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Summer Olympics, it is refreshing to see

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Irish Sports News Discussion:     Summer Olympics, it is refreshing to see

That as the years go by, other countries are establishing themselves and moving up from the never going to win a medal in a hundred years to actually having a chance.

True, there are still those that are looking for a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. But at least their country is represented.

I had to smile when I watched the swimming finals for men's relay. The United States Was embarrassed in Australia four years ago, coming in second. We better get used to the silver and bronze in the future because were not the Favorite anymore. The American powers that be were pushing for Michael Phelps to get eight gold medals. So what do they do. They leave off a three time olympian and gave his spot to Phelps who had never swam in that relay.

Phelps' bid for record eight golds over after relay bronze

Aug. 15, 2004 wire reports

ATHENS, Greece -- Mark Spitz can rest easy. The best Michael Phelps can do is win seven gold medals at these Olympics.

Phelps got a spot on the American 400-meter freestyle relay at the expense of three-time Olympian Gary Hall Jr., but the team had to settle for bronze when South Africa set a world record that left the U.S. foursome standing glumly on the deck Sunday night.

An admittedly tired Michael Phelps easily qualifies fourth in the 200M freestyle.(AP)
With six events left in Athens, Phelps can only tie Spitz's record -- and there's no room for error. The 19-year-old from Baltimore opened with a gold in the 400 individual medley Saturday, but needed to win all eight of his events to surpass Spitz's haul from the 1972 Munich Games.

"We are disappointed, but we're fortunate to win a medal," Phelps said. "It's a learning experience."

A learning experience that apparently left Hall seething. One of the greatest sprinters in American history didn't even show up at the pool after learning he would be left off the team that swam the evening final.

"It's disappointing he wasn't here," Phelps said.

Hall could not be reached for comment, but his agent, David Arluck, was clearly displeased that a guy who had won four medals at each of the last two Olympics was left off the team at the expense of someone who had never swam on an Olympic relay team.

"Gary is one of the best Olympians of all time," said Arluck, who was at the pool to cheer on another of his clients, South African Roland Schoeman. "I can't believe they kept him off the relay for some 19-year-old guy who is going after something that he's not going to accomplish anyway."

The South Africans broke the Aussies' world record with a stunning time of 3 minutes, 13.17 seconds. The Netherlands took silver at 3:14.36, while Phelps and his American teammates could manage only bronze at 3:14.62.

It was the worst showing ever for the Americans, who have never lost an Olympic 400 free relay until they were upset by the Australians at the 2000 Sydney Games -- both teams breaking the previous world record, but the Americans forced to take silver.

"The South Africans were out fast, and it took everyone by surprise," Phelps said.

A windy night at the pool didn't turn out well for the Americans across the board.

I noticed that the first guy who took the first leg of that relay was not happy that Phelps got his friends spot. Thus, he swam the slowest leg of any swimmer out of 32. It was very obvious his heart was not in it. To be honest, it was a amazing we finished third. Who knows if he did it on purpose. I bet if you look at his splits up to that performance, he never recorded one so low..oh well he made his statement, at the expense of his remaining teamates.

Then we have Men's Basketball. All those NBA players who make Millions and live the life of Riley. They are getting their butts kicked. First by Spain in the tune ups, and by Puerto Rico yesterday. 92-73. There are at least five other teams over there that are much stronger than the Puerto Rican team. It will be interesting to see if the Americans will even medal.

I applaud the efforts of all those that represent America, but winning is not a quaranteed thing anymore. That is a cold reality that hopefully will open some to these super stars eyes.

It makes the olympics much more interesting to watch. Now if the USA wins a gold, it means they earned it. More suspense in the watching.

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