Saturday, August 04, 2012

Olympic Streak Notes

With the 2012 London Summer Olympics roughly at their halfway point, here are several streak-related items:
  • Before these Games, no male swimmer had ever won the same event three times in a row. Michael Phelps has now accomplished this feat -- twice! Last Thursday, Phelps won the 200-meter individual medley, adding to his 2004 and 2008 titles in the event. Then, last night, Phelps achieved a three-peat in the 100 butterfly, an event in which he's had some close calls. As noted in this USA Today article, "Phelps finished in 51.21 to [South African Chad] le Clos' 51.44. That's a comfortable cushion. Consider this: Phelps won the 100 fly by four-hundredths of a second in Athens — and by one-hundredth in Beijing."
  • Tonight, the US men won the 400 medley relay (with Phelps swimming the butterfly leg). This makes the American men a perfect 13-for-13 in the event (excluding 1980, when the US boycotted the Moscow Games).
  • Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry fell short in her bid to win the women's 200 backstroke for the third straight Olympics. As I noted previously, two female swimmers in history have won the same event three consecutive times, Dawn Fraser (100 freestyle, 1956 through '64) and Krisztina Egerszegi (200 back, 1988 through '96).
  • Women's beach volleyball duo Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, still undefeated in their quest for a third straight gold medal, lost a game (also known as a set) for the first time ever in Olympic play. Last Wednesday, the US pair dropped the first game 17-21 against Austrian sisters Stefanie and Doris Schwaiger, but rebounded to even the match with a 21-8 rout and then prevailed in the decisive third set, 15-10.
  • In easily winning today's final of the women's tennis singles competition, Serena Williams defeated Russia's Maria Sharapova for the eighth straight time the two have faced each other (click here for list of their head-to-head matches). Sharapova is no pushover, having won a career Grand Slam and been ranked No. 1 in the world at various times.

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