This and That
Each week I'll talk about the world of sports…
• Wow, the Olympics were really special. There were so many great accomplishments, so many terrific moments. The USA women's basketball team won their fourth straight gold medal, as Lisa Leslie picked up her fourth gold in 12 years, leading the squad to the title. The squad was impressive in blowing out a talented Australia club led by Lauren Jackson.
• The men's basketball team, called by many the Redeem Team, also captured the gold. My friends, it was not an easy win against a veteran Spanish team that included Pau Gasol, up-and-comer Rudy Fernandez, Juan Carlos Navarro and company. Dwyane Wade had a terrific first half in the gold medal game, scoring 21 points before intermission. Wade had to come up big since Kobe Bryant and LeBron James got into early foul trouble. Kobe came through big-time in the fourth quarter as Spain cut an earlier 14-point deficit down to two. In crunch time, the NBA MVP came through with big play after big play, either scoring or making the crucial pass leading to a hoop. Coach Mike Krzyzewski and Jerry Colangelo can be proud of the team they built three years ago.
• Usain Bolt earned the nickname Lightning Bolt, enjoying an amazing Olympics. He won his two individual events and a relay, with all three coming in world record times. He was flamboyant but his speed led to total dominance.
• A number of standout players sent packing around the trade deadline have come through. Look at Manny Ramirez, Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, Xavier Nady, Jason Bay, and on and on. They have made a difference in their new environments. In some of these cases, it will be interesting to see where they end up. Odds are several of them will move on to different addresses once again.
• The Tampa Bay Rays had a tough week playing against Anaheim and in Chicago against the contending White Sox. Even without Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria, the Rays won four of the six games against those top-notch opponents. To win both series proves there is no doubt this team is for real. Pitching and defense has made all the difference in the world. Tampa Bay has been consistent all season long under the leadership of Joe Maddon.
• Brett Favre is going to be a factor for the Jets. You can see him getting more comfortable with his receivers. His acquisition is going to be a great one and the offense will click even more in time. It has energized his teammates and the fans. Eric Mangini couldn't have been happy with mistakes that cost the team touchdowns in Saturday's preseason game against the Giants.
• Speaking of the Giants, the loss of sack artist Osi Umenyiora for the season is a major blow. Remember, Michael Strahan already retired, so the defensive line has thinned out already. That unit was so important in the Super Bowl win over the Patriots. The Giants had depth there, but now it will be tested big-time.
• The U. S. Open tennis tournament gets underway on Monday. Can Roger Federer bounce back and win again, or will Rafael Nadal close out his brilliant year with another great championship? The women's side is wide open, and the Williams sister would meet in the quarterfinals based on the draw. Wow, it is going to be exciting in the Big Apple, baby!