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Top 5 Sports Stories

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TGIF everyone here's my Top 5 for August 3, 2012 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • Michael Phelps wins his record 20th Olympic medal, gold in the 200 IM. Ryan Lochte takes silver.
  • American gymnast Gabby Douglas won the women's all-around gold.
  • The U.S. beat Nigeria in basketball 156-73. That'll show 'em.
  • The U.S. now leads China in medals 37-34. Both have 18 golds.
  • Randy Lerner is selling the Cleveland Browns to Tennessee truck-stop magnate Jimmy Haslam III for over1-billion.
  • President Obama says Jets fans should be nervous about a quarterback controversy. Thank goodness all the other world problems have been solved so the president can now focus on what's really important.

2. Impressive

In 1958 there was a short-lived TV game show called Brains and Brawns. They would have a smart person answer questions and he/she would be teamed with a famous athlete, like Willie Mays, who would perform athletic feats. Here's a clip. The premise being that brains and brawn are mutually exclusive. I present to you the U.S. women's gold medal winning rowing team. The eight hasn't lost since 2006. And try this on for size. The rowers have two Harvard degrees, as well as Princeton, Yale, Stanford and Penn. They got brains AND brawn. How about that?

3. Atta Boy

Long-time Cincinnati Reds announcer Marty Brennaman is standing by his words. Earlier this year he vowed to shave his head if the Reds won 10 straight games. Well they've done it, and now it's time to "pay up." But Marty's added a wrinkle. He also wants some money raised for the Reds Community Fund, $20,000 to be exact. If the goal is reached the head-shaving will take place on the field after tonight's game against Pittsburgh. Good for you Marty. Sportscasters like us say lots of dumb things. Nice to see some good can come of it.

4. Friday eMailbag

When I asked if Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympian of all time simply because he has the most medals, D.L. on Facebook at "Len Berman's Top 5" made a compelling argument for Carl Lewis. "Although Jim Thorpe and Jesse Owens are certainly worthy, I have to go with Carl Lewis, who won nine gold medals, four in consecutive Olympics in the long jump (nobody has ever won it twice) and also was the world's fastest human twice. If not for the boycott of 1980, he would have been to five straight Olympics and may have medaled there too."

And Top 5 subscriber J.B. writes, "Let the sportswriters have fun debating who is the greatest Olympian. It can never be decided so it is unimportant. What is important is giving recognition to any athlete who competes in the Olympics. They are all exceptional."

As for American gymnast John Orozco blaming himself for the men's fifth place finish, I.T. writes, "The story itself of how he became a gymnast growing up in the Bronx -- not exactly a hotbed for the sport -- is enough to become a huge fan of his. When you combine that with what is clearly an incredible level of maturity that his remarks demonstrate and you have one of the best stories of these Olympic Games. New York has a new sports hero and he doesn't play in one of the four major sports."

And when China took the early medals lead H.B. wrote, "Why shouldn't China get the most medals, they probably made them."

5. Spanning the World

This week's Spanning the World highlight comes from London. What are the perks of being an Olympics reporter? It has to be the free kisses from blonde passersby.

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: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. 35.

Bonus Birthday: Martha Stewart. 71.

Today in Sports: Jesse Owens wins the 100 meter dash at the Berlin Olympics, the first of his four gold medals. 1936.

Bonus Event: Have a nice trip. Christopher Columbus set sail from Spain and accidentally found the "New World." 1492.

Fun Fact: Among other places, the Top 5 was read yesterday in South Africa.

To sign up for Len's free daily Top 5 email click here.

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