On The Right Track with Diane Dixon: The London Olympics 2012
Brooklyn’s own Lia Neal brings home the Bronze Medal in the 4×100 Meter Freestyle Relay
Lia Neal is going back to her high school with a bronze medal. Neal, who competed on the third leg of the 4×100 Meter Freestyle Relay, told a reporter, “Everything was just so beyond my expectations”. Neal, who will arrive in her senior year at Sacred Heart in Manhattan, will have a lot to talk about. Her teammates – Missy Franklin, Jessica Hardy and Allison Schmitt – took the bronze in 3.34.24, behind Australia (3.33.15) and the Netherlands (3.33.79).
“To swim the morning relay was just so much fun — it was definitely not as nerve-racking as I thought it would be — and then to be given the chance to swim on the night relay was even more fun,” she said, referring to the morning preliminaries and the final at night. “And to get a bronze on top of all of that was just a cherry on top,” she told the reporters. Neal helped Natalie Coughlin, who swam in the preliminary rounds, to reach her milestone. Coughlin did not swim in the final round (a decision that was mutually accepted by her and the coaches), but was still awarded a bronze medal in a private ceremony; her 12th medal tied her along with Dara Torres and Jenny Thompson as the most decorated American swimmers of all time. Neal added, “I’m just so happy that we all chipped in and went as fast as we could to help Natalie achieve this.” Neal’s time in London is complete but will remain in the Olympic Village to cheer her teammates on and to hopefully meet her idol, First Lady Michelle Obama.
Michael Phelps’ journey on his Olympic dream came to a halt as he started. He has been on the podium every year since 2001; however, at the age of 15 at the Summer Olympics in 2000 he became the youngest male to make a U.S. swim team in 68 years. While he did not medal, he made it to the 200-Meter Butterfly final and took fifth. Phelps is planning to retire as soon as he finishes the last of his seven races in London, but he looked ready to call it a career while struggling just to pull himself from the water when his first event was done. He looked completely out of it.
After 14 gold medals, and 16 overall, he might have made this decision prior to these games as he was nowhere to be found during his fourth-place finish in the Men’s 400-Meter Individual Medley Backstroke. Ryan Lochte was the “man of the pool” as he swam to gold medal status in a time of 4.05.18 to Phelps’ 4.09.28. Phelps has stated he is not in the best shape and opted out of the Men’s 200-Meter Backstroke to focus on the Men’s 4×100 Meter Freestyle Relay.
“It was just a crappy race, I felt fine the first 200, then I don’t know. They just swam a better race than me, a smarter race than me, and were better prepared than me. That’s why they’re on the medal stand,” he told reporters. Phelps did pick up his 17th medal as the Men’s 4×100 Meter Freestyle Relay team finished second behind the French team.
The Men’s Gymnastics team fell short and finished fifth overall, led by American’s John Orozco and Danell Leyva who both put on dismal performances after having a great Day 1 to compete in the team’s final. On Monday, they were defeated by China, Japan, Great Britain and Russia. However, they will get a shot at redemption on Wednesday, August 1 for a chance at individual gold.
The elimination of U.S. gymnast superstar Jordyn Wieber from the individual all-around final at the London Olympics continues to reverberate, with her coach saying that the format of the Olympics competition is an “injustice.” Wieber, the 17-year-old gymnast from DeWitt, Mich. who entered the games as the leader and star of Team USA’s “Fabulous Five” and the current world champion, failed to qualify for the individual all-around title Sunday after uncharacteristic slipups cost her one-tenth of a point and put her in third place behind teammates Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas, respectively. Countries can enter just two gymnasts in the all-around final, so with these rules Wieber was out.
“We have always known the 2-per country rule, we are not crying of spilt milk, yet it makes it difficult to explain how the 4th best AA finisher, the former world champion, does not get a shot at fulfilling her dream just because her country happens to be incredibly strong,” her coach John Geddert wrote in his Facebook posting, adding, “The sting of this injustice is painful and for the record I have voiced this opinion time and time again …. To penalize an athlete or country for being OUTSTANDING is not in the spirit of sport and certainly not the spirit of the Olympic Games.”
Track and Field will be coming up on Friday, August 3. Can Usain Bolt defend his 100-Meter title against journeymen Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell and Americans Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin? Can Jamaican’s Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce defend her title against teammate Veronica Campbell-Brown, American’s Carmelita Jeter, Tionna Madison and Allyson Felix in the Women’s 100 Meters? Can Sanya Richards-Ross finally get that individual Olympic Gold Medal in the 400 Meters?
Our Time Press will have special inside information as we keep you updated on a weekly basis.
Good luck to Team USA at the London Olympic Games untilAugust 12. For more information, please visit: http://www.london2012.com
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