Letters

Letters 08-29-2016

Religious Bigotry President Obama has been roundly criticized for his apparent unwillingness to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” His critics seem to suggest that through the mere use of that terminology, the defeat of ISIS would be assured...

TC DDA: Focus On Your Mission What on earth is the Traverse City DDA thinking? Purchasing land around (not within) its TIF boundaries and then offering it at a discount to developers? That is not its mission. Sadly enough, it is already falling down on the job regarding what is its mission. Crosswalks are deteriorating all around downtown, trees aren’t trimmed, sidewalks are uneven. Why can’t the DDA do a better job of maintaining what it already has? And still no public restrooms downtown, despite all the tax dollars captured since 1997. What a joke...

European-Americans Are Boring “20 Fascinating People” in northern Michigan -- and every single one is European-American? Sorry, but this is journalistically incorrect. It’s easy for editors to assign and reporters to write stories about people who are already within their personal and professional networks. It’s harder to dig up stuff about people you don’t know and have never met. Harder is better...

Be Aware Of Lawsuit While most non-Indians were sleep walking, local Odawa leaders filed a lawsuit seeking to potentially have most of Emmet County and part of Charlevoix County declared within their reservation and thus under their jurisdiction. This assertion of jurisdiction is embedded in their recently constructed constitution as documentation of their intent...

More Parking Headaches I have another comment to make about downtown TC parking following Pat Sullivan’s recent article. My hubby and I parked in a handicap spot (with a meter) behind Mackinaw Brew Pub for lunch. The handicap spot happens to be 8-10 spaces away from the payment center. Now isn’t that interesting...

Demand Change At Women’s Resource Center Change is needed for the Women’s Resource Center for the Grand Traverse Area (WRCGT). As Patrick Sullivan pointed out in his article, former employees and supporters don’t like the direction WRCGT has taken. As former employees, we are downright terrified at the direction Juliette Schultz and Ralph Soffredine have led the organization...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Looming questions for...
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Looming questions for the Beijing Olympics

George Foster - August 11th, 2008
This year’s Olympic Games in China have been hyped even beyond the normal fevered pitch that we are used to every four years. By spending $40 billion on the games, razing many miles of slums, and deploying ten of thousands of security forces for a Gestapo-like atmosphere, the story of China’s rise into the modern world has overshadowed the competitive events themselves.
Let’s talk about the participants for a change. Going into the games, the following are the biggest issues concerning the athletes:

Question 1: Will Ann Arbor’s Michael Phelps earn a record eight gold medals? Four years ago in Athens, with six golds and two bronze medals from eight different swimming events, Phelps came close to equaling Mark Spitz’s Olympic record for gold medals in one Olympiad. Spitz swam to seven gold medal victories in the 1972 Munich Games.
This time around, Phelps is entered in eight events, owning the world record in five of them. If Michael Phelps does somehow win eight gold medals in Beijing, he should be considered the greatest athlete of all time. Only four more gold medals will give him the record for all Olympiads combined.
Watch for revolutionary Speedo LZR full-body swimsuits (for men, too) that are changing the sport. Swimmers using the LZR have already set 47 world records this year. On the down side, even keen observers such as myself can no longer easily differentiate men from women racers at the pool.
Answer: Phelps will fall just short of eight. Three of his eight events are relays involving three other swimmers, opening many more possibilities for small mistakes that are critical in races often decided by fractions of a second.

Question 2: Will Liu Xiang win a gold medal? Despite Michael Phelps’ highly publicized quest, no one in the history of organized sports is under more pressure to win than Liu Xiang. Liu is the 110 meter hurdles favorite, but more importantly1.3 billion Chinese are all expecting him to bring home the gold for the fatherland on home turf.
With his surprise 110m win in the Athens Games of 2004, Liu is the biggest sports hero in China. Liu’s celebrity there even eclipses Yao Ming, the 7’6” NBA star who is beloved by his countrymen and hounded by Chinese paparazzi wherever he goes.
The competition in Liu’s race specialty should be stiff. Dyron Robles of Cuba broke Liu’s world record time recently and American Terrence Trammell already has two silver medals from previous Olympics in the same event to his credit.
Answer: The American, Trammell, will surprise by snatching the gold from Xiang and Robles.

Question 3: Will the Dream Team bring back the gold? Last time around, Team USA’s basketball squad did not win a gold medal - Argentina won it all in 2004.
You may be thinking that with superstars such as Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Dawayne Wade, and others, this Dream Team will be trouncing any basketball team that dares show up on the same court. And besides, we invented hoops so there is no way Puerto Rico or China can beat us, right?
Not so fast, many other countries have decent talent including many players that have or in the future will play in the NBA. A big advantage for a team like Argentina is that their players are no mere All Star roster. They have been performing together for many years in international competition, adjusting to the international rules long ago.
Answer: No. The Dream Team has a chance, but there are too many good teams such as Greece and Spain that can play with the Americans. Team USA should earn another bronze medal in basketball.

Question 4: Can the U.S. win more gold medals than the Chinese? Answer: No. The Chinese have trained hard and spent billions on many sports that Americans could care less about such as ping-pong, women’s judo, and badminton. Four years ago China won only four less Olympic gold medals than the U.S. - before it became the Chinese national obsession.
2008 will be the year that we will later note when China passed the rest of the world in sports achievements and dominated many Olympics to come.
 
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