Sunday, August 12, 2012

Final Batch of 2012 Olympic Streaks

With yesterday's 86-50 blowout over France, the U.S. women's basketball team won its fifth straight Olympic gold medal and 41st straight game in Olympic play.

Jamaican track star Usain Bolt became, in the words of this article, "the first athlete ever to win the vaunted 100-200 sprint double in consecutive Olympics."

Finally, when the Bahamas captured the men's 4 X 400 relay, NBC track and field analyst Ato Boldon pointed out that this was the first time the U.S. men had been "beaten on the track" in this event in Olympic competition since the 1952 Helsinki (Finland) Games. If one looks at an all-time results list for this event, one finds three instances between 1952 and this year of the U.S. not winning the 4 X 400:
  • In 1972, Americans Vince Matthews and Wayne Collett, who had finished one-two in the 400-meter dash, were dismissed from the remainder of the Games for alleged disrespectful conduct during the medal ceremony. This development, along with an injury to John Smith (a one-time world record-holder in the non-metric 440-yard dash), thus incapacitated the U.S. relay foursome.
  • In 1980, there was the U.S. boycott of the Moscow Olympics.
  • In 2000, the Americans won the race on the track, but "were stripped of their gold ... because of doping infractions" (link).
Technically, I would say, Boldon is correct. However, at least in 2000, the U.S. was found to have gotten an unfair performance advantage.

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