, she swam the last 50 meters in a faster time than the men's gold medal winner, Ryan Lochte. So immediately the buzz began. What are the Chinese doing? It must be illegal. They have had a sordid past when it comes to drugs and swimming. But that's the nature of sports these days, not just in baseball. When athletes do extraordinary things people just get suspicious. But maybe a woman just happened to beat a man's time fair and square. It's possible, no?
4. Same Old Same Old
Iran is up to its old tricks. Last week they vowed to compete against all countries. They famously backed out of competition against Israeli athletes in Athens and Beijing. So what happens? Iranian Javad Mahjoub who likely would face an Israeli in judo suddenly pulled out with a "gut infection." It's high time the IOC showed some guts, and sanctioned Iran. Or don't they want to offend Iran, the way a moment of silence for Munich would offend Arab countries? Time and again, the only country that gets offended at the Olympics is Israel.
5. The Greatest
Top 5 subscriber R.K. suggested I list my personal top 5 Olympic moments that I witnessed. Let's just say that Muhammad Ali makes the cut. I was in the Olympic Stadium when he lit the torch in Atlanta, and I was in a Sydney hotel at the 2000 games when Ali shuffled past and everyone just stood and watched him walk by in reverence. Anyway, Team U.S.A. hosted Ali before the Olympics began and they put together this video tribute. Amongst everything that he did, did he invent trash talking as well?
Happy Birthday: Basketball Hall of Famer, St. John's star Chris Mullin. 49.
Bonus Birthday: Paul "Put Your Head On My Shoulder" Anka. 71.
Today in Sports: The first AFL preseason game. The Boston Patriots beat the Buffalo Bills 28-7 before 16,474 fans in Buffalo. 1960.
Bonus Event: Till death do us part. Jennifer Aniston married Brad Pitt in Malibu. 2000.
To sign up for Len's free daily Top 5 email click here.
Follow Len Berman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lenbermansports