It’s nice to finally be able to talk about something besides Donald Trump the past few days. I mean, today he made a not-so-subtle suggestion that gun advocates should assassinate Hillary Clinton if she becomes president, but who’s keeping track anymore? It’s par for the course for Donald Trump.
Let’s turn back to Rio.
The Olympic Games tend to turn athletes into stars overnight, especially in America, where we are more consumed with whose throwing a football or hitting 3-pointers rather than who is excelling in the pool or on the mat.
Some stay stars and some don’t. Kerri Strug. Michael Phelps. McKayla Maroney. Michael Phelps. Gabby Douglas. Ryan Lochte. Michael Phelps.
This year’s star? Well, still Michael Phelps.
But besides him? Meet Simone Biles.
Amazingly, at 19, she’s already considered the best gymnast in the world. Possibly ever. It’s hard to argue when she has a move named after her — a double layout with a half twist — because no gymnast had ever landed it in top level competition before she did.
Watch videos of her doing the move and you’ll start to understand why she’s so revered. When doing her move, “The Biles”, on the floor, she’s actually still rising upon completing her first flip. It defies gravity.
She won her first gold medal Tuesday afternoon in the women’s team all around, and she is poised to win four more before it’s all said and done. I predict that she will not only do it, but that she will be a household name by the time the Rio games are over.
But Simone Biles hasn’t been the only reason to watch the Olympics.
Typically, the Olympics are full of story lines that combine triumph and drama, but what happened during Monday night’s women’s 100-meter breaststroke was something that was made for primetime television.
It was a showdown between American Lily King and Russian Yulia Efimova. Efimova has been caught twice for using performance enhancing drugs (not shockingly given her home country), and King has been quite outspoken about her distaste for it.
“You wave your finger No. 1 and you’ve been caught drug cheating? I’m not a fan.” she said during an NBC interview, following a back-and-forth when Efimova, after winning her semifinal race, made the hand signal to seemingly mock King, who had earlier given the No. 1 gesture.
The score was settled in the pool, and King emerged victorious. It also made for an awkward press conference afterwards, at which Efimova appeared very glum and apologetic.
I can completely understand why Olympians would take such pride in being among the best and doing it clean, but we also forget how young these athletes are. Efimova, for example, is just 24. She was also suspended for over a year for her actions.
As long as they pay the price, and make sure that they are clean when it really matters, then I am willing to give people a second chance.
Either way, Lily King sure made a heck of a statement on Tuesday night.