Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tonight's a big night in the Olympics for this Typical Guy...

...because scheduled for tonight is the finals for the 200-meter men's sprint, with Jamaica's Usain Bolt aiming to duplicate Carl Lewis' feat of winning both the 100- and 200-m sprints in the 1984 LA Olympics, as well as Team USA Basketball's first game in the quarterfinals against Australia.

I've already blogged about Usain Bolt in my family-friendly World's Greatest Underachiever blog so I'll just say that Bolt is the GOAT - the Greatest Of All Time.

So moving on to Team USA Basketball, I feel bummed that I wasn't able to blog about how they played with relative ease their games against Spain and Germany, with neither of those 2 countries proving to be the threat that the press (and myself, I admit) has hyped them up to be, with USA Today going so far as to compare Team's USA wins over their opponents with the ease of a senior varsity team going up against the junior varsity team. Funny enough, I was able to watch both games and I do have to agree, Team USA did have their way with everyone from their Group B division.

But it's the quarterfinals now where a loss knocks them out of contention for the gold. And they're going up against Australia, the team that, even without Andrew Bogut, had Team USA struggling to an 87-76 win. And although Australia dropped its first 2 games against Croatia and Argentina, they did pull some impressive wins over Iran, Russia and Lithuania. Still, the Aussies are the underdogs whenever they go up against any of the teams in the quarterfinals. So really, you can look at this game as the team with nothing to lose going up against the team with everything to lose.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski and team director Jerry Colangelo said it best: "Take nothing for granted." This is the exactly kind of thinking The Redeem Team needs to be constantly aware of - to treat the next 3 games as 3 Games 7's in the NBA Finals. And if they successfully dispatch Australia and Argentina, then all they need to do is get past, presumably, Spain to claim the gold and exorcise the ghost of Athens and Japan.

Win everything and Kobe Bryant has some consolation in hand for losing the NBA Finals. Win everything and Dwyane Wade is really the Redeem Team personified. Win everything and LeBron James won't have to go through the ignominy of being called LeBronze.

But if they lose just once, it's "Goodbye, Gold." And considering the depth of talent this line-up has compared to the other NBA pros that played on the international stage like the past Olympics and the FIBA World Championships (save for, of course, the original Dream Team), it'll be a lost and empty, sickening feeling deep in their stomachs along with many sleepless nights and countless finger-pointings on who's to blame for another 4 years.

It's "All or Nothing" time for The Redeem Team. And tonight, we start finding out if they're really The Redeem Team or just the Bereaved Team.

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