Big up for a big week in Jamaica. August 5: Fastest Man in the World Usain “I Am Actually Lightning” Bolt destroys the Olympic record in the 100m dash, setting a new one in 9.63 seconds. August 6: 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence (much Ting, Wray & Nephew overproof rum, and jerk chicken consumed, all highly recommended). August 9: Usain Bolt, in all of 19.32 seconds, becomes the first person ever to double-double in the 100m and 200m sprint – winning them both in Beijing and London, nearing peak speeds of 30mph in the process. He would be pulled over for speeding in residential neighborhoods and much of Washington, DC. Oh, he also celebrated by doing five pushups for his five golds shortly after crossing the line. BEAST! August 11: Jamaica wins the men’s 4x100m relay, with Bolt and Blake on the team, repeating the gold from Beijing, giving Bolt an unprecedented triple-triple! On the women’s side, here’s a shout out to Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who on August 4 repeated her Beijing 100m gold with another one in London. And let’s not overlook Yohan Blake, another wickedly fast Jamaican sprinter, who got silver in the men’s 100 and 200, and whose personal 200 record is second only to Bolt’s in the world, and Warren Weir, who won bronze today, giving Jamaica a clean sweep of the men’s 200m.
(more on Bolt, Jamaica, and 9 fantastic songs after the jump)
High def video on NBC’s site – VERY worth it (or watch the spectactor footage below:)
WOW. Not the most high-profile of gymnastic events, but “Flying Dutchman” Epke Zonderland NAILED his high bar performance last night amid stiff competition from his fellow gymnasts. His moves were sublimely fluid and seamless, lighter than air on the twists and releases, and those three catch-and-release dealies were jaw-dropping. It also carried a difficulty of 7.9, the highest of ANY Olympic gymnast in any event. Maybe not quite as flawlessly brilliant as McKayla Maroney’s perfect vault, it was still, in the words of NBC commentators, “absolutely sick!” and it got him a ludicrously high score of 16.533 and the Netherlands’ first gymnastics gold in 84 years. Bravo Epke, and congratulations Holland!
The day has come, friends and readers: WBH and its author have avoided it for years, but we’re now on Twitter, as you can now see over on the right side over there ——————>
Follow along for links and thoughts that won’t always make it to this site, but are still worthwhile. https://twitter.com/WBHblog
Also, if you’re not following him already, Samuel L Jackson’s Twitter has focused almost solely on the Olympics since they began, with tweets re: events as NBC shows them. It’s a masterpiece, the product of a “magnificent and wonderful mind,” as a friend put it. Here are some of the choicest examples:
“PHELPS WALKS em’ DOWN!!! Came & got that ASS! OLYMPIC RULER!! Last race Maggie!! MOSTMUFFAQUATICPFUQQAH of ALL TIME! GOLD!!! Go USA!” [personal favorite]
“Like I said before, those BRITS are some PEDALIN’, RECORD BREAKIN’, MUTHACYCLINPHUCCAS!! Congrats UK!”
“There’s Really some shit called a Splashometer??!! Really?!”
“Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol is Off da Chain! The glasses, da Gats…no Recoil! Steady hands & nobody’s holdin’ their shit SIDEWAYS!”
“Soni Wrecks Breaststroke WR in 200!! A DEUCEMOUGHFOUGHKINPEAT!! Mo GOLD Mo GOLD Mo GOLD! !! Go USA!!”
“Did that Russian just do the ” whoa Gurl Whut wuz in That Drank, dat Shit wuz Skrong” Vault landing?!”
We Ball Harder has an unwritten rule to not talk about sports, or indeed anything that doesn’t potentially add value to your life. However, our slogan is “Telling You What’s Good,” and unwritten rules are certainly there to be broken, and since it’s the Olympics, here’s what’s not just good, but too good not to discuss: McKayla Maroney and her mastery of the vault.
Yes, by now everyone has seen her unfortunate fall after her second vault last night, which resulted in a silver medal in the individual vault competition. If you paid attention though, you’ll notice that her first vault was so good that despite her fall on the second she STILL led the pack until the very last gymnast, neither of whose jumps were nearly as good as McKayla’s first. Also amazing is that last night was her first serious mistake ever in a competition. And unlike some of other gymnasts in these games, she accepted her mistake and her Silver stoically and resolutely. Respect.
But let’s go back to 31 July, to the celebrated gold medal performance by the Fierce Five, as some have taken to calling the US women’s gymnastics team. Every one of the young ladies performed brilliantly, but far and away the best single performance of that event was McKayla’s vault, pictured above, which arguably cemented the US’s lead. Consisting of a notably difficult move called the Amanar, it carried a difficulty score of 6.5, many tenths of a point higher than most routines. McKayla launched herself into the air like a rocket, reaching an unprecedented height while performing 2.5 turns and a somersault, all while keeping herself dead straight as no other gymnast did. Not to mention the flawless landing. In the end she received an execution score of 9.733, the highest score given to any gymnast, for a whopping total score of 16.266 out of a maximum 16.5. Where were the errors? Nobody is sure, neither commentators nor fans after watching slow replays again and again. Even the judges appeared to be in awe. I’m convinced it was perfect. See for yourself – I challenge you to watch only once:
and super slow-motion HD:
Despite the amazing achievements of numerous athletes at the London Olympics, whether it be Missy Franklin’s staggering gold medal-filled Olympic debut, Usain Bolt smoking the competition yet again, or the sheer awesomeness of Oscar Pistorius, McKayla Maroney’s vault on July 31 stands out for its artistry, its grace, its athleticism, and its sheer perfection. She may have a silver on her own, but her stunning performance was the finest moment in the sea of fine moments that led to the Fierce Five gold. She is unequivocally the best in the world, the Hardest Vaulter and Hardest Baller in the field. Bravo!
Updated to add this bonus:
Hammacher Schlemmer may be cheesy as all hell and otherwise never get a mention on WBH but LOOK AT THIS:
Yes, it’s basically the Tron motorcycle, and it is in fact a real motorbike that you can ride and buy for, gasp, $55,000. It may be insane to spend that on a bike, but really only one word can describe it: SIIIIIIICK!
http://www.hammacher.com/Product/Default.aspx?sku=11862 (click to see a video)
Quick thought here. Read any “respectable” piece of print and the guy who rocks a dancefloor, gets down on the wheels of steel, or drops a bo choon, selecta! is referred to as a “deejay.” NO NO NO. It looks stupid – nobody writes “teevee” – and no self-respecting artist would spell it like that. The word is an acronym, and should ALWAYS BE WRITTEN DJ. This goes for MC, too, by the way. That’s all I have to say on that. Rewind, selecta!
Throw you double, triple, or fourple-blade or greater razors out, chaps. Chuck the advanced micro-nutrient Whiz-Tech cream out with it too. You only need one blade, a good brush, and some soap. Much has been written on the classic and oft-forgotten art of wet shaving, so I shan’t be adding to the literature. Should you want more information, check out this handy guide from the Art of Manliness. No, today I sing the praises of the Temple of Keeping it Old School, Taylor of Old Bond Street, St James’s, London.