So you can’t keep up with the 2012 London Olympics? Oh, and you don’t really know what’s happening in the rest of the sports world? No problem. Thanks to some members of the Wanderer staff – all of which are addicted to ESPN, TSN, Sports Illustrated, Bears and Pandas Athletics, Grantland and more – you have here a brief yet extensive overview of the last week in sports. And it’s been a hectic one. Enjoy.
– China and the United States are in the lead, and they’re both battling for first place overall. That’s no surprise, considering how many athletes represent each of these nations, not to mention the funds that flow into their Olympics programs. The United States looks to capture gold in soccer, but their starting keeper, Hope Solo, has drawn controversy via some in-your-face tweets to former USA star Brandi Chastain. In the pool, both China and the States have drawn blood, with Ryan Lochte capturing two golds and Michael Phelps becoming the most decorated Olympian of all-time.
– Canada already has FIVE medals – four bronze and one silver. Although diving and judo have been successful sports thus far, the women’s gymnastics team finished fifth overall, a marked Canadian success. The women’s soccer squad came back and tied Sweden, 2-2, advancing to the quarters for a duel with Great Britain. Milos Raonic of Canada and J.W. Tsonga of France played the longest tennis game in Olympics history, with the Frenchman coming out on top, 25-23 games in the third set. Over the next few days, Canada looks to capture several medals in rowing (we already have one, via Men’s Eights), a traditionally fruitful sport for Canucks.
– In basketball, the United States topped France in the men’s opener, but Russia, Spain, Brazil and Argentina all loom large. In women’s basketball, the USA is the obvious favourite. In a near upset, however, Canada fell just short of Russia. The Canadians then followed up with a win over Great Britain, but were edged 64-60 by France.
– Men’s team gymnastics was a jaw-dropping competition. Great Britain earned the bronze, bringing a raucous crowd to its feet. But the event was not without controversy. China easily claimed gold, but it looked as if Great Britain and Ukraine had finished 2-3. Following a challenge by Japan, the UK and Ukraine were each bumped down, with Japan moving from fourth to second.
– If you didn’t catch the Opening Ceremonies, check out YouTube. Danny Boyle and hundreds of volunteers put on a stunning show.
– The trade deadline just hit. What does that mean? Well, it means that ESPN and other networks have ready-made sports stories for the week. And it also means that some outstanding players are moving cities, which in many cases affects entire families. Who exactly is on the move? The Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Hunter Pence is leaving Philadelphia for San Francisco. Consider that trading up (last year, he moved from Houston to Philly at the deadline) – San Fran is a nice place! Ryan Dempster, a Canadian pitcher (and a talented stand-up comedian on the side) is heading to Texas from Chicago. The Cubs are among the Big Leagues’ worst teams, so Texas is a better location for now.
– Shane Victorino is now a Los Angeles Dodger, joining Miami Marlins 3B/SS Hanley Ramirez. It’s clear that the Dodgers want to win the World Series. Their line-up is now more Yankees-esque than reflection of traditional NL East line-ups (which seem to focus more on pitching and defense than hitting).
– Cole Hamels, a left-handed pitcher with movie-star good looks signed a long-term deal with Philadelphia. That’s a key move for a team that has gone from first to worst in 365 days.
– The New York Yankees keep winning, but the wild card races are INTENSE. Just how close are they? Simply put, the Toronto Blue Jays still have a chance! Whether it’s Anaheim, Toronto, Tampa Bay, Oakland, Chicago (the White Sox), Cleveland or Baltimore, these clubs all have a chance at the post-season. And that’s only the AL. Look to the NL, and teams like L.A., San Fran, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Arizona and St. Louis are in the hunt.
– Daniel Alfredsson is heading back to the Ottawa Senators for one more year. He was an All-Star team captain last year, and the Sens nearly knocked out the Rangers in the playoffs, so he is definitely coming back to a contending team.
– Rick Nash is a Ranger. Talk about stacked. Though Carolina now was two Staal brothers and a guy named Semin (we know you’re chuckling), New York is a leading favourite for the 2013 Stanley Cup.
– Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck have been signed by the Washington Redskins and Indianapolis Colts, respectively.
– Teams are still in training camp, so not much to report.
– Though semi-related to the NFL, Penn State has managed to keep most of its senior players, after getting ripped by the NCAA for some disgusting infractions committed under coach Joe Paterno. Don’t know what we’re referring to? Search “Sandusky” or check out Deadspin.
– See “Olympics” point #3 (above).
– “Soccer Memes” on Facebook continue to be the most hilarious memes you’ll find on the net.
– Toronto FC ties a reserve-filled Liverpool FC squad, 1-1.
– Manchester City overcomes Arsenal, 2-0, despite the teams not fielding complete line-ups.
– Spain – Spain! – loses to Japan AND Honduras, in the Olympics. Though these squads are mostly U-23 players, the losses are a shock to one of the world’s premier soccer nations.
If you’ve made it this far, congrats. If you’re not a sports fan, and still happen to be here… that’s impressive. There isn’t much to knowing your sports facts. Just keep up-to-date with The Wand, and take a look at websites such as Grantland, ESPN, Deadspin and more for all that you need to know.