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Team VHTRC at the Games of the XXIX Olympiad

("XXIX" means "29.")

Your VHTRC Guide to the Olympics

Final Medal Count
Top Countries
Gold (All)
Australia 14 (46)
VHTRC 0 (0)
United States 36 (110)
China 51 (100)
Canada 3 (18)
Michael Phelps 8 (8)
Mark Spitz 7 (7)
Special Competition
(So much for an Olympic truce)
This competition is over now.
Russian Tanks 19
Georgia 2
Note: We got tired of updating all those team medal counts. So we deleted a lot of them. Who cares about them?

Olympics Wrap-Up

The Olympics are over and it is time for VHTRC.org to bask in the glory of its excellent coverage. After all, it was all about us, not the athletes!

The athletes are on their way home, and our DVR is empty again. Time to review the games -- unending replays of Michael Phelps touching out at the 100 meter fly. Here is our in depth analysis of what this all means since you don't know even though you just watched it.

NBA: We are embarrassed to admit that we watched the final game in the NBA competition. We knew the result, and it never seemed as if the U.S. team could lose, but it was close. We rooted for Spain. But, admittedly, the U.S. team, unlike the team four years ago, didn't deserve to lose.

We were heartened to see that modern basketball is international. They all travel. At one point, a Spanish player took the ball at the top of the key and hugged it to his body with two hands and took about 4,000 steps. Of course, he was not called for traveling. He was fouled! Just like the NBA.

China: What will happen to China now? We, of course, have no clue. But it was interesting to see how NBC portrayed China. There were token stories about people getting arrested to keep them out of the limelight. But for the most part, the coverage of China was positive. We consulted our resident China expert on this issue and it didn't help. What we know for sure is that China is a dictatorship somewhat like Korea, Spain, or Yugoslavia several years ago, only bigger. The question is whether in 20 years, China will be like Korea and Spain, or like Yugoslavia. Whichever way it goes, it will matter to us a lot more than Spain, Korea, or Yugoslavia did. We probably don't want to assume or hope for failure. (For an interesting view of China and the Olympics, see Tom Friedman's op-ed in the New York Times.)

The Empire: We started following the Australians when they were in fourth place in the medal count. But a spunky, upstart country passed them. The athletes from Great Britain ended up fourth. Pretty good for such a young country.

Speaking of the UK, there was a great irony to watching the Union Jack fly, yet again, over Chinese soil. It was a great joy to the Chinese to see it taken down over Hong Kong in 1997. But there it was in the closing ceremonies. The Brits just won't leave China!

And whatever weird things there are about China, it's not as strange as a modern democracy asking God to save its "glorious Queen" as the flag is being raised.

Flag Etiquette: We continue to be amazed that everyone thinks it's ok to treat the flag as a cape to drape over your sweaty body. You can Goggle "flag etiquette" and get a bunch of stuff that says it's not supposed to be an item of clothing. You will also get sites that go a bit further and make wrong about 50% of the displays of the flag that you see in modern America. All those "These colors never run" t-shirts are illegal.

We don't buy into such strictness. And maybe Bruce Jenner's flag on stick was ok. But this is crazy.

Our favorite flag desecration moment came at the 200 meters. Wallace Spearmon got third, initially, anyway. Despite that fact third is not first, he still gets to put a towel, sorry, flag over his shoulders and strut around. But, unfortunately for him, the 200 was photographed. Upon actually watching Spearmon run the race, it was clear that he stepped on the lane line at least three times. Hmm, don't they teach you that in high school track?

Anyway, upon hearing that he was no longer the bronze medalist, Spearmon took the flag off his shoulders and crumbled it into a ball and ... Ok, we didn't see him throw it on the ground. But it clearly no longer had any meaning to him so he treated it as something with no meaning.

Speaking of Bruce Jenner: Is the decathlon still in the Olympics? If the decathlon was in the games this time, an American obviously didn't win, because we saw little of it. If an American had won the decathlon, NBC would have gone bonkers. Wouldn't it?? Especially if that American won decisively.

Reader Questions: Now it's time for us to answer your questions about the Olympics. Here is a real question from a reader whom we have not made up, but whom we will not identify:

"Can [you] explain how they came to be called the games of the 29th Olympiad? An Olympiad is a four-year period. More importantly, I can't figure out what logically adds up to 29. They can't be counting all the games, either with or without winter, since there were those pesky 1906 games. More importantly, if winter games are counted, there are far more than 29, and if left out, fewer than 29. All I can think is that they're somehow counting all four-year periods, whether Olympics were held or not -- which is fine for the dictionary meaning of 'olympiad' -- but they're counting the period from 1892, when there were no games, to 1896 as the first. Is that what they're doing?"

This question is answered by Wikipedia. Except, when you read it you will think that the next winter games in Vancouver should be the "Winter Games of the 29th Olympiad" because Wikipedia says that an Olympiad is a four year period and the current one started on January 1, 2008. But the games in Vancouver will be the "21st Winter Games." Go figure.

Happy Trails to Baseball and Softball: It really seems unfair. China gets to have ping pong. Why can't we have baseball and softball? That way, we will always get two sure Gold Medals. (What? You gotta be kidding me!)

Since the Olympics will be needing new sports, we have several suggestions. First, there is poker. A big, international game. Then there is bowling. But our top pick for the new Olympic sport is Jeopardy. Can't you see Ken Jennings getting a Gold Medal after the Chinese player didn't put his answer in the form of a question?

Whatever, please don't make trail running an Olympic event.

Team VHTRC: It was a great embarrassment that Team VHTRC not only didn't medal, it didn't do anything. The big problem was the someone, and we aren't pointing fingers here, couldn't think of clever, hilarious things for them to do. So they just sort of sat there. Sorry about that.

The USOC: Last snarky comment for this Olympics. Why should anyone donate to the U.S. Olympic Committee? Kobe Bryant needs our help? The sponsored track athletes need our money? Michael Phelps can't get enough money to train? Ok, there are some sports without as much money. But isn't that the purpose of the USOC selling out to all the corporate sponsors? They take the money from that to sponsor the archery folks. It's incredible that they can raise money for these over-paid prima donas that (1) get paid by Nike and (2) trained by a college in Texas or Alabama at no expense to them.

Auf Wiedersehen , Beijing: We bid good bye to the games of the 29th Olympics as we leave our living room and reenter the big, wide world out there. We can hardly wait until 2010 when the games are back almost to our time zone.

Day Thirteen [we skipped one -- you can't watch Olympics all the time!]

So the big question of yesterday - are 200 meter runners people who, as children, couldn't color inside the lines? On the other hand, if you have a bad habit you want to drop, give it to a U.S. relay team.

What you didn't see: The 10,000 meters for women, the heptathlon, high jump, etc., etc. Guess there were no Americans. (Actually, a U.S. woman got a bronze in the heptathon.)

Anouncer We Would Like to Fire: There are several, but it has to be Bob Newmeyer. He really sucks. They pay him money to do that?

Softball: You probably saw the piece about how this is the last year for softball in the Olympics. Why? Because the Americans always win. So what happened? The Americans lost to Japan.

Basketball: In the Olympic sport of NBA, games with the U.S. team continue to be as suspenseful as the Harlem Globetrotters playing the Washington Generals. What is the point of all of this? We at VHTRC.org like nothing more than rooting for the New York Yankees, USC football, UCLA basketball, or Tiger Woods. But this is stupid. Plus, they travel.

Ultra: As one reader pointed out, there is an ultra in the Olympics -- the 50km race walk. You won't see anything about it. Last we looked, the only American in the field was DFL at 5km.

Snow Boarding: Not to be out done by the winter Olympics, the Beijing games have BMX bike racing. We were devastated that it was rained out last night.

Aussies: We are letting the Austalians out of the penalty box. It was just one judge who committed the unpardonable sin of giving another competitor a higher score than an American. We will give Australia back the medal we took away. But, wait! What has happened? The mother country has moved ahead of Australia. Geez, you can't even stay ahead of Great Britain?

Day Eleven [sorry, we got ahead or ourselves yesterday]

Highlights: In order to give you the full breadth of the Olympics, we have added reports from the L.A. Times to the vast VHTRC.org resources. Why the Times? Well, if you have to depend on an American newspaper for Olympics coverage, shouldn't it be from the American city that has hosted the games not once, but twice? What the heck do the Washington Post or New York Times know about the Olympics?

Anyway, we are sure you will find this Olympic-related article interesting. It talks about erectile dysfunction. Use it or Lose It. [Warning to prudes. It talks about sex.]

Also, the Times weighs in on the issue of the greatest athlete in an article titled, Michael Phelps is not the greatest Olympic athlete in history. (Guess we know where that one is going!)

In the warm-fuzzy story department, you can watch this video of a sailing race from the NBC site. [Don't take that link if you have not downloaded the Silverlight deal from Micro$oft.]

Aussies -- Gee Thanks! Ok, we are good sports. The Aussies are down on that island drinking beer and playing a variant of football where they wear, ah, not very masculine uniforms, and say "mate" all the time. Their only contributions to Western Civilization are Crocodile Dundee and the Lord of the Rings. [Note to fact checker: The LOTR was done on some island down there. Better check it out. They all look alike!]

But we are good sports and we make a big deal about posting their crumby medals in all those strange sports that the British Empire plays like field hockey and whatever. We only throw in one snarky comment about who won the medly relay.

So what do we get in return? The Australian judge jobs Saint Nastia Liukin in the uneven bars. Didn't the Aussie know that Saint Nastia was an officially recognized NBC athlete? She was supposed to get the gold. Both Tim Dagget and Béla Károlyi said so. And they insisted that nationality meant nothing to them.

So we are subtracting one gold medal form Australia. Sorry. You mess with an NBC-featured athlete, and you pay the price!

Day Eleven -- More Swimming?

Martha Wright points out that there is more swimming -- the open water swim. NPR had an interesting discussion of the sport.

Hokie in Beijing: NBC has gotta be wrong with this one. Queen Harrison ran the 400 meter hurdles (and didn't qualify). She is a student at Virginia Tech. NBC says she is the first Tech track athlete to go to the Olympics. That can't be true. No other Hokie has gone to the Olympics in track? USC claims 154 track Olympians and 41 track gold medals. UCLA has nine Olympic track athletes and the women's head coach just in Beijing. Speaking of USC/UCLA track, see our correction below.

Cynical Comments: [Ok, everything is cynical here, but here are openly cynical ones.]

Technical Difficulties: In a tragic development at VHTRC.org headquarters, our DVR has caught up to live time. This means we have to watch the commercials. Geez, do they suck.

Triple Jump: NBC didn't tell us much about the triple jump. Could be because no American or back-up American was in the final 11. There was a Chinese woman in 12th and, strangely, the Chinese have been back up Americans. (Example: the Chinese hurdler who scratched. NBC went on and on about him.) But 12th doesn't cut it. Triple Jump Results (women) Given this result, is there any chance NBC will show the 1,500 meters finals now that all the Americans have crapped out?

Second U.S. Gold Medal . . . in the discus. Stephanie Brown-Trafton won the gold medal. She is a graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and lives in Arroyo Grande, one of the "Five Cities" along the California central coast. The only other American women to win a gold was Lillian Copeland at the 1932 games in Los Angles. She attended the University of Southern California Law School (!). Her Wikipedia page has already been updated to indicate that she was the only American women's discus gold medal winner "prior to the Beijing Games."

NBC's Web Site: Frankly, we think that the NBC Web site is not well laid out, but the video sure seems to work well. You do have to download that Silverlight thing from Big Brother (aka, Microsoft), but it seems to work even on a MAC. How do they get all that data out? Here is an explanation on ZDNet. Warning! This is geek stuff.

Day Ten -- Viewer Feedback

We have been swamped by viewer comment to our award-winning Olympics coverage. At least three e-mails. Here are some [We have not used names. If you want credit for your comment, let me know.]:

From an Aussie:

"...why no mention of AUSTRALIAN medal standings, 4th overall with a population of 21 Million. Go Australia Go..... (need to get this in before the track and field start because for some reason we tank after the pool closes)."

Well, the pool is closed. And when the pool was open, who won the medley relay that puts it all together?

But we will list the Australians. Surely they can pick up some more medals in things no one ever heard of like field hockey -- the curling of the summer Olympics.

On Nationality:

"I think you're counting medals incorrectly. For example, the marathon was won by an American who was born and raised in and runs for Romania, and six of Zimbabwe's seven medals (all time, not just this olympiad) were won by an Alabaman swimmer who sometimes visits the place she grew up. (On the other hand, I could be persuaded that the all-around golden girl gymnast is really a Russian automaton who competes for the U.S.)

This is a good point. It seems that all the swimmers swim for the Trojan Swim Club regardless of the country they are from. (Example: Ous Mellouli "from Tunisia.") The Russians have one very-American player on each of their basketball teams. Most track stars from the Caribbean go to LSU or UTEP.

Speaking of giving scholarships for college track, why do they still do that? Who cares about a college track meet? The USC-UCLA dual meet used to be a huge deal with such participants as Rafer Johnson, C.K. Yang, O.J. Simpson, and Earl McCullough. Now, USC doesn't even have a track team. (Ok, they have a track team but they do not participate in dual meets. How exciting is having some people at the Mt. SAC Relays?) Why pay a lot of money for someone to run 100 meters? Who cares?

Correction: Even though neither UCLA nor USC seem to have a dual meet season, there was a USC-UCLA dual meet on May 3. The UCLA men and the USC women won.

[We'll get letters on that one!]

On China:

Your comparison of Red China with VHTRC reminded me of a statement by one of my favorite old humorists, Mr. Dooley, Irish bartender "speaking" to his client Hennessey, about a century ago: "An autocrat's a ruler that does what th' people wants an' takes th' blame f'r it. A constitootional ixicutive, Hinnissy, is a ruler that does as he dam pleases an' blames th' people."

On Michael Phelps:

"By my calculation, Rafer Johnson and Bruce Jenner (for example) competed in ten events for one gold medal while Michael Phelps competed in 5.75 for eight."

Finally, this on the VHTRC Olympics report:

"...I'm really enjoying your Olympic coverage. So much so that I'm not even bothering to edit it after the fact for you."

Day Nine -- Bolt and Phelps Are Pretty Good

So who is the better athlete, the one with the Beamonesque 100 meter win or the one with eight gold medals?

End to Swimming: We are sorry to see the end of the swimming competition. There is a very appealing aspect to swimming. When you win, you are up to your neck in water. It's hard for swimming winners to strut, taunt, engage in flag desecration, and generally be bores. You have to acknowledge your competition, they are right next to you, and it's a long way to your coach, father, mother, etc.

Now we have to suffer through winners in other sports (and even second and third place finishers) being insufferable. This is particularly obnoxious in track and field. You win, you prance around, completely ignoring your fellow competitors, go find some in the stands to hug, and then drag a flag around the stadium.

And when did it become ok to use the flag as an item of clothing?

We will shut up now. For awhile, anyway.

The Marathon: Admit it. As you watched Constantina Tomescu run into the stadium to win the Olympic marathon, you had one thought in your mind -- I would love to do!

I have always thought that if the devil offered me the ability to do that, I would make that Faustian bargain in a heartbeat. All I would need the devil to do it get me into the stadium with a two minute lead and fresh legs. Anyone could run that last lap. At least, I sure could have in Los Angeles in 1984. Of course, eternal damnation would sort of suck, but it would be worth it to win the marathon on the floor of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Medal Count: We have decided list both gold medals and all medals for each country. This is somewhat difficult for our data processing team so don't expect frequent updates. But you don't come here for timeliness anyway.

We were happy to see that Greece and Canada finally won medals.

Note: If you were not around for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, you may not understand the reference to "Beamonesque" above. You can Google it or go here.

Day Eight - A Travel Day

Since we will be traveling on Day Eight, we will put something here now.

We get much of our news from the Chinese site, 163.com. Ok, we don't have a clue what it says, but we do recognize the medal count on the front page. You will note that Chinese Web sites sort the medal lists by Gold Medal while U.S. sties sort by total medals. Wonder why?

The United States is supposed to feel proud because it scarfed up a bunch of third places while the Chinese were taking all the Golds? Or to put it another way, to sort as NBC does, you have to believe that a Bronze medal is equal to a Gold. I guess that computes in the "everyone is a winner" world of American recreational sports.

If you want to translate the Chinese site, go to Google language tools. It seems to be a pretty imprecise translation.

At least China and the United States have some medals. Poor Canada has none. Togo and Mexico each have one, but Canada doesn't. Do they care in Canada? Check out the Calgary Sun. Don't worry, Canada. The winter games are only two years away and you are hosting!

Interesting Results Department: China beat Chinese Taipei 8-7 in baseball. Report

Day Whatever -- (Actually, it's Day Seven. We missed a couple in there.)

The big question that everyone has been asking is, where is Team VHTRC? Why haven't they participated yet? Did they flunk the doping tests?

Well here is the problem. After spending all this money to get here, the team has found out that trail running is not an Olympic sport. Despite the efforts of some in the United States to commercialize trail running so it can be an Olympic sport, that has not occurred yet.

You may ask, what are Team VHTRC athletes doing in Beijing and, more importantly, who is paying for it? Well, the athletes are mingling in the beach volleyball section of the Olympic village and plan to work an aid station at the women's marathon. As to finances, we are applying for a grant from the CVAC. They should be able to afford our bills, and we all know that the CVAC supports post-collegiate runners -- just like us!

Swimming: Swimming is pretty interesting. These guys are good! They have been great for NBC's ratings.

We did see a rather stupid discussion among talking heads about the burning issue "Is Michael Phelps the greatest athlete of all time?" As one of our readers pointed out, just counting medals is a poor way to determine that. What about a decathalete? Or a pentahalete? A marathoner? A weightlifter?

Added to that are the clear advances in the science of swimming -- training methods, diet, suits, pools, strokes, etc. How fast would Mark Spitz be today if he trained as Phelps does? We will never know.

But Phelps is good. He looks like he has swim fins on! And check out his Web site. You can enter it in Chinese or English! Not French, German, Japanese, or Spanish. Chinese. Over a billion consumers pack a punch!

The L.A. Times adds another reason for the fast swimming times (besides the suit, the pool, drugs, etc.). The Times article points out that the swimmers are older. Sponsorship allows swimmers to stay in the sport longer. Mark Spitz was 22 in Munich, while Jason Lezak, the guy who anchored and won, the 4 x 100 free relay, is 33. Phelps is 23. But the cynics still think it's drugs.

NBC: Despite themselves, NBC is doing a pretty good job. Yesterday, we watched wrestling and there was not even an American in the bout. And it as Greco-Roman wrestling, not freestyle.

The L.A. Times noted that NBC is doing well financially on the games. Story (You may have to register to read it. The Times is worth the time to register if you have to.)

China: The Olympics continue to be, of course, about China. We will leave the in depth political coverage to others, but do want to point out this interesting report in the L.A. Times about Chinese reaction to playing with reality at the opening ceremonies (the cute girl lip syncing for the, ah, not so cute girl, etc.). If this story is to be believed, this was controversial in China and many Chinese had their say.

China reminds us of the old VHTRC. Those in charge of the old VHTRC realized that there was no democracy and that, to keep it that way, management had to please most of the people most of the time. Those not in management back then, were happy because they got what they wanted and didn't have to worry about management issues. It sort of worked, until management couldn't agree among itself.

China seems like that. From our extensive study of China, which has taken us at least a half hour, it seems clear that most Chinese are happy and trust their government. Before you criticize, remember how you felt about the VHTRC four years ago.

Tennis: It is so great when the big time pros get beat. We don't have anything as sweet at the humiliation of the U.S men's basketball team in 2004, but we do have the Chinese girl beating one of the Williams sisters (we are not sure which one -- does it matter?) and Roger Federer losing to the American who, in turn, lost to the Chilean. It doesn't get much better than that.

Beach Volleyball: Finally, yet another apology. Beach volleyball is becoming an interesting sport. They actually have long volleys every now and then. We still think that NBC is highlighting the sport for the wrong reason. But it is entertaining for the right reason.

Viewers Note: Some may wonder, doesn't VHTRC.org have better things to do than watch the Olympics on TV? The answer is, no. But we are not glued to the TV. We sort of just watch while walking by. But proof that we don't watch much is that we have no coverage of gymnastics. Didn't some U.S. girls win or something?

Day Five

We know many of you are asking about the Star class series in the sailing competition. The Star is the oldest class in the Olympics, having debuted at the Los Angeles games in 1932. Star class competition starts early Friday morning (our time). NBC Schedule. Here is competition background.

More NBA: And it's not like they don't travel or palm the ball or anything. Geez!

Day Four

VHTRC.org is settling into its beach volleyball location. Tragically, we have learned that beach volleyball is being played in Beijing, not Kill Devil Hills. But it's nice down here anyway.

NBA: The Olympic sport of NBA continues on. You may enjoy watching the best of the NBA scrimmage teams that make the Washington Generals look good, but we don't. Gee, wouldn't it be interesting to see top college players play the best in the world? We had that once, didn't we!

Pro Tennis: We watched the French Open and Wimbledon. The U.S. Open starts in a month. We need to watch rich people replay these events in Beijing?

Viewers Note: It's a bit late to point it out now, but neither the NBC Olympics site nor the Beijing Olympics site has the standings of the football ("soccer" to you Americans out there) elimination brackets. This would be nice to know. You can find this information at the FIFA site.

Yet another apology: Unnamed staffers, whom we have since fired, placed in the heading of this page an uncalled for dig on the Virginia Tech Hokies by implying that Hokies don't know that "XXIX" is "29" in Roman numerals. This was, of course, an outrageous slander. We regret the mistake. Any Hokie knows the meaning of sentences like, "If I have X dogs to start and V get killed in the fights, then I have V dogs left."

(There was also a slander against the USC Trojans, but we stick by that one. Does anyone doubt the results of posing this question to the USC football team: "A Trojan is: (a) an ancient guy whose gifts you gotta watch out for; (b) the first name of the greatest running back of all time in lowercase letters with some other letters around it; or (c) a condom." I wouldn't root for many of them picking (a).

Tomorrow, more beach volleyball!

Day Three - Travel Day

VHTRC.org reporters are going to the beach to cover beach volleyball. So the report will be slim today. We are heartened, however, by the journalism of the Washington Post. Always knowing what's important, the Post sports page this morning put the Redskins preseason win above Michael Phelps's world record gold medal performance in the 400 meter individual medley.

Day Two - New Event

The IOC announced that the sport of Invasion was added to the Olympics at the last minute. Countries scrambled to enter teams, but at this point only Russia has entered the competition. Russia scored early by invading Georgia. We are not sure why President Bush was not more upset. We realize that Jimmy Carter is from Georgia, but that is a pretty lame excuse to let an American state go undefended. Meanwhile, there was word that several other countries were planning to enter the competition. For example, Canada may invade North Dakota, but this may not get a medal. In Invasion, you don't score many points if your opponent's attitude is, "If you want North Dakota, you can have it."

Our correspondent says that on his TV set, the big buzz is about the sports of NBA Basketball and Demonstration Pro Tennis. We have no clue why people want to watch the NBA play in China, but it sure gives us a heartwarming feeling about the true meaning of the games.

In Team VHTRC news, we are heartened by the addition of boxer Gary Russell. He has a great chance to win the bantamweight class. He just needs to lose a little weight. We will take him out for a run.

Finally, we are all heartened that beach volleyball is finally receiving the attention that it deserves. This subtle, artistic sport is an inspiration to all and exemplifies the motto of the games -- Citius, Altius, Fortius -- which means, roughly translated, "hot."Our research staff, Quatro Hubbard, has found this lengthy analysis of beach volleyball.

Tomorrow, beach volleyball.

Day One - Opening Ceremonies

VHTRC.org Apology: Despite our rigorous fact-checking and extremely high journalistic standards, we failed to realize that the Olympics will be held in the Peoples Republic of China, not the Republic of China. Who knew? So what difference does one word mean? Only about 1,000 miles.

Needless to say, our correspondent missed the opening ceremonies. Even worse, Team VHTRC missed its qualifying heats for several events. Both the men's and women's VHTRC soccer teams missed their matches and have been disqualified. On the positive side, VHTRC athletes missed several doping tests. That was a relief.

For now, we will report from our live, exclusive feed that we receive when we put our TV set on the secret number, 4. (That's a strange number given it's bad luck in Chinese culture.) Since the NBC soccer commentators are reporting from New York, we figure we can report from Arlington.

Highlights of the opening ceremony were that we learned that there will be an all-new season of Chuck and that non-drowsy Claritin is great allergy relief for gymnasts until it makes them fail their doping tests. Not much else happened.

We were relieved that French continues to be one of the official languages of the Olympics even though no one speaks it. There are 17 languages in the world with more speakers. (Citation)

Tomorrow, beach volleyball!

Initial Report

Once again, VHTRC.org will give you exclusive coverage of Team VHTRC at the Olympics. You may remember that Team VHTRC had a memorable performance at the winter games in Torino. (See Report) Well, the Furbutt team is back for more. We will be with them every step of the way.

The team and our correspondent left for the games on Tuesday. They are now in the capital of China, Taipei. Here is the first report:

"Things are amazingly quiet here in Taipei. For a city that is going to host the world at the Olympics, there isn't much going on. Other than some Japanese tourists, there are few foreigners here.

(Note to editor back home: Are you sure we are in the right place? You said go to "China," and this is the capital of the Republic of China. It must be right.)"

Hopefully, our reporter will find some action at tomorrow's opening ceremony.

In early Olympic action, the U.S. Women's soccer team, following in the great tradition of the U.S. ice hockey team and the 2004 men's basketball team, lost its first game by giving Norway two goals in record time. Looks like there may not be a Brandi Chastain replay!

Medal Count: Team VHTRC is tied for the medal count lead with other countries like China and Germany.

What time is it in China? Here is how you tell. Look at your watch. That is what time it is as long as you change the a to a p or vise versa in the "pm" or "am." It's 3 a.m. here, then it's 3 p.m. there. (All of that assumes you are in the eastern time zone.)

NBC Watch: Will NBC ruin the Olympics? Probably. Here is an example of how NBC thinks. On its Web site, NBC lists only five "Top Sports" on top of the list of all sports. Those five sports?

Beach volleyball?! Are you kidding me?

Tomorrow, the opening ceremonies.

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